Volunteers help improve community forests

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is working with 12 cities across the state to improve community forests using volunteers to plant and maintain trees and monitor tree health.  

With funding from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, the DNR and grant partners will provide resources to cities to create urban forestry volunteer programs to:

  • Plant trees purchased through grant.
  • Buy materials volunteers will use for tree care and maintenance.
  • Build gravel beds to improve tree root systems before planting.
  • Host tree planting events.
  • Conduct volunteer training and create community tree stewards.

“This is a great opportunity to increase the number of trees that will provide shade, energy savings, clean air and water and improve the community’s quality of life,” said Valerie McClannahan, DNR community forestry project lead.

Communities that received grant funds are Ada, Arlington, Ely, Fridley, Hutchinson, Mankato, Maple Grove, North St. Paul, Rochester, St. James, St. Paul and Shakopee. These communities are also looking for volunteers to help with the project.

Each community will host one-day events where volunteers will help plant, mulch and water trees. Community members who want to be more involved can become tree stewards with specialized training. Tree stewards will help water trees, conduct small tree pruning and monitor tree health.

According to McClannahan, this grant program will make each community better prepared to withstand to damage caused by tree pests, climate change and storm damage by adding a diversity of trees.

So far, cities involved with the project have planted 62 trees. In this year alone, those trees will capture 850 gallons of stormwater and prevent salt, sediments and harmful chemicals from entering lakes and streams.

There are hundreds more trees to be planted and maintained. Visit the urban and community forestry page for information on how to get involved.