33. Create a regional organization or city tree board

Care of our urban forests requires leadership, initiative and imagination. Local urban forestry organizations provide trees for community tree planting efforts, offer local residents education, and advocate on behalf of the local canopy. Tree boards exist as oversight committees to review the municipality’s plans and actions on behalf of the urban forest.

Areas of Interest: Connecting to Government, Networking, Thinking, Investigating, Writing
Ingredients: Dedicated partners, commitment to your forest
Directions: Take a look at your local forest and determine the two or three highest priority issues. Discuss these issues with the people around you and see what thoughts others hold. Pursue government agencies, members of the local green industry and members of community-based non-profits who hold similar interests and concerns. Invite interested people to form an exploratory committee.
As you progress, consider what type of organization you want to create. It might be a tree board sanctioned by your municipality with an official advisory status.1 You might create an independent tree group enlisting community involvement in local urban forest projects.
Contact those urban forestry organizations closest to you to find out how they are organized. Contact state and national urban forestry organizations to obtain additional resources and support in founding a local urban forestry group. When ready, create a board of directors, a mission statement, and a set of initial goals and objectives.
As a new urban forestry organization, encourage everyone you know to become members and to volunteer. As a new tree board, put together a survey to assess the community’s interests. To build a solid community of trees, make a commitment to include the broadest base of interest, opinions and participation you can.