The sunny, warm, dry days of summer are always welcome, and considered by many to be the best time of the year in the Pacific Northwest. Of course tree tenders are busy watering, pruning, and performing other day-to-day maintenance tasks, assuring healthy, vigorous community trees are part of the joy of summer, but this is also a great time of the year to celebrate and educate others about the many benefits trees provide.
Adding some fun education and outreach activities into your summer work plan helps to raise awareness of trees and your program. Joining forces with other programs and non-profit organizations, the arboriculture community can help you reach an even larger audience to highlight the value that trees bring to your community.
- Solicit suggestions from community members to locate favorite trees in your town, then:
- Sponsor a walking or bicycle tour to showcase trees
- Create a brochure with a map for a self-guided city tree tour
- Collect stories about historic community trees and partner with the local newspaper to publish a “tree of the month” article
- Team up with your community’s recreation department:
- Offer a tree identification class
- Get creative and hold a tree art class using twigs, leaves, and branches (hint: check out ideas on Pinterest)
- Partner with local or regional arborists:
- Hold tree care and maintenance hands-on workshops; planting, pruning, etc.
- Offer tree climbing lessons or tours
- Design a “tree-sure hunt” by designing a tree-centric geo-cache adventure to encourage families to get outside, explore nature, and learn about trees together in community parks. (follow this link to a puzzle cache in Richland)
- Hold a photo contest that highlights park trees in your community. The contest winner might receive a tree, planted on their behalf in their favorite park (hint: Tree City USA Arbor Day grants can pay for trees planted for Arbor Day events)
- Work with the library to hold a “poe-tree” contest; display poems at the library or in City Hall.
This short list may help stir up some ideas about how you can involve your community in the joy and benefits provided by trees, while raising the visibility of your city’s urban forestry program and the importance of caring for the community forest. If you have other great outreach ideas, please share them! Send them our way or post ideas and experiences on the Washington Grove, an urban forestry discussion board for Tree Link readers like you.
Enjoy your summer!
By Linden J. Lampman, program manager, DNR Urban and Community Forestry Program