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Worcester’s Certified Urban Tree Stewards Program Kickoff Event: Saturday, October 24!

By Ruth Seward

Help us Help our Trees!

Worcester’s Certified Urban Tree Stewards Program
Kickoff Event

Saturday, October 24

8 am – 10 am
Highland House

5 Suburban Road, Worcester

We are looking for individuals who will help us in their neighborhoods to care for more than 6,000 street trees planted over the past six years.  We need help with the following tasks:
watering during the first two years when the trees are establishing themselves;

regular mulching to keep the soil around the trees weed free and nutritionally rich;

removing stakes once the trees have strong enough roots to stay anchored on their own;

setting out gators in the spring for optimal summer watering;
removing gators during the fall to prevent damage to trees over the winter;

pruning broken branches;
identifying dead or severely damaged trees;

recording and reporting the overall health of the trees.
Trees have been shown to improve air quality, reduce energy usage, reduce storm water runoff and improve health and crime conditions in an urban setting. 

Trees increase property values and make a city more attractive for all residents.  They are a valuable asset to our community, worth the investment of time and resources to keep them healthy. Taking care of urban trees and educating the community on the importance of trees are two common challenges faced in urban communities throughout our country. 

Worcester’s Forestry staff spends much of their work day responding to problems created by mature trees.  They do not have scheduled time to spend on routine care measures to keep young public trees in the best structural health possible. This problem is not unique to Worcester. City arborists and foresters across the country are turning to help from well trained, committed resident volunteers to assist with basic tree care and preventative tree care measures for young trees.

Since WTI was established in 2009 we have involved residents on a volunteer basis to help water and care for the thousands of newly planted public trees. For the past six years we have recruited hundreds of residents to take on “tree steward” responsibilities for public trees at various levels of commitment. 

If you are a person interested in trees – please join us in this city wide effort. The different levels of Tree Stewards allows people to help as much or as little as their schedule allows.

Certified Tree Steward Training will include an 8 module 16 hour training program and regular meeting programs throughout the year.  Tasks for these people include vital data collection and tree health management.

The most highly trained stewards who will be trained an additional 4 hours, will participate on a structural tree pruning team for younger trees which will reduce the number of future hazard trees.

Our goal is to prune 1,000 younger trees each year to keep the urban forest healthy. The Certified Urban Tree Stewards will also increase community awareness about the value of urban trees by working with WTI staff on tree events such as Neighborhood Tree Walks, Neighborhood Tree Training Days, Arbor Day and Earth Day Events.

People who are trained and volunteer for the neighborhood tree stewards program will receive certificates and recognition from the City of Worcester.
Training Topics for 2015-2016:

VALUE OF CITIZEN SCIENTISTS, using examples from programs from throughout the US: SEE PROGRAMS FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY
SAFETY TRAINING: Using the right tools and using them properly

Identifying structural problems
Health problems/diseases/pests

The Importance of Soil
Right Tree Right Place
Container vs B&B planting


Using San Francisco 5 step tree pruning guide
Supervised hands on pruning
Why “tree topping is a bad practice

Join us if you are interested in urban trees! 

Ruth Seward is the director of the Worcester Tree Initiative.