Wait List only for Training Class

At this time, we are full for the Fall Class. There may be drop outs and if you wish to be wait listed, we will notify you of any openings before class begins. Applicants will also be considered to start in the Winter module in January 2020.

To be Wait Listed apply at http://bit.ly/ApplicationTS

Fall Module on Planting, Tree Anatomy and Tree ID  

Tuesdays, Sept. 24, Oct. 1, Oct. 22 7 – 8:45 PM and

Outdoor Tree Planting Oct. 4, 14, 19 (choose 2)

Outdoor Tree ID Walks Oct. 12 and November TBD

Once accepted, you are eligible to attend Winter Module in January on pruning, Early Spring Module in March on caring for trees, and Late Spring Module in April on education & outreach at no additional charge.  Specific dates will be announced by November.

Who are the TreeStewards?

TreeStewards are volunteers dedicated to improving the health of our urban trees through educational programs, tree planting and tree maintenance throughout the community.

We work with the arborist staff of Arlington, Alexandria, and Falls Church to provide tree care in public spaces, assist in planting trees, and notifying staff of tree problems. We provide education through our Tree Information Tables at farmers’ markets and libraries, Earth Day events, plant sales, and other neighborhood events. As concerned citizens, we advocate to protect our urban tree canopy.

What is a Volunteer Training Program?

The Volunteer Training Program is designed to prepare participants for volunteer service to the community.  Through classroom training and hands-on practice, Tree Stewards 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 or you may arrange to care for trees through greens committees at your place of worship, HOA, condo, school, etc.

Application Information

Class is limited and preference will be given to those who have a desire to serve the community and a commitment to volunteer service. A $120 fee will cover the cost of the four modules and all handout materials.  Scholarships available, especially school and local government staff – No one turned away for inability to pay. Please request on application form.

To be Wait Listed or for Winter 2020 Class apply at http://bit.ly/ApplicationTS    

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Western MD Paper Mill Closes

When a paper mill closes, the impact is felt by more than its jobless employees. Forest owners and loggers also are scrambling to find feasible outlets for their products, including those grown in Virginia. Here’s the story.

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A Poll Reveals Dunderheads

Is that reference to Dunder Mifflin, the make-believe paper company in the sitcom “The Office,” too subtle? A recent poll of Americans and Canadians shows a knowledge gap when it comes to working forests, wood and paper products. Don’t be a dunderhead: Check out what your fellow Americans got wrong about trees here.

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Wood Engineered at UMD Saves AC Costs

It’s lighter than steel but nearly as strong. It comes from trees but is blindingly white. Outdoors, it stays 12 degrees cooler than the ambient temperature. Does anyone see a market for this as Earth heats up unbearably? Check out the short article and video here.

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Great Long Read

IS GMO a Bad Word or the Way of the World?

Darling 58 is on a path to become the first genetically modified tree to be released in the wild. Should we worry about this new American Chestnut? Or should we embrace it? Here’s a long read by science and nature writer Rowan Jacobsen to help you see both sides.

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CE for All

Webinars on Your Computer

Archived webinars are an easy way to meet some of your required Continuing Education credits. All but trainees and recent graduates need to log 8 CE hours per year. Each webinar runs about an hour.

TREE Fund, associated with the International Society of Arboriculture, has archived many webinars for people interested in trees. During the June webinar, Dr. Nina Bassuk of Cornell University discussed the profound effects of human development on urban soils. Soils are inevitably compacted and regraded or paved over during construction projects. Dr. Bassuk has developed the “Scoop and Dump” method of soil remediation, akin to a compost injection into the soil. Watch her webinar to hear how this low-impact solution has been proven to remediate degraded soils and provide a long-term solution towards creating a sustainable landscape after construction. For this and other TREE Fund webinars, click here.

For archived on-demand climate webinars presented by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, click here. The latest is an analysis of climate change impacts on tree species of the Eastern United States.

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Trees and Stream Restoration: What’s the Connection?


Eroding stream banks can expose tree roots, eventually killing trees, which can fall into streams, blocking water flow and reducing precious tree canopy. But many mature trees often are lost when streams are “restored.” They cannot be replaced with like-sized trees that perform the same ecological functions, such as capturing and filtering stormwater. In addition, the soil disturbance by bulldozers can remove seed banks of native plants and invite non-native plants such as Japanese stilt grass, wavyleaf basket grass and others to invade restoration areas and outcompete the native plants that butterflies, birds and other creatures rely on for food. Anytime a stream restoration is planned, it’s a good idea to learn as much about it as possible, submit feedback and monitor the situation before, during and after. It’s a great way to stand up for trees.

Gulf Branch is the latest stream restoration project in Arlington. The introductory public meeting is Wednesday, July 17 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Gulf Branch Nature Center, 3608 N. Military Rd., Arlington. Here’s a link to the project. Tree Stewards have been asked by Arlington County to provide feedback. Please do so.

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Spring Doings

Meet Our Graduates

Tree Stewards graduates 2019
Meet a dozen of the 13 Tree Stewards graduates of the first Modular Training, April 30, 2019. Some have completed the required 30 volunteer hours to become certified Tree Stewards. They’ll receive their wooden name badges and green polo shirts at the Membership meeting on July 9. Left to right: Lauren Oschman, Jenny Johns, Marjorie Burnett, Kathryn Chiasson, Barbara Goodman, Cathy Swider, Neil Snyder, Pattee Ryan, Tom Schelstrate, Kevin Sherlock, David Chamowitz and Gretchen Crowley. Not pictured, Somer Abdeljawad. Photo by Tree Steward Jo Allen

The Training Committee is incredibly proud of the intrepid students who learned all about trees, from planting to pruning, during our first try with training in modules. They stuck with it through three seasons. They became friends, and they volunteered all during their training. We’re happy to call them our Mod Squad 2018-19! We adore all of them for their dedication not only to training but for their love of trees and their understanding of the volunteer effort it takes to try to put trees first in our changing urban environment.

Accompany this very smart cadre of new Tree Steward during their training sessions. They’re eager to enlighten their world with their new tree knowledge but remain open to learning much, much more. Here is a gallery of slides.

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Spring Doings.1

Picnic in the Rain

To celebrate our graduates and express our gratitude for our valued community partners, we held a picnic last Fort Ward Park in Alexandria on a rainy May 5th. Fortunately, there was a pavilion to keep guests dry, and a patio umbrella helped shield burgers and mushrooms from the mist. Here are photos from the event taken by Tree Steward Jane Seward.

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Spring Doings.2

Adding 33 Trees at Polk School, the First of 100

Polk Planters
Polk School staff, students, neighbors and friends volunteered to plant the trees at the Alexandria school.
Photo by Tree Steward Eileen Grant.

Tree Stewards Jane Seward and Lynn Gas and teacher Steven Neely coordinated a city-approved plan to add 100 trees to the grounds of James K. Polk Elementary School in Alexandria, and on May 4th, 27 volunteers joined in installing the first 33 trees. Thanks to a $1,000 donation by Tree Steward Bonnie Petry, all the trees will be watered for their first year. Another big planting is planned at the school this fall. Check out the planters in action, photographed by Jane Seward and Eileen Grant.

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