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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Officers for 2019 are:
President: Beth Offenbacker
Beth’s interest in trees and nature began when she was a baby: Her family took her camping in the Adirondack Mountains of New York when she was just three weeks old. Many subsequent camping experiences reinforced a lifelong love of the outdoors for her. Beth became a Tree Steward in 2015 and is a past chair of the TSAA Training Committee, which builds on her past experience as a college professor. Professionally, Beth is a consultant and green career coach, and she’s an active advocate for trees and the environment through her work on the Sustainability Committee of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce. Her volunteer efforts have primarily focused on the Continuing Education Committee, and she has led tree walks in the South Fairlington community where she lives with her husband Paul. Beth, who was elected as an at-large board member in December 2018, was elected president by the Board of Directors on April 11 to succeed Naomi Peña, who resigned a month earlier.
Past President: Kurt Moser
Kurt Moser is an independent researcher/ecologist and co-founder of the Four Mile Run Conservatory Foundation. As a Tree Steward (class of 2010), he has coordinated several grant-funded tree planting and tree giveaway events in Alexandria, and he was a member of the Tree Stewards board from 2012-2015. His past experience includes nearly seven years as a program manager for Earth Force, a nonprofit fostering youth-driven civic action to solve environmental problems, as well as three terms on the Alexandria Environmental Policy Commission.
VP for Membership: Jan Hull
After working in the garden industry for over 20 years, Jan retired and enrolled in the Tree Stewards program, graduating in 2015. She served as the VP for Membership in 2017 and 2018. Jan also volunteers at the National Park Service greenhouse on Daingerfield Island, the Arlington County Native Plant greenhouse, and is a member of the pruning group that prunes for Arlington County in parks and on school grounds. She helped Arlington County by putting out gator bags on trees in the spring, assisted with tree distribution, and coordinated tree inspections for county plantings. She would like to work on seeing that more Tree Steward graduates remain involved, and help to maintain and increase our tree canopy.
VP for Communications: Jo Allen
Jo Allen tends a one-acre urban woodland for her condo association in Arlington, informed by Master Naturalist (2014) and Tree Stewards training (2015). She has planted, pruned, removed invasive plants, and conducted tree census with Tree Stewards and with Casey Trees in D.C. Jo started “Branching Out,” a sporadic guide to events that might interest Tree Stewards of Arlington and Alexandria, and attempts to manage the website and social media for TSAA. She and Master Naturalist Amy Crumpton have set aside every last Tuesday to remove every last weed in the Brandymore Castle area of East Falls Church Park. Register on Eventbrite to join them.
Treasurer: Sally Burmeister
Sally became a Tree Steward in 2015 after realizing that the reason she doesn’t live in Florida is because she loves trees. She enjoys volunteering at the National Park Service greenhouse, the Arlington Native Plant Nursery, pruning and planting in Arlington and Alexandria. Her pet project is her own community of Parkfairfax Condominium in Alexandria where there are 144 treed and landscaped acres that are in need of TLC. She established a Facebook page called Parkfairfax Flora & Fauna after becoming a Tree Steward so that she could post photos and information about the trees that she finds in Parkfairfax and spread the knowledge and interest to other residents. She supports the efforts to put together a program that meets the needs of those who are interested in becoming Tree Stewards but are crushed for time because of careers, family, and other obligations.
At-Large Board Member: Jane Seward*
Living in the Beverly Hills neighborhood of Alexandria for 35 years gave Jane a deep appreciation for canopy trees, their environmental benefit and how they nourish her spirit. It was only after witnessing the gradual decline of the canopy that she came to realize the role of landscape mismanagement, and that she needed to learn how to take care of urban trees. In retirement she focused on learning as much as she could about trees, and spent several years thinking about how best to go about restoring the tree canopy. Jane is a problem solver and likes organizational challenges. A year ago, Jane and next-door neighbor Lynn Gas designed an all-inclusive Tree Canopy Campaign, including neighborhood involvement and promotion, sales at wholesale prices of the largest trees manageable, planting, mulching, and continuing tree care education. She completed the Tree Stewards course in 2017; the training was invaluable but perhaps more important was the time and education that individual Tree Stewards provided. The project was so successful that the Mayor of Alexandria is promoting it as a template for other organizations in Alexandria interested in growing the canopy.
At-Large Board Member: Lynn Gas*
Lynn has lived in Alexandria for over 30 years. As a way to get to know some nice ladies and learn about what grows in Virginia after living out west for most of her adult life, she joined Hunting Creek Garden Club and made lifelong friends while learning a lot about gardening. About 10 years ago Lynn became a Master Gardener at Green Springs. Her love of gardening led her to taking the Tree Steward training in 2017; she used her knowledge to join with Jane Seward in developing and implementing the very successful Canopy Tree Restoration Project in Alexandria. Lynn hopes to share her knowledge and encourage other neighborhoods to improve their tree canopy.
*Jane, Lynn and their North Ridge Civic Association won the Alexandria Beautification Award in 2018 for Green Practices! Brava!
At-Large Board Member: Bonnie Petry
Bonnie’s love of trees and “nearby nature” began when her mother walked her home from preschool through the tree-lined streets of D.C.’s Cleveland Park and through a wooded lot that her mother termed “the big forest.” This love grew as she began exploring Rock Creek Park. She made a commitment to give back to the urban forest in 2010 when she signed up for the Tree Stewards class and began thinking about ways she could increase the number of native trees in her Alexandria neighborhood and nearby Tarleton Park. Since then she has conceived and shepherded a number of tree planting projects in Alexandria parks that have resulted in the planting of hundreds of varied native trees that otherwise never would have been planted. As much as she enjoys these tree planting projects, she finds as great or more enjoyment in encouraging and coaching newer Tree Stewards with their projects, expanding her knowledge of trees, and consulting with area homeowners on tree care and “right tree, right place” tree selection. Bonnie is a 1993 graduate of the United States Coast Guard Academy. Following her several years as a Coast Guard Officer, she transitioned to the government relations field. She works in that field today for a large aerospace corporation. This experience proves helpful outside of work in planning and conducting grassroots advocacy efforts to encourage the preservation and enhancement of Alexandria’s tree canopy and “nearby nature.”
At-Large Board Member: John Wingard
John is an attorney from Ohio who worked in Washington, DC, for the Department of Housing and Urban Development in the General Counsel’s Office for 38 years. After retiring at the end of 2004, he went to a tree measuring training session held by the Arlington County Urban Foresters in the fall of 2009 and, at the end of the training, volunteered to head up tree measuring and evaluation for the Notable Tree Program. In early 2010, he took Tree Steward training, and since then he has continued to focus on Arlington’s tree recognition programs, among other activities such as tree planting, county tree distribution programs, advice to homeowners with tree issues, and tree advocacy. He is also a member of the Arlington Tree Action Group. John is a life-long tree hobbyist and identifier, managing his parent’s landscaping at their home in Ohio, and now managing the ½ acre urban forest next to the Stratford school where he lives with his wife Allison and Callie Cat.
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)