Volunteers have always been an integral part of the Foundation's mission. Opportunities to plant, mulch, prune, weed, water, and monitor trees around the Sacramento region are available every week or two from September through May. Volunteers of all ages and abilities are welcome to participate, so families can volunteer together. Most opportunities are conveniently offered on weekends in the morning. This year, the Foundation's Volunteer Program plans to bolster its core group of volunteers, offer volunteer opportunities with greater responsibilities, continue to engage professionals in pro bono projects, expand its internship program, and foster an even greater culture of stewardship in our community.
- Our Urban Ecology department educated and guided hundreds of volunteers in planting 2,800 native tree seedlings, shrubs, and grasses in open spaces, including the Bear River Habitat Trail site.
- 728 volunteers donated 3,499 hours valued at $82,436.
- Our 14 educational events (tree tours, pruning clinics, and water-wise workshops) engaged 236 community members.
- 38 acorn harvesters donated more than 200 hours of time harvesting 11,660 genetically appropriate, locally native acorns to support our NATURE and seed-to-seedling program.
- Our rebooted Save the Elms Program, in partnership with the City of Sacramento, trained 50 Citizen Scientists to monitor over 780 of our public elm trees (35% of the total elm population).
Continuing a 27 year partnership with the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, the Sacramento Tree Foundation provides expert siting and education along with free shade trees to residents in Sacramento County. In addition, we provide shade trees for public spaces, such as parks and schools to reduce the urban heat island effect, reduce storm water runoff, improve air quality, provide shade, increase property values, and improve public health outcomes and behaviors.
- Helping to maximize their energy savings during 2016, our expert Community Foresters sited 10,600 shade trees for 3,812 SMUD customers.
- Our region's seven million trees will receive better care and live longer as the public's overall tree literacy increases.
- Each year, thousands of young trees are added to landscapes across the Sacramento region, which will reduce the urban heat island effect, reduce storm water runoff, improve air quality, provide shade, increase property values.
- Hundreds of school children have participated in a tree planting event, experiencing nature in an urban area and learning about the importance of trees to our survival.
The NATURE Program is building the best urban forest by protecting and restoring our native trees, groves and habitats. Our native oak trees and woodlands are of special focus. By leveraging diverse support including grants, contracts and mitigation funding, program staff and community volunteers work together to plant, care for and monitor native trees, shrubs, grasses and forbs. Projects are implemented throughout the six county Sacramento region and focus on the Sacramento and Cosumnes river watersheds. Projects are designed and implemented to ensure long term sustainability with minimal long term management and maintenance.
- The NATURE program planted more than 4,000 new native trees over the last three years and maintains an average of 5,500 trees each year.
- Care is provided in a manner to encourage the trees to become established and continue to thrive with little future human assistance.
- During fall 2016, 38 acorn harvesters donated more than 200 hours of time harvesting 11,660 genetically appropriate, locally native acorns to support our NATURE and seed-to-seedling program.
- High quality native acorns will be propagated into seedlings for use in local restoration and reforestation efforts.
- The NATURE program spearheaded an effort to re-vegetate a reclaimed vineyard at the Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge. This project improved more than 25 acres of grasslands, planted new oak savanna, managed storm water using vegetation and green infrastructure and installed a new native plant hedgerow to help address farm and wildlife conflicts.
- At our Bear River Habitat Trail project in Yuba County, hundreds of volunteers planted 2,800 native tree seedlings, shrubs, and grasses in open spaces during 2016.
Seed to Seedling is a curriculum and support service that provides teachers with a set of interactive lessons that focus on the natural and cultural history of California's native oaks and the importance of our urban forest. Seed to Seedling goes beyond the basics to provide students with hands-on science and stewardship activities. It has been designed so that educators can pick and choose the lessons that interest them and their students most. The curriculum complies with California State Content Standards for 3rd and 4th grades. Participating educators in the Sacramento region can also choose to participate in our seedling growing program. The Sacramento Tree Foundation provides all of the materials for students to plant and grow oak seedlings in their classroom. Seedlings are returned to the Foundation and used in our planting programs. Seed to Seedling is a fun, hands-on way to get kids involved with their natural world.
- Five years ago, a curriculum specialist was hired to update the curriculum to comply with CA State Content Standards for 3rd and 4th grades. This allowed us to promote the program with renewed confidence and engage teachers who had not participated in past years.
- All curriculum is online and free to use. This allows educators to access the program regardless of location, allowing for an almost unlimited number of participants, all while decreasing the Foundation staff time required to run the program.
- Additionally, the in-class seedling growing portion is now available in two ways: materials provided by the Sacramento Tree Foundation or through class collection.
- For teachers in the Sacramento area, the Tree Foundation will provide any participating classroom with the soil, pots, trays and acorns to grow seedlings in their classroom.
- For educators not in our area, we have section that provides details on how to collect, store, and grow acorns.
- A monthly e-news letter provides the opportunity to guide participating teachers through the curriculum and give supplemental information.
- For 2016/2017: 20 Sacramento area schools are participating, reaching over 1430 students who will be growing 2320 acorns!
A strategic effort is being made to bring the NeighborWoods initiative to new neighborhoods. NeighborWoods works to increase the tree canopy in under resourced neighborhoods through partnerships, education and action. NeighborWoods provides residents the opportunity to build community and investment in their neighborhood through trees. Neighborhoods engage residents in working toward a greater, greener vision by working together to grow the canopy within their community. Some neighborhoods choose to have each homeowner plant the trees at their leisure, while others hold a planting day where trees are planted simultaneously. Trees planted will reduce urban heat island effect, reduce storm water runoff, improve air quality, provide shade, increase property values, and improve public health outcomes and behaviors.
- Working closely with the City of Rancho Cordova and SMUD, the Lincoln Village neighborhood planted 100 trees in May of 2016. Currently we are working on bringing similar projects to three other neighborhoods, several businesses and churches, and a few community parks within Rancho Cordova city limits.
- October 2016 saw Arden Park host its 16th annual NeighborWoods Day! The Arden Park Tree Committee has successfully planted over 2000 trees during its tenure.
- River Park celebrated its 3rd NeighborWoods Day in November planting over 50 trees at 27 houses.
In 2015, the Sacramento Tree Foundation was awarded a grant to create a partnership with Soil Born Farms and the Sacramento Regional Conservation Corps with the goal of expanding and maintaining a healthy urban forest in South Sacramento. Between now and the end of 2019, this project aims to plant approximately 3,000 new trees on public and private land within the 95823, 95824, 95828 zip codes to optimize the many benefits of a large, diverse, and healthy tree canopy.
- During 2016, we delivered 430 trees to the grant area, including 60 at two elementary schools.
As part of our education efforts, the Sacramento Tree Foundation provides free and low-cost workshops to professionals and the general public on how to care for trees. Topics include How to Prune Young Trees, Dealing with Pests and Diseases, and Pruning Fruit Trees. We also offer guided "Tree Tours" of leafy neighborhoods where participants can learn more about the beautiful trees that surround them. There are also many self-guided walking tours which can be downloaded from our web site. These tours lead you under the canopy of neighborhoods like River Park, Arden Arcade, and Woodlake.
- In 2016, our 14 educational events (tree tours, pruning clinics, and water-wise workshops) engaged 236 community members.