The Problem -- In Iowa 2/3 of the original forest is gone. Much of the forest left in Iowa is found in our communities, but in most communities more trees are being removed each year than planted. Also, many trees that are being planted are not given proper care, and survival is often not as good as it should be.
Caring for our trees is important. Trees shelter us from wind and sun, reduce our energy consumption, buffer city noise, add beauty to our world, conserve soil and water, improve air quality, provide homes and food for wildlife, and much more.
The Solution -- Become an Iowa Community Tree Steward. The goal of the program is to develop a network of highly motivated, well- trained volunteers to expand and improve our community forests in Iowa.
What is it -- It's 24 hours of intensive training in community tree management. In both classroom and field settings (hands on), you will learn: basic tree identification, species selection, tree planting, tree care and maintenance, pest management, value assessment, inventory techniques, program planning, funding, and implementation, and much more. The program is sponsored by the Iowa Urban and Community Forestry Council (IUCF), Iowa State University Extension, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and Trees Forever.
Who is it for? -- This program is intended to serve citizen volunteers. Others that may also attend include: community forestry and parks staff, tree care professionals, utility company representatives, county conservation board staffs, and community administrators.
Fee -- This program's only "fee" is that you will contribute 24 volunteer hours back to your community forest.
Why should I become involved? -- Your benefits are many. Most importantly, you will become a community leader and a source of knowledge about Iowa's trees. You can then teach our youth, host ISU Extension meetings for homeowners, and develop and implement a sound community forest plan for your community. You also receive an extensive reference notebook, as well as the Iowa Urban Forest Council newsletter, Community Trees, and special staff admission rates to the Shade Tree Short Course the year following your graduation.
When and where is it? -- The program includes six training sessions, and it will be offered in two areas in the spring-summer of 1995. The areas and dates are: Davenport/Clinton area on May 11, 18, 25, June 1, 8, and 15. Mason City area on May 23, 30, June 6, 13, 20, and 27. The sessions will be located in different communities within the given areas each week, and will be held from 6 to 10 pm in the evening.
For information -- Contact Mark Vitosh at (515) 294-6739 or write to: Community Tree Steward Program, Iowa State University, 251 Bessey Hall, Ames, IA 50011.
This article originally appeared in the January 13, 1995 issue, p. 3.