Tree Stewards are trained community volunteers committed to promoting healthy urban and rural forests in Virginia.  Tree Stewards provide training classes, educational programs, and projects in their communities intended to increase public awareness of the value of trees while teaching about trees and tree care.

Volunteers Welcome

Tree Stewards urge you to take part in our array of community service projects, which are open to the public. Our field work includes planting trees, pruning trees, restoring woodlands and removing invasive plant threats. No previous training is necessary, but you might want to check out our educational material on the “Selection, Planting and Care” tab of our website menu. All our activities are supervised by experienced Tree Stewards. Tools and equipment will be provided along with instruction on how to use them properly and safely. We will also specify what to wear, what to bring, and other particulars that will make for a great outing in our local woodlands. Volunteers under 18 are welcome but must be accompanied by an adult.

To find out about upcoming dates for volunteer opportunities regarding planting, invasive control, pruning, restoration and maintenance, contact: Kathy Nepote, Projects Chairperson, at

Below are a few of the projects we work on and the various locations for you to get an idea of the volunteer opportunities that are available to you.

Plant a tree with us!

Each year, tree stewards have planted trees throughout the city of Charlottesville and surrounding areas at school grounds, parks, and other public and natural areas. Volunteers who join us will learn how to prepare trees for planting, plant them, mulch them and install cages to protect them from deer and foot traffic.

Read more

Help us to control invasive plants!
Invasive plants pose a major threat to our trees, meadows, and forests. Invasive vines damage trees by robbing them of nutrients and water, blocking sunlight, choking them, breaking them and toppling them. Invasive trees outcompete native trees, and invasive grasses smother new growth and since native wildlife won’t eat them, they force wildlife to relocate. Read more…
Join us on a pruning project!
Tree Stewards help city and county parks staff prune trees in our local green spaces, along trails and roadways and on school grounds. Proper pruning is a skilled task and an important part of tree care.  This is essential for young trees to ensure that their ultimate architecture can survive severe weather.   Read more…
Forest Restoration

In addition to planting trees, we also have three forest restoration sites: Greenleaf Park, Jackson Via Elementary School and a site off Barracks Road on the Rivanna Trail.

We have managed select areas with combinations of invasive control, tree planting, pruning and tree care.   A small area of the Rivanna Trail, just off Barracks Road, is one of these.  We have also planted native wildflowers and shrubs so that our planted areas are consistent with forest ecosystems.  Greenleaf Park has a small area where we have planted native trees and shrubs as well as a wide variety of ferns.  Small concrete pedestals provide seating to allow the public to enjoy the beauty of the site.  Jackson Via Elementary school had a hillside that had been overrun by invasives.  We removed the invasives and will continue to plant trees, shrubs and native flowers to provide a natural area for the students.

Maintaining our Plantings

Our major plantings require periodic maintenance, such as watering, weeding, and the application of fresh mulch. We also repair deer cages, remove stakes when no longer needed, and replace trees that failed to thrive. This work is critical in the first three years after planting.

CATS Grove

In McIntire Park, we have established a grove of over 100 native trees and shrubs, that welcome people to stop and enjoy them as well as the wildlife they attract.   Planted in 2017, it has become a real asset to the park and a joy for walkers.   Recently we have added 3 benches so people can stop, relax and take in all that it offers. Maintaining this investment in nature requires effort and we invite you to join us controlling invasives, weeding, mulching, pruning and planting.

CATS Nursery
The CATS Nursery, sited at the Department of Forestry at Fontaine Park is where we pot and nurture the trees and shrubs that we sell at our Spring and Fall Tree Sales.  We maintain several hundred  plants and sell about 600 each year.  Our tree sales are our opportunity to interact with the public and help them understand how to select the proper tree for their site and then care for it. Come to a Tree sale!