4 February 2008
Virginia Cooperative Extension, Charlottesville/Albemarle County Office
460 Stagecoach Road, Charlottesville, Virginia 22902
phone: 434.872.4580 fax: 434.872.4578
Help fill our street with shady characters. Think canopy, that green leafy inviting kind that majestic, shade trees provide for our outdoor places. American author, Stephen Vincent Benet, said, The trees on the street are old trees used to living with people. Family trees that remember your grandfathers name. Today more than three-quarters of Americans now live in populated areas. Experts have estimate that for every four trees that are removed on city streets one tree is planted.
But who cares for these friends of the family? Even city residents, often with the best of intentions, simply do not understand the special care needed for cityscape trees. With city parks and recreation budgets always in short supply, neglect is the major disease of community plantings and landscape trees. City trees survive under almost insurmountable odds, not the least of which include limited space for root growth, poor soil, water contamination from road salt, air pollution, and damage from pedestrians and vehicles.
Tree stewards are trained volunteers who work to preserve the trees that maybe were planted by even your grandfather. Whenever possible they help to replant and care for new trees to maintain the canopy of city streets for future generations. Tree stewards also teach others about importance of urban forests in their communities through educational programs like the upcoming Tree Steward Training Course being coordinated by the Charlottesville Albemarle Tree Stewards that I announced a few weeks ago in my Sunday article, Educational Gardening Opportunities.
Why not consider becoming a Tree Steward now and set aside your Monday mornings for this comprehensive 42 hour educational offering. Course presenters, serving in a volunteer capacity, will cover topics including all aspects of tree care and urban forestry. The professional affiliations represented by the course presenters include: Virginia Department of Forestry, Virginia Tech, Blue Ridge Community College, the Thomas Jefferson Center for Historical Plants, the Thomas Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation District, Greenways and Utility Foresters from Albemarle County and Appalachian Power, Montpelier, James Madisons home, Arboristry Associates, Ian Robertson Ltd., and Bartlett Tree Experts.
The deadline for registration is 15 February for the course which will run from 25 February 14 May. The Virginia Department of Forestry will be hosting the course at its woodland, campus state-headquarters, located south of Charlottesville in the Fontaine Research Park.
Upon completion of these instructional sessions, in order to become a certified tree steward, all trainees will also be required to serve a minimum of 40 additional hours on area Charlottesville Albemarle Tree Steward activities. Maintenance of tree steward certification is contingent upon a minimum commitment of 20 hours of tree steward volunteer service per year.
The Charlottesville Albemarle Tree Stewards and the Virginia Cooperative Extension Albemarle/Charlottesville Office (www.ext.vt.edu) gratefully acknowledges the underwriting sponsorship of the following not-for-profit organizations without whom this course would not be possible, Trees Virginia (www.treesvirginia.org), and the Piedmont Master Gardeners Association (www.piedmontmastergardeners.org). In addition, I wish to thank all the local merchant and website calendar postings who have kindly assisted in the distribution of this course information with their customers and readers.
For more information about this and other landscape topics contact your local Virginia Cooperative Extension office. The local Virginia Cooperative Extension office numbers are Albemarle 872-4580, Fluvanna 591-1950, Greene 985-5236, Louisa 540-967-3422, and Nelson 263-4035.