Recent News

Montpelier Workday.

On March 19th, a group of hardy CATS volunteers met up at historic Montpelier to perform stewardship work in “The Grove”. This island of specimen trees on Montpelier’s front lawn includes a gorgeous Deodar cedar, a Nordmann fir, an Oriental spruce, and a Norway spruce along with a Chinese chestnut that is close by.  We were led by Montpelier’s Curator of Horticulture, Allyson Whalley. The work party included Toine Wykoff, Allen Ingling, Kathy Nepote, Mark Zollinhofer, Kendra Hall, Dana Denbar and Mac Dent.

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Recent News

Tree Pruning for Beginners.

In early February Tree Stewards delivered training to thirty area residents on tree pruning. The class included a lecture and demonstration. Later in the month members of the class joined a group of tree stewards for hand-on experience at Schenk’s Greenway, a small park in Charlottesville. Class members pruned trees planted two years ago with the guidance of experienced Tree Stewards as the final step in becoming familiar with the principles, techniques and tools used to keep trees healthy through pruning.


Volunteers Clear Wood Edge at Jackson-Via.

On Saturday February 23rd, a dozen volunteers from UVA’s Alpha Phi Omega Coed Service Fraternity and local residents, under the leadership of a group of Charlottesville Area Tree Stewards, cleared invasive plants from the lovely expanse of woods behind Jackson-Via Elementary School. The trees and shrubs were being strangled by non-native invasive plants and debris to the point where school students were unable to enjoy their trails at all. After a morning in the rain, the group has opened the wooded area for all to explore and appreciate. Dina Fricke, Assistant Principal, commented, “Thanks so much for all your hard work and effort! The Owl Meadow and the edges of the woods look fantastic!”


Ragged Mountain Reservoir Natural Area.  C.A.T.S. Invasives Removal Workday

On a beautiful and very mild, sunny day, 3 volunteers and 13 C.A.T.S. members gathered at the upper parking lot at the Ragged Mountain Reservoir just west of town for a three-hour work project. After a bit of snacks and fellowship, we all clambered into 3 – four wheel drive vehicles and caravanned behind Chris Gensic’s C’ville Parks & Rec SUV for a one-mile plus trek on the rough fire road around the reservoir to a turn-around location. There, we unloaded, and with tools in hand began a 1/4 to 1/2 mile hike to the worksite on the far side of the reservoir.

The plan was to remove autumn olive that had heavily invested the southern aspect of a small valley from a foot bridge up to the water tunnel/pipe that carries water from the Sugar Hollow Reservoir to the Ragged Mountain Reservoir. We broke up into 3 or 4 small groups and began to lop off and saw down any autumn olive shrubs. Chris demonstrated how we would accurately identify the correct plants, and then gave us flags to identify the stubs left after cutting. Since it is a city reservoir, the use of herbicides is very restricted. Because only he was certified, Chris followed behind our groups and sprayed the stubs with herbicide and picked up the flags, and then the cycle repeated as we leap-frogged each other to the tunnel. We spent two plus hours bushwhacking the autumn olive in addition to the driving/walking time. Of course, there were cookies and snacks to keep us fortified!

It was a memorable time to work together in a beautiful setting on a gorgeous day. Thanks, Project Committee, for scheduling this on a great-weather day. Please consider joining us in the future whenever a workday is scheduled. We were truly experiencing the deep satisfaction of being stewards of the tree canopy in this part of our glorious planet.


Recent News

Winter Tree ID.

On Saturday, January 12, 40 people from the Charlottesville area attended a tree identification class and tree walk at the Ivy Creek Natural Area led by Tree Steward Emily Ferguson. Identifying trees in winter can be difficult because many have lost their leaves and leaves are one of the most reliable ways to identify trees. But Emily showed attendees how to use bark, twigs, buds, nuts, seeds, color and other features to decide what tree they were looking at. This class was the first of a series of four tree identification classes that Emily will present this year – one 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 Emily and other tree stewards and learn more about how trees enrich our lives.


2018 Year in Review.

Your local tree stewards had a busy 2018.  Here are some highlights and photos.

We had twenty-one new graduates from our 2018 Training Class, bringing the number of Tree Stewards in the Charlottesville Area to 150.   These dedicated volunteers took on outdoor projects, educational efforts, and public outreach. The Projects Committee undertook thirty work projects this year, up from eighteen in 2017.  They planted 131 trees and shrubs at various locations, and 144 ferns in a forest restoration project. They also pulled thousands of feet of invasive vines away from tree trunks on public lands and school grounds.   The Charlottesville Area Tree Stewards Grove in McIntire Park was further developed this year with two additional plantings of close to 100 trees and shrubs on the site of the former golf course. CATS volunteers were assisted on several workdays by groups of enthusiastic students from the University of Virginia.   We also completed another signature project by replacing nine trees on the Monticello Gateway. This project, initiated by the Charlottesville Tree Commission, undertook to plant native trees along the median of Route 20 on the way to Monticello; a few of the trees planted in 2016 had died and several had been damaged by a vehicle.   In 2018 we replaced these trees and look forward to seeing the Gateway trees grow to full size in the coming years.

CATS continues its efforts to educate the public on the environmental benefits of trees by holding an annual training class, and offering various free classes as well as tree identification walks.  The walk program started in Fall 2017 and was greatly expanded in 2018 when we offered fourteen walks at various locations, including downtown Charlottesville, James Monroe’s Highland, Riverside Park, McIntire Park, and Ivy Creek.  Over three hundred people registered for these popular walks. CATS also held table exhibits at various events, including the Heritage Harvest Festival at Monticello.

Since 2013 CATS has held Tree Sales in spring and fall to offer young native trees and shrubs to the public at reasonable prices.   The 2018 sales were held at Ix Park in the spring and at Tufton Farm in the fall. The next sale will be at Stonefield mall on May 4, 2019 in conjunction with the Piedmont Master Gardeners’ spring sale.