The Charlottesville Area Tree Stewards urge you to check out C-Ville’s “The Tree Issue,” a look at the making of Charlottesville’s urban forest. Leading off with a shout-out to our Notable Trees Project, the issue is beautifully illustrated with John Robinson’s photos of Landmark Trees we have helped the community recognize over the years. In addition, the feature package looks back at the forces that have shaped our urban landscapes over time, including the racist redlining that has deprived some neighborhoods of tree cover and the cooling benefits it provides. Also highlighted is the threat of the emerald ash borer, which imperils some of Charlottesville’s most venerable trees. Editor Ben Hitchcock and the C-Ville team hope you will “take this paper, sit under a tree, and leaf through the pages.” We hope you will, too.
The Charlottesville Area Tree Stewards continue to find ways to care for community landscapes while keeping members safe. For instance, we have worked in small groups—six or fewer—to help maintain social distancing, and volunteers wear masks unless working alone or as a couple.
In Fluvanna County, this allowed us to deploy a band of CATS in mid-September for the continued care of Pleasant Grove, where we are helping local volunteers maintain about 150 trees planted around wildlife meadows and habitats.
On September 30, another small group of CATS returned to the Ivy Creek Natural Area to weed and mulch native trees and shrubs we planted near the birdwatching area. We’re not letting a pandemic keep us from getting such jobs done.
Over three days in mid-September, Charlottesville Area Tree Stewards weeded and mulched some 80 trees at the native tree arboretum on the grounds of the Virginia Department of Forestry at the Fontaine Research Park. Undaunted by humidity and scattered showers, the CATS volunteers maintained a safe distance from one another and wore masks when not working alone.
Over the past six years, CATS has collaborated with the Department of Forestry to plant 35 native tree species on this site, including sassafras, silverbell, yellowwood, river birch and an American chestnut hybrid designed to resist the devastating chestnut blight. Many of the trees are labeled with QR codes that allow visitors to go online and learn more about the species.
For a virtual tour of the arboretum, watch this Arbor Day video featuring our friends Lara Johnson and Molly O’Liddy, the urban and community forestry staffers at VDOF. It includes instructions on how to use the QR code labels. Or visit the arboretum in person and take a pathway around the property that links to Charlottesville’s Rivanna Trail.