Tree Stewards of Arlington and Alexandria are Northern Virginia volunteers who take the lead to enhance a sustainable urban forest through volunteer activities and public education programs. Our volunteer activities include:
- planting, pruning, mulching and watering of street, park and school trees
- staffing informational booths at farmers’ markets and local festivals
- leading neighborhood Tree Walks and speaking at community gatherings
- advocating for trees wherever and whenever needed
Our chapter took root in 2001, with help from Virginia Cooperative Extension and the Virginia Urban Forestry Council’s Trees Virginia.
After a steady growth in membership, TSAA in 2010 adopted bylaws, elected a board of directors to oversee its budget and programs, and reaffirmed its partnerships with Arlington County, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Alexandria City and Trees Virginia. TSAA became a registered nonprofit with the state of Virginia and the IRS.
TSAA welcomes all citizens who care about trees to join us. For information on training classes, upcoming activities, requesting a Tree Steward speaker, or to comment on trees in your neighborhood, email: email@example.com
Officers for 2023 are:
President: Nora Palmatier
Nora was in the first TS class in 2001 and has been involved in many projects since then. While still working, her limited time was spent mostly on Saturday events like plantings, invasive plant removals and staffing education tables at farmers markets. She was on the Board and President in 2010 for several years and then stepped down to concentrate on Arlington’s Tree Canopy Fund, Urban Forestry Commission, Regional Forestry Roundtable and Trees Virginia Board. Her goal is to get the organization back to its strong functioning before the pandemic. TSAA membership has about 90 committed tree lovers doing incredible volunteer work that few hear about — changing that dynamic so others can join the activities is what she strives for.
VP Communications: Emily Potosky
Emily is a more recent Tree Steward, having joined in 2021 as a way to get her hands dirty and directly impact and improve Arlington’s eco-health. As an Arlington resident who has a very “indoor” job as a business researcher, it’s been a joy being able to volunteer and learn outside. As a new member, she’s helped with public education, planting, and member and community communication – mainly focusing on helping with the Tree Stewards’ website, internal documentation and resource organization.
Treasurer: Carol Weldon
Carol recently retired after a 37 year civil service career as a budget analyst and financial analyst for the Department of the Navy. Her work experience included preparation and analysis of financial statements and extensive use of Excel spreadsheets. She completed the Tree Steward training in 2013. Before COVID, for several years she organized the information table at the Arlington Courthouse Farmers Market. She also enjoyed volunteering at the Arlington Parks Nursery and at Earth Sangha and in support of the Arlington Tree Canopy Program. She has been involved with the restoration of a wooded area at my church. She completed the Arlington Regional Master Naturalist training in spring 2021 and served as the TSAA Treasurer in 2022.
Continuing Education Chair and Board Member at Large: Paul Kaplowitz
Paul lived for 21 years in Richmond VA before moving to Alexandria in 2004 to work as a pediatric endocrinologist at Children’s Hospital in DC before he retired in 2018. He has always been amazed at how well many street trees do on the narrow strip of grass between the sidewalk and street and has appreciated their shade and beauty during frequent walks around the Rosemont area of Alexandria. He was part of the TS class of 2019-2020 and has enjoyed tree plantings, tree prunings, tree ID walks, and meeting fellow Tree Stewards. This year he moved to the Virginia Square area of Arlington, and after becoming a board member of TSAA, he has taken on the role of Continuing Education chair. He organized a program given by Rod Simmons on maintaining oak diversity in the DMV area, and gave a talk on a deep dive into the maple tree family.
Outreach Chair and Board Member at Large: Scott Knudsen
Scott Knudsen became a Tree Steward with the first training class for Arlington/Alexandria in 2001 and has remained active since. Having had the choice in the late 1990s to either stay in Houston, Texas, or move to Alexandria, he moved to northern Virginia in the late 1990s because he absolutely loves the tree canopy here. He lives in Parkfairfax, Alexandria, and is a member of their Landscape Committee and that committee’s Woodlands Subcommittee. He has played an active role in removing invasive vines from the woodlands in Parkfairfax for many years. He has served on the board of the local Potowmack Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society for several years and currently serves as its Treasurer. He founded the Northern Alexandria Native Plant Sale and has run that event twice a year (except for a two-year hiatus due to COVID) along with his wife Jennifer since October 2003. Scott enjoys giving regular tree walks to share with others his appreciation for our region’s beautiful trees. During 2022 Scott served as Outreach Chair, thus helping Tree Stewards meet their community engagement and outreach goals.
Board Member at Large: Lori Brent
Lori is a long-time Arlington resident, having happily moved to the edge of Glen Carlyn Park over twenty years ago. Ever since she was a very young Girl Scout she has had a deep abiding love and respect for trees. She became interested in Tree Stewards some years ago when her children were younger, picking up her redbud at a tree distribution event. Enamored by the organization and what it stands for and accomplishes, she promised herself that once the kids were grown she would become a Tree Steward herself. As time passed her sense of urgency grew, seeing the destruction of green space…especially mature trees. Lori is part of the 2022 class of Tree Stewards and hit the ground running once training was completed. She has helped out with many tree plantings and prunings and enjoys every bit of it. Into the future she plans on continuing to help expand the number of native trees in the Arlington and Alexandria region and to help maintain their health through pruning, as needed, and is eager to bring in more Tree Stewards, as well as to raise more awareness locally about our wonderful organization.
Board Member at Large: Terri McPalmer
Since Terri McPalmer retired from the Navy JAG Corps, she has been active in several volunteer pursuits. Her love of the outdoors led her to take the Arlington Regional Master Naturalists’ training program in spring 2021 and she became the Park Steward for Fort Scott Park in S. Arlington. In that capacity she leads monthly invasive plant pulls and other habitat restoration projects. Terri became a Tree Steward upon graduation in spring 2022 and helped lead a tree planting event at Fort Scott Park this past April. Since then she has led volunteer efforts to water those trees, helped plant trees in Douglas Park, and potted trees in the county’s plant nursery. She now wishes to join the board because she enjoys the organization, mission, and its people. Terri enjoys swimming, cycling, rowing and, of course, a walk in the woods.
Tree Stewards is a statewide program sponsored by the Virginia Urban Forestry Council.
Chapters in the Dominion include:
Charlottesville/Albemarle Tree Stewards
Front Royal Tree Stewards
Lynchburg Tree Stewards
Richmond Tree Stewards
Roanoke Tree Stewards
Virginia Beach Tree Stewards (specialized Master Gardeners)
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