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Member Meeting

Monday, April 17, 9am – 11am
Ivy Creek Natural Area Education Building
Monday, April 17, 9am – 11am
Ivy Creek Natural Area Education Building
Sarah A. Francisco, Director, VA office, Southern Environmental Law Center will speak on SELC's ongoing work to protect exceptional woodlands within national forests, particularly in the George Washington Forest.

Tree Pruning Class

March 12, 2017


Free Class:  Friday March 31, 2017   tree pruning

10am to noon

Ivy Creek Natural Area Education Building

1780 Earlysville Road, Charlottesville




Learn to prune your trees to improve their health and appearance, while reducing the risk of branch failure; learn what tools to use and how to use them safely along with best practices for pruning your landscape trees. Includes a pruning demonstration.

Presented by Certified Tree Stewards

Registration is recommended.  To register, email

Sponsored by the Charlottesville Area Tree Stewards for the Tree Basics for Homeowners Series.


Celebrating the Monticello Gateway Project

February 17, 2017


The Monticello Gateway Project consists of a grove of native trees in the median of Route 20 South. This project is a living partnership among civic and non-profit organizations to beautify Charlottesville and improve the environment.

The inspiration for the project was a vision of the Charlottesville Tree Commission for entranceways that welcome visitors to our unique natural area through planting large native trees. The non-profit Charlottesville Area Tree Stewards (CATS) applied for and received a grant from the Virginia Department of Forestry’s Virginia Trees for Clean Water program, which was funded by the Virginia Water Quality Improvement Fund. An additional grant was received from the Ballyshannon Foundation.

The series of groves of canopy trees was designed by landscape architect Paul Josey (chairman of the Charlottesville Tree Commission) in collaboration with the Virginia Department of Transportation (official owner of the median), Monticello, and Journey Through Hallowed Ground: Gettysburg to Monticello, to beautify the southern entrance to Charlottesville. For a full list of the many partners in this civic project, please see the Charlottesville Tomorrow article of November 4, 2016 “New Trees on Monticello Avenue Rooted in Community Partnership”

The Virginia Trees for Clean Water grant goes to projects that support the work that trees do to alleviate the impact of storm water on our streams, break the impact of heavy rain, hold soil in place, slow down storm water run off, and cool the environment.

Albemarle County supports the project by mowing this median, as it has for many years, along with other entrance corridors into Charlottesville using Z-turn mowers with a 5′ sweep. Monticello will continue to water the trees for their first year of life, and CATS will use them to teach fine pruning techniques. The groves of canopy trees are set to be maintained “in perpetuity” as required by the DOF grant.

The Monticello Gateway project documented 413.5 hours of labor. A total of 73 trees were planted, all with volunteer labor. In fact, in one day 63 trees were planted by 50 CATS volunteers, Tree Commissioners, and National Guardsmen. In-kind and donated materials and time totaled a value of $11,639. Virginia Department of Forestry Urban Forestry Coordinator Barbara White writes, “This is an excellent partnership between the state, city, and a local non-profit.”

To everyone who gave their hearts and backs to plant the 73 trees that comprise the Monticello Gateway: They are a significant contribution to our community. In a few years this project will have made our air cooler and our water cleaner and created a spectacular living monument to the importance of trees to the citizens of Central Virginia.

We also thank the many groups which provided volunteer hours to make this planting a success:  Bremo Trees, Windridge, Journey Through Hallowed Ground, our local unit of the National Guard, Monticello, Charlottesville Tree Commission, and Charlottesville Area Tree Stewards.  Let’s applaud their efforts to support rural and urban forests and to increase public awareness of the intrinsic value and beauty of trees.

Winter Tree Identification Class

January 31, 2017

Free Workshop: Saturday, 25 February 2017

 10AM – Noon @ Ivy Creek Natural Area Education Center

1780 Earlysville Road, Charlottesville


Learn to identify trees without leaves in the winter using other tree characteristics.  Presented by certified tree stewards.

Sponsored by the Charlottesville Area Tree Stewards for the Tree Basics for Homeowners program.

Email: to register.

Free Class: Invasive Plants

December 22, 2016


Tree Basics for Homeowners FREE class on Invasive Plants will be held Friday, January 27, 2017, 9:30 am to noon, in the Education Building of Ivy Creek Natural Area.   The program will begin indoors and conclude with an outside demonstration.  Learn how to identify and deal with invasive plants on our properties.  Winter is the best time to tackle invasives.  Dress appropriately.  All are welcome. Registration is recommended at

7 Trees Planted at South First Street Recreation Area

November 29, 2016
CATS members and City Tree Commissioners prepared 7 Bremo Nursery Trees: fruitless sweet gum,  red maple, willow oak, Tulip Tree and Kentucky Coffeetree. They were chosen for durability, success of fall planting, and low messiness. 22 CATS volunteers, 2 Tree Commissioners and a large group of resident children supervised by Janet Mitchell worked the dry, hard ground.  They planted, watered, mulched and cleaned up from 10:00-noon. A local gentleman who helped us out because he has family at South First Street summed up the day: “It’s a good feeling.”  
This planting was funded by the Virginia Department of Forestry and the Ballyshannon Fund.  A total of 70 trees were planted at Monticello Gateway and South First Street.  
Dorothy Smith organized the event, which took place on November 19th.
For more photos, click here.

Two Willow Oaks Find a Home at Broadus Wood Elementary School

November 18, 2016

On Friday, November 11, 2016, approximately, sixty enthusiastic Broadus Wood Elementary School fourth graders enjoyed a beautiful morning and participated in pre-tree planting activities. The children learned about deciduous and evergreen trees from Debbie Miller, who brought in fantastic examples of leaves and needles from her own yard. The children, then, made bark rubbings of two contrasting barks. Finally, the children split into groups and collected as many different leaves as they could find. The actual tree planting did not occur until Wednesday, November 16, 2016, since Grelen nursery unexpectedly found a concrete pipe while digging and had to stop the planting, but the children learned another valuable lesson that things do not always go as planned. Fortunately, the two 7-foot willow oaks are now happily situated on the other side of the playground closer to the outdoor stage and will provide some lovely shade in the years to come. The fourth grade class has already set up a watering schedule and have taken their task very seriously. Thank you to Debbie Miller, Thayer Drew, Edith McHenry, Jackie Vawter, Penny Kaiserlian, and Joyce Grunewald for making this a successful event.


Monticello Gateway Project

November 9, 2016

The Monticello Gateway Project was a combined effort of many groups: The Charlottesville Tree Commission, the Charlottesville Area Tree Stewards, Bremo Trees, Virginia National Guard soldiers on behalf of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground organization, Monticello and Windridge Landscaping. The project’s funds came from the Virginia Department of Forestry and the Ballyshannon Fund. Thanks to these two supporters, we now have a tree canopy that will enhance the entrance to Charlottesville.

See more photos at Bill Emory’s blog


photo by Shuan Butcher