In urban areas, trees need citizens to value, preserve, and care for them. One of the purposes of The Morton Arboretum's Community Trees Program is to help communities develop a base of public support to make sure trees are valued, protected, and included in future planning.
The ongoing community care of trees is often called tree stewardship. To encourage stewardship, it is important to have educated constituents. Those who understand the problems faced by trees in cities and suburbs are more likely to lend a hand. There are many ways to build advocacy and stewardship. For example, communities may:
- Participate in Chicago Region Tree Initiative's Community Tree Network
- Build a community volunteer program. This Tree Tool provides a simple outline to assist you in establishing a volunteer program in your community.
- Develop a Tree Board or Tree Commission where a community dialogue can focus on trees. The National Arbor Day Foundation has developed a series of lessons which can be used to develop an educated Tree Board or Commission, called Tree Board University.
- Hold workshops on issues facing the community forest and the benefits this forest provides
- Offer hands-on learning opportunities about the care and management of trees
- Place short informative articles in local newsletters or social media
- Share our Value of a Tree_brochure.pdf with your neighbors for support
Supporting legal protections for trees is known as tree advocacy. Municipalities can enacted legislation through tree preservation ordinances. These laws guide preservation, protection, maintenance and replacement of a community's trees:
- This Tree Tool, developed by The Morton Arboretum, assists municipal attorneys and staff draft ordinances.
- Templates and guides from the Community Trees program and Chicago Region Trees Initiative
- Sustainable Urban Forest Guide from the U.S. Forest Service
- Tree Ordinance Guidelines from the International Society of Arboriculture
A tree management plan, like a municipal stormwater, street, or sewer management plan, protects the important infrastructure:
- This Tree Tool, developed by The Morton Arboretum, provides guidance for city staff on how to develop and what to include in written forestry management plans.