The mission of Richmond’s trained, volunteer Tree Stewards is to promote and improve the health of city trees to assure the city’s forest will survive and thrive. This is accomplished by increasing public awareness through community education, planning and planting for the future, and providing maintenance and care for young trees on streets and in parks. Tree Stewards work closely with Urban Forestry and with other organizations interested in the health of our community forest.
What Do Tree Stewards Do?
Hugging a tree doesn’t do a thing for it. Instead, we work to care for our street and park trees and to make it easier for other Richmonders to enjoy them and understand how much they benefit us all.
2012 was the busiest and most productive year since Tree Stewards was formed in Richmond. Besides our usual pruning of street and park trees and community education, we accomplished several “firsts.” These include:
- Stop Sign pruning in the Fan so drivers can see them and parking signs.
- Completing a tree inventory of Battery Park and presenting the results to Friends of Battery Park for their planning.
- Our first large-scale watering effort. Approximately 200 recently planted trees in Byrd Park, Forest Hill Park, Gillies Creek Park and Oakwood Cemetery were watered every two weeks from late May through September, unless we were lucky enough to get an inch of rain.
- A planting project in Chimborazo Park that put approximately 200 trees in the ground. Conceived, planned and led by two stewards, this project was possible because of partnerships with the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, largely funded by Altria, and with other volunteer groups and neighbors.
- More pruning projects in neighborhoods where we have not been active because no stewards live there.
- An increased number of requests from community groups for assistance in pruning, planting and education.
More than 60 individual stewards and steward-candidates volunteered 2,822 hours in 2012, a significant increase over the 1,650 hours recorded for 2011.
Thanks to their efforts, we will all be rewarded by the benefits healthy trees provide!
Volunteering as a tree steward is interesting, enjoyable and a wonderful way to serve the community. To become a certified tree steward one must attend a series of classes, pass a pruning exam, and complete community service hours that double as “on the job” training. Our hope is that most citizens who become certified will continue to work with the organization. The Classes tab has information about our annual classes or you may Contact Us for more information about the organization.