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The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Combatting the Climate Crisis with Neighborhood Trees

The climate crisis is a major environmental issue that we all face. Learn how you can help at the local level by caring for trees in your neighborhood. In this introductory Environmental Conservation course you will work with a team of UMass faculty and arboriculture professionals to discover how trees in our communities help mitigate the climate crisis.

High school students who love trees and being outside are invited to gain familiarity with the broad range of relevant career paths available to them. Lecturers and guest visitors will include climbing arborists, inventory arborists, urban foresters, landscapers, carpenters who work with urban wood, organizers of recreational tree-climbing programs, and wildland-urban interface firefighters, with opportunities for Q&A. We’ll practice mapping, propagating, planting, pruning, and climbing trees while learning to make the case for thoughtful bioregional tree care. 

We will critically examine the roots of contemporary tree care in the northeastern U.S. to understand the range of influences on our residential landscapes, including indigenous American agroforestry and European practices. From there we will think about ways we can pursue a future of reparative, equitable residential ecologies. 

Each day will include at least one lecture, one less-physically-intensive hands-on activity, one guest visit either on Zoom or in-person with the opportunity to ask questions of a vetted professional, and one more-physically-intensive walk or climb. Physical access needs will be accommodated but will require prior discussion with the instructor.

Students will leave with an understanding of the tools and processes required to care for trees in their immediate environment, a scientific and social understanding of their importance, and an individual vision of the professional opportunities for working with trees that make sense for them.

This course is offered at the UMass Mt. Ida campus with commuter and residential options available.