Volutneer Urban Forest Resouce Inventories

Volume 1, Number 2

June 1997

Stamford, CT -- The USDA Forest Service Northeast Center for Urban and Community Forestry recently coordinated a street tree inventory in Stamford, CT, providing the opportunity to refine volunteer training and field operations. The project represented a cooperative effort of the City of Stamford Environmental Protection Board, the Stamford Tree Foundation, the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection's Forestry Division, and the Northeast Center for Urban &Community Forestry. The project utilized 55 community volunteers to survey over 21 miles of roadway in two Stamford neighborhoods, Shippan and the Downtown Special Services District (DSSD), during June 1997.

The project utilized the City of Stamford's Geographic Information System (GIS) to develop base maps for the volunteer survey teams to record the location of each street tree inventoried. The data collected (species, size, condition, management need, root zone size, etc.), along with the exact geo-referenced location, will be added to the municipal GIS database in Stamford. The project provided the opportunity to rely fully on a GIS to create base materials for the volunteers to use in the field and enabled a review of the effectiveness of using the edge of roads, building footprints, utility poles, street names, and catch basins as reference points for identifying a tree's location. The volunteers used maps that were selected and produced in the GIS, providing the opportunity for feedback on the quality of the base materials. All of the participants in the inventory will be interviewed as to the ease of use, effectiveness, and logistical handling of the 8.5" x 14" maps. In addition, the Northeast Center will examine a random sample of volunteer data to confirm the expected levels of accuracy.

The Northeast Center provided to the project contributors an overview of previous inventory projects and offered assistance in the development of the entire inventory process, including volunteer recruitment, logistics, technical advice, curriculum development and volunteer training.  The "Community Tree Inventory Voluteer Training Manual", devloped by the Center was used to instruct  volunteers, who collected data on the trees in Stamford.  The Center provided a framework and timetable for completion of the project and established a strategic approach to the project. The two neighborhoods that were surveyed represent the two main types of landscapes found in Stamford - residential and urban core. The inventory work performed in Shippan and DSSD will serve as a model for the remainder of the town, as well as demonstrate the inventory methodology to the seven state region served by the Northeast Center.

The entire project involved over five months of planning to be organized, advertised, and completed. There were five organizational meetings of all project cooperators in which the logistics of the inventory project were developed and committees formed to carry out the outlined tasks. The Center provided much of the recruitment and organizational materials used in the project, as well as developed the training curriculum and manual. The training sessions included assistance from all of the project cooperating agencies, and incorporated classroom and field instruction into the curriculum. There was also a series of corporate sponsors of the inventory project, including Champion Paper, which hosted the project kickoff and orientation at their corporate headquarters.

The volunteer commitment to the project included a 2.5 hour orientation, 7.5 hours of training, and 7.5 hours of field work. A total of over 800 hands-on volunteer hours were utilized in the project.

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Site last modified by Adam Esten: September 9, 2004
URL for this site: http://www.umass.edu/urbantree