32. Make your voice heard in your state legislature

Our state legislators create bills from gun control to medical care to the future of our schools. Among these high profile issues, the value of trees often gets overlooked. Each voice reminding elected officials of our community trees’ importance has impact.

Areas of Interest: Connecting to Government, Technology, Writing
Ingredients: Computer with internet access, telephone
Directions: Look up the state offices of your State Senate and Assembly in the front of the yellow pages under “Government Officials”. Call the offices of your elected officials to verify that you are in their district, and to check the spelling of their names and addresses. Describe three areas of interest you have regarding trees and urban forestry.
The Internet is an excellent tool to gain up-to-date legislative information. Once on-line, choose your favorite search engine (www.google.com, www.yahoo.com, www.altavista.com, etc.) and enter a search including the name of your state and the term “legislature.” You might simply look up the web page for your state. When you arrive at the web site for your state legislature, search out keywords such as “urban forest,” “community forest,” “city trees,” “canopy,” or “vegetation.”
When you find proposed legislation affecting the urban forest, read it over and consider its implications. It may be attached to legislation having nothing to do with urban forestry. Talk it over with friends. Contact your local urban forestry group to obtain their thoughts. Learn what current efforts are being undertaken on a statewide level. Then contact your legislator — by phone, fax, mail or email — and share your opinion.
Believe you can make a difference.