On March 29, the Charlottesville Area Tree Stewards kicked off this year’s series of tree walks with a tour of the grounds of James Monroe’s Highland. Sharon Hiner, who is both a Tree Steward and a docent at Monroe’s Albemarle County home, blended the historical with the botanical as she led participants around the property.
Along the route, she pointed out ways to identify some of the stunning specimens on the site, from a sugar maple (Acer saccharum) – rare in our area – to one of the estate’s signature white ashes (Fraxinus americana). Highland was known as Ash Lawn through much of its post-Monroe era.
Other highlights of the walk included a three-centuries-old white oak (Quercus alba) that was already a mature tree when Monroe purchased Highlands in 1793, as well as an eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) that is believed to have been growing on the property when Monroe acquired it. The tour concluded with the opportunity to identify a “mystery tree.”
Sharon will reprise the 90-minute Highland walk at 9 a.m. on July 5. Other walks scheduled for this year include McIntire Park at 10 a.m. on May 11 and Pen Park at 10 a.m. on May 24 and again at 11 a.m. on June 15. The tree walks are free and open to the public, but they are limited to 25 participants and registration is required. Please visit our classes and walks webpage to learn more.
McIntire Grove Workday March 30, 2019.
Charlottesville Area Tree Stewards had a productive and fun spring day! Participants included 19 UVA students in 2 service organizations (Alpha Phi Omega and Madison House), 12 CATS members, plus 2 Botanical Garden Board members. Planting, trimming and mattock lessons were given all around and then we planted 23 small trees, dug out and mulched a new trail and attacked the large invasive vines nearby. What a hearty crew welcoming the beginning of spring! Thanks all!
Spring Tree ID.
On Saturday, March 30, Tree Steward Emily Ferguson presented a class on tree identification at the Ivy Creek Natural Area to an appreciative audience. After an hour of class time, Emily led the group on a walk to practice identifying trees as the leaf buds are breaking. In early Spring, just before leaves start to come out, trees can still be readily identified using bark, twigs, buds, nuts, seeds, color and other features to decide what tree you are looking at. This class was the second in a series of four tree identification classes that Emily is presenting this year. She will give one class in each season, since the features that make tree identification possible change over the seasons. Check our Take A Class or Tree Walk page for upcoming classes and tree walks led by Tree Stewards and learn more about how trees enrich our lives.
Students Plant Trees on Riparian Buffer.
Early morning on March 25 a large group of students and adults planted 200 tree seedlings along Parrot Branch Creek adjacent to Crozet Elementary School. Rivanna Conservation Alliance (RCA), who funded this riparian buffer project, had requested CATS assistance. Allen Ingling, Kendra Hall and her husband Jim, Will Hueston, Kathy Nepote and Tim Maywalt helped oversee the “planters” which included 70 fifth graders, 40 seniors from Western Albemarle High School and several parents and teachers. The planting which was anticipated to take all day was over within 2 hrs. Since RCA has limited staff and members for field activities, they hope that this will be the beginning of many future collaborations.
NBC29 – Crozet Elementary cleaned up watershed to protect Parrot Branch Creek
CBS19 – Students plant 200 trees to protect Parrot Branch Creek