Working with the Media: A Guide for Volunteer Organizations and Commissions



Imagine our town without trees. It would be a sterile landscape of concrete, brick, steel and asphalt. Luckily, we are surrounded by trees, including street trees, yard trees, and those in parks, open green spaces, and undeveloped forest land. But just because we are surrounded by trees doesn’t mean they will be there forever and we can take them for granted. Our community trees are facing many problems, such as a lack of species and age diversity, increased stress from the man-made environment and a lack of proper maintenance, all of which are leaving them in a state of decline.

As a partial owner of the community forest, you should be asking yourself, “What can I do to help?”

“One of the best ways to address the problems facing our community forests is through our shade tree commission,” says (name of person with title or name of commission). “Our tree commission provides stability and guidance to our community tree program.”

By forming and empowering a tree commission, our community has placed the responsibility for important community decisions in the hands of unpaid volunteers with designated powers. Our tree commission has various responsibilities, including the following:

  • Advising community leaders and staff on administering public trees.
  • Stimulating and organizing tree planting and maintenance.
  • Developing and implementing tree inventories, management plans, and street tree ordinances.
  • Lessening liability by annual inspection for dangerous trees.
  • Settling community disputes caused by tree removal, planting, or maintenance.
  • Seeking expert technical assistance.
  • Educating our residents about tree care and involve them in volunteer projects.

Falling trees, raised sidewalks, roots in sewers, and other tree-related problems are both common and expensive. Many of these problems are caused by poor tree selection and planting. In many cases, poor-quality trees or wrong types of trees for a particular site are planted in the public right-of-way by homeowners or builders. One important duty of our tree commission is to help eliminate tree problems and costs by ensuring that the right tree is planted in the right spot, and that it is properly maintained.

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