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Protecting trees

In urban areas, trees need people to value, preserve, and care for them. One of the purposes of The Morton Arboretum's Community Trees Program is to help communities develop a base of public support to make sure trees are valued, protected, and included in future plans. The ongoing community care of trees is often called tree stewardship.

Encouraging stewardship

To encourage stewardship, it is important to have educated constituents. Those who understand the problems faced by trees in cities and suburbs are more likely to lend a hand.

There are many ways to build advocacy and stewardship.  For example, communities may:

  • Place short informative articles in local newsletters or social media
  • Hold workshops on issues facing the community forest and the benefits this forest provides
  • Develop a Tree Board or Tree Commission where a community dialogue can focus on trees
  • Offer hands-on learning opportunities about the care and management of trees


Tree information and advice on the care and management of other plants is available from The Morton Arboretum's Plant Clinic.

ArbConnect, The Morton Arboretum's electronic newsletter, often includes information that can advance awareness and appreciation of trees and the community forest. It is easy to join the mailing list.

Ready-to-use articles for village newsletters and social media are included in the Community Trees Program Newsletter.

Developing a community volunteer program 

Building a Community Volunteer Program. This Tree Tool provides a simple outline to assist you in establishing a volunteer program in your community.  


Tree boards and commissions

Community Forestry Partnerships. This is a guide for developing a community forestry relationship. 

Tree Board University. The National Arbor Day Foundation has developed a series of  lessons  which can be used to develop an educated Tree Board or Commission.