2014 | Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County
Our project creates a Tree Steward Volunteer Program, modeled after the Cooperative Extension Master Gardener program, to train volunteers to plant, care for and educate the public about urban trees. The primary audience for the Tree Steward program will be members of local tree and environmental commissions and existing Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners who are interested in volunteering with urban tree care projects. However interested community members are welcome. A portion of the Tree Steward training will emphasize EAB identification and management, as EAB has been identified in Ulster County, including the City of Kingston, since 2011 and is a major threat to our urban street trees.
CCEUC would also (a) reach out to all of the tree commissions/environmental management commissions/or other relevant community organizations in the county about EAB and the Tree Stewards Program, (b) hold 6 EAB trainings and urban ash tree identification and evaluation programs in communities in Ulster County. The programs would include – tagging and evaluation of ash street trees and ash trees in parks and other public places. (c) hold an EAB training for Master Gardeners and the general public and (d) coordinate this project with our general outreach work for the Catskill Region Invasive Species Partnership (CRISP) to disseminate information about EAB through press releases and information to the public and collect and document reports made to our office about EAB infestations.
Using funding from the TREE Fund, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County (CCEUC) developed a Tree Steward Volunteer Program, modeled after the Cooperative Extension Master Gardener program, to train volunteers to plant, care for, and educate the public about urban trees. Sixteen Tree Steward Volunteers were trained, with a goal of 30 to be trained by the end of 2015.
The training program is a one-day program that covers tree biology, selection, planting and care for urban street trees. Volunteers are offered continuing education opportunities and are expected to give back to the community. The program will be added as an on-going volunteer program at CCE Ulster County. A portion of the Tree Steward training in Ulster County emphasizes EAB identification and management, as EAB has been identified in Ulster County, including the City of Kingston since 2010 and is a major threat to our urban street trees.
In addition, we offered a full-day EAB training, two EAB community walks in Kingston and Woodstock, a table at the New Paltz Earth Day and five programs on EAB at the Ulster County Fair. CCEUC coordinates the Ulster County EAB taskforce and the Tree Steward Volunteer program will provide an outreach arm on EAB assistance to communities in the County.
Funding from the TREE Fund empowered CCEUC to create and train a cadre of Tree Steward Volunteers who can help with local tree projects in their towns. The financial support for staff salaries was critical in providing the time and focus to help get this program established and off the ground. It also helped CCEUC to develop volunteers who can provide outreach and information on EAB and urban street tree care. Our community horticulture program is entirely funded by grants and program generated income, so this grant was critical in helping to provide focused staff time towards this effort.