In urban areas, trees need people to value them, preserve them, and care for them. One of the purposes of The Morton Arboretum's Community Trees Program is to help communities develop a base of public support to make sure trees are valued, protected and included in future plans. The ongoing cummunity care of trees is often called tree stewardship.
To encourage stewardship, it is important to have educated constituents. Those who understand the problems faced by trees in cities and suburbs are more likely to lend a hand.
There are many ways to build advocacy and stewardship. For example, governments may:
- Place short informative articles in local newsletters or social media
- Hold workshops on issues facing the community forest and the benefits this forest provides
- Develop a Tree Board or Tree Commission where a community dialogue can focus on trees
- Offer hands-on learning opportunities about the care and management of trees
Tree information and advice on the care and management of other plants is available from The Morton Arboretum's Plant Clinic.
ArbConnect, The Morton Arboretum's electronic newsletter, often includes information that can help advance awareness and appreciation of trees and the community forest.
Ready-to-use articles for village newsletters and social media are included in the Community Trees Program Newsletter.
Developing a community volunteer program
Enhancing Community Investment in Trees. This webinar on why it is important to develop a core group of trained volunteers to support the community staff in caring for and advocating for trees. This webinar was developed by the Community Trees Program.
Building a Community Volunteer Program. This Tree Tool provides a simple outline to assist you in establishing a volunteer program in your community.
TreeKeepers. This decades-old Chicago-area volunteer tree stewardship program begins with training over an eight-week period. The program teaches skills and knowledge to participants on how to plant and care for trees. In partnbership with Openlands, the program's founder, The Morton Arboretum offers a TreeKeepers class and helps communities make use of this valuable resource of trained volunteers.
Tree boards and commissions
Illinois Tree Commission Training. This is a handbook for developing an educated tree board or commission.
Tree Board University. The National Arbor Day Foundation has developed a series of lessons which can be used to develop an educated Tree Board or Commission.