Join Us

Our 2017 training session will be Feb. 21 – May 2! This session is full. Please follow us on Facebook or check back here for details of the next session.

Come join us and help us make a difference in the health of our urban canopy.

The Volunteer Training Program is designed to prepare participants for volunteer service to the community. Through classroom training and hands-on practice, TreeStewards learn the basics of tree biology and physiology, tree identification, planting and maintenance techniques, construction impacts on trees, pruning and selecting the right tree for the right spot.

What are Volunteer Service Hours?
Each trainee makes a commitment to improving and protecting their community forest through 30 hours of volunteer service during the next year. Opportunities for volunteering are provided.

What does it cost? The $120 fee pays for all course material and facility expenses. If you need a scholarship to attend, tell us what you will be able to pay and what your plans are for volunteer work. No one willing to volunteer is turned away for lack of funds.

Click here to apply

Learning Objectives of Volunteer Training Class

The purpose of the 14-session Volunteer Training Class is to inspire volunteerism and the knowledge to effectively assist in accomplishing the TreeStewards of Arlington and Alexandria mission:

Our mission is to take the lead within their communities to enhance a sustainable urban forest through volunteer activities and public education programs.

The goals of the training class are for participants to be able to:

  • Increase public awareness of the intrinsic value and beauty of trees.
  • Learn and understand the needs of the community’s public and private trees.
  • Help in caring for each community’s urban forest and increasing canopy cover.
  • Educate residents of the community about urban forestry and care of trees.
  • Involve additional community members as volunteers in caring for trees.

Here’s a sample curriculum from a previous TreeStewards training class: 

Session One   Orientation & Value of Urban Tree Canopy:  The goal of the class session is for participants to bond with others who share their passion for trees and understand how the training prepares them for being TreeStewards.  The objectives of the class are that participants will be able to:

  • Identify their fellow classmates by name and exchange ride sharing information
  • Tell why they care about trees
  • Learn the benefits of trees to the environment, emotions, economy
  • Tell the mission and the role of volunteering in the Tree Steward chapter : 10 hours with Tree Information Table, 20 hours at any tree related volunteering
  • Tell the requirements for completing the class: no more than 2 classes can be missed and passing the final exam

Click here to apply

Session Two      Tree Anatomy and Life Functions: The goal of the class session is to understand how the physical anatomy of a tree and its physiology enable a tree to survive, thus providing insight into how to care for trees. The objectives of the class are that participants will be able to:

  • Discuss how photosynthesis and respiration work together to maintain tree health
  • Describe problems trees can have maintaining these functions in the urban environment
  • Define transpiration, osmosis, translocation and photoperiodism and their role in tree health
  • Explain the resources available through International Society of Arborists
  • Explain what is normal process and anatomy so they can identify when something goes wrong.
  • Identify branch specimens with their component parts
  • Identify root structure and its importance to tree health
  • Explain the importance of certified arborists in tree care

Session Four       Pruning and Planting: The goal of this session is for students to understand the correct way to plant and to prune young trees so that a healthy plant is established that will be better able to survive disease, pests, drought and the stresses of urban life. The objectives of the class are that participants will be able to:

  • State the importance of properly planting a tree
  • Describe the differences and advantages to each method in planting bare root seedlings and older trees, container-grown trees, and Balled and burlapped trees
  • Explain how planting sites for urban street trees can be improved
  • Describe ways to mitigate transplant shock in trees
  • State the reasons and timing for pruning
  • State the procedures to minimize injury to trees when pruning
  • Describe pruning equipment and techniques
  • Identify the safety issues for TreeStewards when planting or pruning trees

Click here to apply

Session Five      Saturday Morning    Pruning and Planting Field Trip The goal of this session is for students to gain hands on experience with supervision in planting and pruning and to introduce service projects.  The objectives of the class are that participants will be able to:

  • Demonstrate the correct way to prepare a planting site, plant the tree, water  and mulch
  • Distinguish planting procedures for container, bare root, and burlapped trees
  • Demonstrate how to determine a leader and appropriately prune a young tree
  • Explain how to volunteer with the local jurisdictions
  • Identify safety issues for Tree Stewards when planting or pruning trees

Session Six     Tree Identification: The goal of this session is for students to learn the many kinds of trees that make up the urban forest so they can identify the species and determine specific attributes of the tree to care for them.  The objectives of the class are that participants will be able to:

  • Demonstrate how to use an identification key through correctly naming 4 specimens
  • Describe the Latin botanical naming process
  • Identify characteristics of tree leaves, bud shapes, and bark in identifying trees
  • State importance of distinguishing native and non-native trees for the local environment

Click here to apply

Session Seven    Soils and Water: The goal of the class session is for students to understand the importance of soil and water in impacting the tree’s root system because the soil in which a tree is growing and its effect on the tree’s root system influences the wellness of a tree more than any other single factor.  The objectives of the class are that participants will be able to:

  • Tell the four components of soil
  • Identify  and distinguish between the different compositions of soil
  • Describe the water cycle and role of trees in urban environment
  • Explain the impact of drought or too much rain on tree roots
  • Understand how humans impact soil and how to mitigate such problems

Session Eight     Saturday Morning   Ecology Field Trip: The goal of this session is for students to understand the pivotal role of trees in maintain a healthy environment for other plants, animals and humans.  The objectives of the class are that participants will be able to:

  • Compare and contrast the forest environment and park and street trees
  • Tell how to use field guides and field instruments to learn about trees
  • Define the role of tree canopy and roots in reducing storm water and stream degradation
  • Describe the importance of native plants for forests
  • Explain how invasive plants impact canopy and identify four common invasive plants in the field
  • Describe the management structure of parks and how to volunteer in local parks

Click here to apply

Session Nine   Right Tree, Right Place, Right Care: The first goal of this session is for students to understand the importance and steps of selecting the right tree for the right site. Building on selecting the right tree, the second goal is for students to understand the importance of correct maintenance of mature trees.  The objectives of the class are that participants will be able to:

  • Identify the many factors to consider when selecting a tree: location size, overhead and underground issues, purpose of tree, drainage, soil, energy efficiency, screening, etc.
  • Demonstrate how to narrow selection choices with cross-referencing listing and guides
  • Assess sample existing sites to determine trees that are suitable
  • State how to select a healthy young tree in a nursery
  • State techniques of proper maintenance for mature trees that TreeStewards can recommend to home owners: mulching, watering, protecting from construction
  • Describe resources for tree owners used by TreeStewards and how to select an arborist

Session Ten    Advocating for Trees: The goal of this session is for students to understand the role they can have in protecting and promoting their neighborhoods canopy.  The objectives of the class are that participants will be able to:

  • Know what their jurisdictions Urban Forestry Commission does and how to support their advocacy
  • Identify past accomplishments and future goals of the Urban Forestry Commissions
  • Assess how to impact the local and state officials to improve the urban canopy
  • Know tree protection and replacement regulations at the local and state level
  • Understand the state and national movement to protect urban forests through examples of other locations
  • State the tree resources available at the state and national level

Click here to apply

Session Eleven      Tree Diseases, Pests, and Problems: The goal of this session is for students to understand the many ways trees can become unhealthy and know the resources available to diagnose and treat problems.  The objectives of the class are that participants will be able to:

  • State the qualifications to seek in a tree care professional and how to select arborists
  • Name the 10 most common diseases & pests of trees in our area
  • Describe the problems associated with the most common diseases of trees and the treatments available
  • Describe the problems associated with the most common pests in trees and the outcomes
  • Identify how construction can impact trees and how to minimize the problems
  • State the role and limitations of TreeStewards in diagnosing trees

Session Twelve    Public Education and Volunteer Activities: The goal of this session is for students to appreciate the importance of providing public education and how to participate in volunteer activities.  The objectives of the class are that participants will be able to:

  • Demonstrate how a TreeSteward looks at a tree for homeowners or on public land, and know the limits as a layperson
  • Show how to answer questions at a Tree Information Table,  including how to respond when the answer is not known
  • Describe the importance of risk management in all activities
  • State how to report volunteer service hours
  • Select volunteer activities to complete their 30 service hours during the next year
  • Sign up for Tree Tables in Arlington and/or Alexandria

Click here to apply

Session Thirteen   Saturday Morning    Public Education Events: The purpose of this session is for students to understand the role of TreeStewards in educating the public about tree selection and care through volunteering at Park Fairfax Native Plant Sale, Alexandria Earth Day, and Arlington Earth Day(TBD).  The objectives of the class are that participants will be able to:

  • Define the resources available in the Knowledge Box at Tree Tables
  • Describe appropriate answers for common questions
  • Demonstrate selection of trees using the Right Tree/Right Place standards
  • Identify native tree species and cultivars
  • State the importance of TreeStewards in promoting the urban canopy

Session Fourteen  GRADUATION The purpose of this session is to celebrate the new members of TreeStewards of Arlington & Alexandria. The objectives of the class are that participants will be able to:

  • Have fun
  • Know how to volunteer with Alexandria or Arlington to care for public trees
  • Know who to contact for future volunteer work

Click here to apply

Still have some questions? We’re happy to provide information. Contact us at: info@treestewards.org

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