Iowa Community Tree Steward Workshop

Tivon E. Feeley, Extension Specialist, Natural Resource Ecology and Management

Iowa State University Extension Forestry provides the 24 hours of extensive training in community tree management.
There has been great interest in urban forestry and tree care in Iowa.  Numerous County Extension Offices have contacted Forestry Extension about having a Community Tree Steward Program in their county.  Since the formation of the Iowa Community Tree Steward Program there has been a strong interest from the graduates of that program for continuing education.  The Annual Iowa Community Tree Steward Workshops day was formed to help meet the educational needs of the graduated from the Tree Steward Program.

The Iowa Community Tree Steward program was designed to serve community volunteers. In both classroom and field settings (hands-on), participants learn:  tree identification, species selection, tree planting, tree care and maintenance, pest management, value assessment, inventory techniques, program planning, funding, and implementation.  In turn, each graduate must contribute 24 hours of volunteer hours back to his or her community.  The Iowa Community Tree Workshop offered a variety of refresher courses (i.e. tree Identification and pest management) and introduced new ideas (i.e. protecting trees through numerical guidelines and new cultivar selection) to keep the trained citizen volunteers up-to-date.
The benefits to the community are numerous.  Many Tree Stewards have become community leaders and a source of knowledge about proper tree management.  Several have developed and served on their community tree board and helped to form tree ordinances.  Many Tree Stewards have volunteered at their ISU County Extension Office to answer tree questions.  Others have volunteered at their local grade schools to educate Iowas youth on the importance of trees and tree care or held public education days.  Currently the Iowa Department of Natural Resources is using these highly trained volunteers to help with gypsy moth trap placement and monitoring and monitors for potential Emerald Ash borers.   Currently the USDA Forest Service is looking at providing regional funds for equipment and educational material for the volunteers.  So far, there are 640 graduates from the Iowa Community Tree Steward Program that have turned in 21,820 hours of volunteer service.  Interest in the program continues to grow as we travel to new communities. 
Results from establishing the Tree Steward Training workshop have produced more volunteer hours and spurred more interest in the program.  The 2006 workshop had 129 attendees for the full day training.  The evaluations of the program showed that 99% of the participants would attend future training, 78% want to contribute more than the required 24 hours of volunteer service, and 95% reported that this event was very valuable to them.  In addition, the survey has helped identify other areas of interest to keep the program fresh and interesting to the consumers.
August 2006
POW #146 - Consumer Horticulture and Forestry


Page last updated: August 29, 2006
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