TREE CITIZEN GROUPS
What are they?
Who can be included?
- Formal committees that assist tree managers in relevant ways
to support, encourage and improve the continuation of the urban forest.
- These groups carry different names in different communities,
and the work they perform varies greatly, depending upon local needs.
Why include one more group in the process
of managing public trees?
- Community residents, public officials, clubs like a garden
club or Rotary, local nurseries, conservation groups, etc.
- It is worth trying to include children and young people, since
teaching them now about public trees will produce more knowledgeable
homeowners and local officials later.
What does the community get out of it?
- With declining resources and personnel, tree managers
can use extra help.
- Also, citizens get very concerned about "their" trees. It’s
better to encourage citizens to work with tree managers than against
- Properly trained and supervised, citizen groups may help by:
- making decisions on appropriate tree species and locations for
- raising funds for projects not included in traditional budgets
- carrying out light maintenance: pruning, watering, mulching,
- collecting identification and location data for inventories
- educating the local community about the benefits of urban trees
- assisting in writing tree ordinances or making a tree inventory
- judging appeals from homeowners about proprosed tree removals
- supplying advocacy for critical concerns such as tree preservation
Isn’t it just a lot of extra trouble?
- When people see themselves involved in the management of
public trees, the whole community benefits.
- Communities with tree citizen groups find an increase in:
- responsibility for public trees, and respect for tree managers
and local government
- personal and group contribution to the community, and a sense
of civic pride
- Work on urban trees can be accomplished for which otherwise
funds or time would be lacking
Where can I get more information?
- The beginning takes extra effort, it’s true, but after an
informed citizen group gets started, the rewards for tree managers make
the initial work more than worthwhile.
Elmendorf, William, and Henry Gerhold. 1997. A
Guide for Municipal Tree Commissions, and Community Forestry Volunteers:
A Review of Practical Studies. Both can be ordered off the web
TreePeople with Andy and Katie Lipkis. 1990. The simple act
of planting a tree: a Citizen Forester's guide to healing your neighborhood,
your city, and your world . Los Angeles:Tarcher. For other
information, advice and help on this topic, call offices of your State
Urban Forestry Coordinator or University Extension service, or visit urban
forestry web sites.