ACTrees Advocates to Support Members and Mission

College Park, MD (November 8, 2012) – ACTrees is actively engaged with its members and partners to improve advocacy for urban tree planting and care at all levels of government. To ensure our advocacy efforts are in line with the concerns of member organizations as we move in to 2013, ACTrees recently conducted a survey of its members. The results confirm the issues of most concern as well as ACTrees’ role in advocacy.  Here are the survey results, and  details on the public policy session for ACTrees Day November 13 in Sacramento.

2012 Survey Results

ACTrees public policy survey was conducted online and distributed to all our member organizations via email in August 2012. The survey had a 30% response rate. Responses were broken down into two categories: “ACTrees’ role in advocacy,” and “urban forestry topics.”

When asked about ACTrees’ role in advocacy, member organizations strongly support engaging elected officials at all levels of government. They also think it is extremely or very important that ACTrees track emerging issues around urban and community forestry. Here are the results:

  • 91.4% think it is extremely, very important or important for ACTrees and the Policy Committee to engage member organization leadership with elected representatives at the local, state and national level.
  • 87.9% think it is extremely or very important for ACTrees and the Public Policy Committee to track emerging issues relating to urban and community forestry.
  • 86.4% think ACTrees should develop a Public Policy Strategy.
  • 70.7% are interested in having ACTrees coordinate outreach to members of Congress on key issues.
  • 63.8% are interested in having their organization serve on the ACTrees Policy Committee.

On the topic of what issues are most important to ACTrees member organizations, five issues out of 14 presented in the survey rose to the top. The balance of topics will be monitored and ACTrees will support them, but these top five topics will be a primary focus for ACTrees and the Public Policy Committee in 2013. Here’s the top five:

  • Grants at the State, Regional, or Local Level
  • Stakeholder Engagement
  • Water
  • Global Warming/Urban Heat Island
  • Tree Canopy Master Plans

ACTrees Day Public Policy Session

What’s Next? On November 13, during ACTrees Day in Sacramento, CA, participants will be engaged in a plenary session titled, “Affecting Public Policy: Opportunities for All.” We’ll hear from Connie Gallippi, Sr. Policy Consultant, Conservation Strategy Group on “How to Develop and Delivery Advocacy Messages,” and Chuck Mills, Program Manager-Grants for California ReLeaf on “Local, Regional, and National Issues.”

Many ACTrees member organizations are 501C3 entities and presenters will offer guidelines for advocacy within this IRS designation. Some ACTrees member organizations are part of municipal government and may not advocate on policy issues. We expect these members will learn how to strengthen their public education messaging and engage local residents in supporting their local initiatives.

2013 promises to be a challenging and exciting legislative year. We welcome your input at info@ACTrees.org, subject line “Advocating for Urban & Community Forestry.” And if you would like to participate as a member of the ACTrees Public Policy Committee, let us know!

Related Resources
ACTrees 2012 Advocacy Agenda