Late spring in Oregon with its long hours of daylight and warmer weather is a great time of the year to share your love of trees with your community. Although the people who care for urban trees are busy watering, pruning, and performing other day-to-day maintenance tasks, with trees leafed out and some still in flower, the weeks before summer are great times of the year even during our pandemic to celebrate and educate others about the many benefits trees provide.
Adding a few fun education and outreach activities into your summer work plan helps raise awareness of trees and your program at a time when a lot of residents have more time on their hands because of COVID-19. You can reach an even larger audience by joining forces with other programs and non-profits in your area.
Here are some good examples that residents of your community can engage in from home or alone at a safe physical distance from others:
Tree tours – Self-guided or online
- Solicit suggestions from community members to locate favorite trees in your town, then:
- Create an online tour to showcase trees by taking photos and posting descriptions.
- Create and print a brochure with a map for a self-guided city tree tour. Partner with a food delivery service to include one with deliveries in neighborhoods near the tour route.
- Collect stories about historic or prominent community trees and partner with the local newspaper to publish a “tree of the month" article.
- Research the history of a prominent local tree and consider nominating them as a heritage tree for your city or even with the state-level Heritage Tree program.
Team up with your community's parks or recreation department
- Offer an online tree identification webinar.
- Host a Zoom meeting about tree art – discuss how people can go find twigs, leaves, and branches in their yards or nearby (without damaging trees) and create interesting collages or other artwork.
Partner with local or regional arborists
- Hold online workshops explaining tree care or maintenance, proper pruning or tree watering, etc.
- 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 next spring. (Hint: Tree City USA Arbor Day grants can pay for trees planted for Arbor Day events.)
- Work with a local bookstore to hold a “poe-tree" contest; display selected poems in large type in the store window or in City Hall. (Hint: Haiku poems are short and easy to fit on a single sheet.)
This 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.
Celebrate Oregon Arbor Month
Will your city be submitting a 2021 Tree City USA application?
Due to the pandemic, the Arbor Day Foundation has modified Standard 4 requirements of an Arbor Day proclamation and observance. Cities applying for Tree City USA status in 2021 are REQUIRED to proclaim Arbor Day, and ENCOURAGED (NOT required) to observe Arbor Day while safely socially distancing.
Learn more about the Tree City USA - The Arbor Day Foundation.