5. Meet your neighbors

We tend to exist among competing beliefs: On the one hand, Americans pride themselves on being neighborly, saying hello and offering help during times of need. On the other hand, we firmly believe in the rugged individual who does it alone. Most of us lie somewhere in between. To have communities and local forests thrive, we must build stronger ties with our neighbors. A sense of shared strength, vast knowledge, and general camaraderie inevitably spring up as neighbors pull together.

Areas of Interest: Networking, Walking
Ingredients: Firm hand for door knocking and hand shaking, smile, ideas to share
Directions: Start noticing when you are most likely to speak to a neighbor. Is it when you get out of your car, pick up the newspaper, walk your dog, borrow a cup of sugar, or when your children play? Whenever it is, try to do a little bit more. Identify several neighbors whom you have not met or who you rarely see. If you feel bold, knock on their door to simply say, “Hello.” You might seize an opportunity to strike up a conversation.
Share your interest in trees. Ask how your neighbors feel about their own trees, the neighborhood’s trees, and your community’s overall state. Ask if they have ever planted a tree or if they have a favorite tree in the area. In general, listen closely to their thoughts, concerns and ideas. Invite them to participate in your efforts, whether it is to appreciate the trees, take part in a planting, help care for a local park, work with local government or join a local tree group. Let your neighbors be the inspiration to keep moving forward!