Registration for the Fall 2023 Tree Steward Training is now closed. 



The program combines online and live classes and will include active field sessions involving walking on and off trail in forest settings, planting trees and removing invasive plants in local parks and woodlands.  Classes begin August 8th and end November 18th.  Because we ask that all Tree Stewards be willing to volunteer at least 25 hours a year, this class is open only to those who live in the Charlottesville Area Tree Steward’s jurisdiction, which includes the city of Charlottesville, and Albemarle, Greene, Fluvanna, Nelson, and Luisa counties.
Only 32 students will be accepted for this program to ensure the best training experience.
To register and make your payment, please use this link to Eventbrite.
Please keep in mind that payment is required before you are fully registered. But if you prefer, send your $160 check to:
Charlottesville Area Tree Stewards
Education Committee
Post Office Box 4211
Charlottesville, VA 22905

Become a Tree Steward

The Charlottesville Area Tree Stewards is an all-volunteer organization committed to promoting healthy urban and rural forests. We are one of about a dozen Tree Steward Chapters across the Commonwealth of Virginia.

What do Tree Stewards do?

Tree Stewards are trained to increase public awareness of the value of trees in all environments, rural and urban. We deliver training classes and various educational programs, lead tree walks, and hold community tree sales. We also lead a wide range of field projects pruning and planting trees as well as removing invasive plant threats to trees in a five-county area around Charlottesville, Virginia.  With training and hands-on practice, tree stewards are equipped to identify trees, counsel on tree selection, plant and demonstrate proper tree planting, pruning and follow-up care, and guide removal of invasive plants that threaten trees.

Each person who becomes a Charlottesville Area Tree Steward makes a commitment to return a minimum of 25 volunteer service hours annually. The hours can be accumulated with work in the field or by helping with the various administrative and leadership needs of the organization. Active tree stewards average around 140 hours annually, but all volunteer hours are valued.

Why become a Tree Steward?

We are a positive force for environmental change in our communities through advocacy, education, planting and protecting urban and rural trees. The Tree Steward course will train you to accomplish these goals and give you a broader appreciation for the value of trees.  We will match your skills and interests with a wide range of volunteer activities.

How to become a Tree Steward

The class is required for anyone to become a Charlottesville Area Tree Steward unless you have comparable training (e.g., you are a certified arborist or have a degree in tree-related sciences).  If your schedule conflicts with the training class, we will work with you to find other ways to satisfy the education requirement.

Please contact us at if either of these situations applies to you.

Training Program Overview…..

The Fall 2023 class will consist of a combination of online training sessions and field activities with a maximum of 32 students to facilitate the best field training possible. With a 15-week duration beginning August 8th and ending in November 18th,  the online classes will precede the field activities held on every other Saturday at various locations in the Charlottesville area.  These sites will be identified at the time of registration.  Tuition is $160 and includes textbooks and other training materials, a Tree Steward carrying bag, and your membership dues through the end of 2024.  Membership dues in subsequent years are $20 per year.

The training program has four parts:
  • A series of 20 online narrated slideshows and videos to develop your stewardship knowledge.
  • Six field activities to put into practice the concepts and principles learned in the online materials dealing with tree identification, forest ecology, pruning, planting and invasive plant identification and treatment.
  • Optional homework assignments to practice your skills.
  • A wide range of out-of-class activities over the duration of the course to experience and participate in Tree Steward work. These activities will allow you to match your interests to what we do.
    1.  Out-of-class activities may include Tree Steward events (walks, short classes, projects and committee or member meetings), or tree-related events held by organizations with similar missions such as Master Gardeners, Master Naturalists, etc.
    2.  Time spent in these activities will count towards your annual volunteer service hours requirement.
Your volunteer service as a Tree Steward can be made in three areas:
  • Educating the public through classes, walks, plantings and table events.
  • Hands-on work planting trees, pruning and caring for them, and removing threatening invasives.
  • Administering our organization, managing our website or library, communicating with our constituencies or planning and supporting a wide range of tasks, much of which can be done from home.
To graduate from this course, you will need to:
  • Complete each of the online topics in the curriculum and achieve a score of at least 70 on the quizzes included with the topics.  You can take any quiz multiple times to improve your score.
  • Attend all field activities included in the course (field sessions 1-6).  If you miss any of the six, you will need to make it up before the class concludes on November 18, 2023.  See the class schedule here.
To become a certified tree steward you will need to:
  • Meet the course requirements as listed above.
  • Complete a minimum of 25 service hours by December 31, 2024.

     Note: If you wish to be certified during the class, you’ll need 25 service hours by the end of class.

Our online classes are hosted on a learning management system called Moodle – Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment. You will be provided instructions on how to access class materials in Moodle. For most topics, there are several parts:

  • An introduction explaining why Tree Stewards need to know about the topic and a biography of the presenter.
  • A narrated slideshow or video that comprises the main content.
  • A quiz designed to assess your learning progress.
  • A summary of the topic’s key points; and
  • Some have references, additional review materials and brief or optional outside of class assignments.

During the course, you will have ample opportunity to ask questions about content both online and live at our
field sessions.

You will be given access to Moodle in early August, prior to the first field activity.  This will allow you plenty
of time to familiarize yourself with the online learning program and complete the assignments required prior to the
first field session.

Each field activity is preceded by viewing a few online topics which relate directly to the subject covered at the subsequent field activity. The two-week period between field activities provides adequate time to cover the required materials when it is most convenient for class members. Typically, each module includes three main topics. In some cases, there are more, but if so, some are short subjects, e.g., how to record your volunteer hours.

Help will be available if there are any issues accessing or using the training materials.

For field activities, the 32 class members will be divided into smaller groups so that all can readily hear presenters or conduct the day’s activities. There will be three tree walk leaders working with about 10 class members each. For planting, pruning and invasives removal, class members will form groups of three with an experienced tree steward or outside instructor present in each group to demonstrate best practices and provide guidance.

We are looking forward to meeting you, assisting you with the training program, working side-by-side with you and enjoying Piedmont Virginia’s beautiful urban and rural forests together as you progress through the class toward becoming a Tree Steward.

To learn more, you can reach us at

Stay safe!