Over 25 Tree Stewards along with some Master Naturalists were instructed on how to score trees on the survey sheets and told not to enter private property without permission. They were assigned neighborhoods and fanned out over the entire county to search for and assess the trees planted during the last 8 years. Volunteers also distributed educational information to homeowners on how to remove ivy from trees, correct mulching and other topics. In many cases, volunteers rang doorbells or left notes offering to discuss tree care or ask permission to enter a backyard to better rate a tree. Other volunteers entered the data collected and assisted with the final analysis.
- 1,372 trees or 81.3% were found by the survey volunteers. A tree that was “not found” could mean the tree could not be observed and rated because of a fenced yard or the tree location listed was not clear. What we do know is that less than 19% of trees planted through the TCF program have died.
- 88% of the trees found were rated in “Good” condition. This shows that most residents who have received planted trees under the program take care of their trees. Trees were planted throughout Arlington at single family homes (49%), multifamily properties (49%), and nonprofits (2%).
The Tree Canopy Fund also funds education efforts. The 2012 community education campaign to remove ivy from trees allowed Tree Stewards and Master Naturalists to hire a professional communications firm that has resulted in more than 22,000 internet visits and 5,000 pieces of printed material distributed. In 2018, a community campaign encouraging preservation of mature trees will be conducted by Tree Stewards. Materials will be developed by the same professional communications firm and tested on Arlington homeowners focus groups in February with campaign starting in late March.
All of the Tree Canopy Fund programs depend on volunteers for their success. Arlington residents learn about the free tree offers from notices in civic association newsletters and other media, yet it is committed volunteers who go door to door encouraging neighbors and apartment managers to apply for trees that have had the best success. Education on tree care in the community is promoted by Arlington’s active volunteers.
The young trees planted so far under the Tree Canopy Fund programs will require decades before they can replace the tree canopy lost by the removal of large trees during development, yet it is a start.