In urban areas, trees need people to value, preserve, 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 community 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, communities 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
ArbConnect, The Morton Arboretum's electronic newsletter, often includes information that can advance awareness and appreciation of trees and the community forest. It is easy to join the mailing list.
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 summarizes why it is important to develop a core group of trained volunteers to support the community staff in caring 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.
Openlands TreeKeepers®. TreeKeepers volunteers can provide valuable support to local governments and extend municipal forestry budgets, especially as suburbs face the devastation of the emerald ash borer. The Morton Arboretum partners with Openlands to provide TreeKeepers training and support in the western suburbs. LEARN MORE
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.