Volunteer for Trees

tree planting at local park

It is easy to think that your actions don't have an impact. We think of volunteering as a step. With one foot forward, we can create movement. With dozens of steps, we create momentum. With our friends, family, and neighbors stepping in the same direction, we create equitable change.

The Nebraska Forest Service compiled a list of actions we see as ways for you to become involved in tree initiatives in your community. We have also put together a list of actions city officials can take to help make green infrastructure and tree planting a focal point in communities across Nebraska.

I want to... Why it matters...
pine tree Plant a tree on my property Many of the beneficial aspects of our home landscapes reach far past our property lines. Adding trees and taking other beneficial landscape steps is a logical place to begin.
tree in a pot Plant a tree for my neighbor, school, park, church, etc. There are often great places to plant, but no one knows what to do or is willing to lead. Taking on that role is a great way to serve areas and organizations that matter to you. Be sure to honor the knowledge, experience and perspectives that everyone brings to a project by inviting neighborhood residents to be part of the dreaming, planning, and work.
magnifying glass Volunteer for community tree planting or care events, or if there are none, coordinate your own Whether acting as a lead or “just” contributing an hour or two to help an existing project, every volunteer effort has a positive effect, not only in the work done but also in the relationships built.
checklist Attend a tree board meeting Tree boards need input and support from members of their communities. Whether expressing concern about an issue you’ve seen, offering suggestions for potential improvements, or sharing your opinion on a proposed action, it all matters and is welcome.
hands holding a heart Become a tree board member Tree boards can become stagnant and are often in need of fresh perspectives and new energy, and you could provide this by joining yours. Special community forestry knowledge or experience isn’t required; a sincere desire to help improve your community is often all that’s needed.
checklist If my community doesn’t have a tree board, start one Some communities haven’t established a tree board. Yet all could use one since every community forest can be improved with clear goals, guidance, and proper care.
envelope Inform my city leaders of the value of trees Communities of all sizes often have leaders who simply aren’t aware of how important the community forest is to all of us. By sharing these facts with them you can help influence policy and budget decisions.

Community leaders, you can help too!

I want to... Why it matters...
people logo Get input from my tree board, or if none, help to get one started Unfortunately, there are some leaders who don’t even get a chance to hear from their tree board. They are a valuable resource that should be fully utilized.
tree If no tree ordinances or policy, establish them Even small communities can benefit from ordinances and policies to help guide decisions and avoid conflicts and disputes. There are many existing examples from other communities that can be used to help develop your own.
house with a heart If ordinances and policy already exist, review them for updates and refinement Well-intentioned ordinances and policy don’t always achieve intended results, sometimes have unintended consequences, and circumstances change. So even the best ordinances and policy should be reviewed regularly and refined if necessary to better achieve community goals.
checklist Inventories: if none, do one; if have one, use it Inventories are a tremendous tool to gauge the current community forest status and help guide decisions and direction for next steps. Now is a great time to do an inventory because there are a wide range of relatively new user-friendly yet powerful technologies available.
birdhouse Educate myself on the value of trees, their tremendous return on investment, and share this with the community Everyone instinctively knows (and feels) the shade benefit trees provide. But many don’t know that also equates to energy savings, plus better health, improved stormwater management, and the many other less obvious but important benefits trees provide. Learning these facts and spreading the word can go a long way in helping to maximize the benefits provided by your community forest.
megaphone If my community doesn’t have a tree board, start one Some communities haven’t established a tree board. Yet all could use one since every community forest can be improved with clear goals, guidance, and proper care.