Tree Basics Classes and Tree Walks

Charlottesville Area Tree Stewards normally offer several free classes and tree ID walks during the year.  The walks have been offered at public places and historic sites such as the future site of the McIntire Botanical Garden, James Monroe’s Highland, Darden Towe Park, Pen Park, and the Downtown Parks.  Classes have been held at various locations including area libraries and Ivy Creek Natural Area.


This program was inactive from March to late October 2020 as we observed all the precautions needed to protect groups against the coronavirus outbreak.  The program was then reimagined as virtual offerings until we can meet in person again.  The first two Zoom classes were “Tree ID in Fall,” presented by Emily Ferguson on October 29, and “Trees and Wildlife,” presented by Kathy Nepote, on November 12.  In the Tree ID class participants learned tips and tricks to identify the major woody plant families and species found in Central Blue Ridge forests using the color of their foliage.  For the second class, Tree Steward Kathy Nepote discussed the importance of trees to wildlife. In addition to providing a wide variety of habitat, trees are central to a complex food web that includes nuts, berries, leaves, and insects.  All are essential for the survival of our diverse wildlife (fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals, and the insects they feed on).  The session emphasized how vital native plants are to their survival and raised our awareness of the importance of trees, both living and dead, the complex nature of plant and wildlife interactions, and pointed out visible signs of wildlife in our environment.


We have a full schedule of new sessions planned for the first half of 2021, offered either on weekday evenings or weekends so that all can enjoy them.

  • Pruning landscape trees, Saturday morning, 10:00 a.m. to noon, January 23. (Registration now closed; slides will be posted soon)
  • Winter tree identification, Tuesday evening, 7:00-8:30 p.m., February 9.  Register  here
  • Select, plant and care for trees, Saturday afternoon, 2:00-4:00 p.m., March 20.
  • Identify trees in spring, Tuesday evening, 7:00-8:30 p.m., April 13.
  • Identify and control non-native invasive plants, Sunday afternoon, 2:00-4:00 p.m., May 23.
  • Identify trees in summer, Tuesday evening, 7:00-8:30 p.m.,  June 15.

If you would like to be on our mailing list to know when other registrations open, click here or come back to this page on our website for updates.

To help those who want an introduction to tree identification, we have developed a beginner’s guide to 20 native trees found in the Charlottesville area.  We also recommend Common Native Trees of Virginia published by the Virginia Department of Forestry.  It is available as a PDF file here, or, when life returns to normal, you can purchase a printed copy for $5.00 at the Virginia Dept. of Forestry, 900 Natural Resources Drive, Charlottesville.   This well-illustrated book describes 77 of the most common native tree species found in Virginia’s forests.  As an introductory guide for tree identification, it provides full-page descriptions of each tree as well as a useful key to various features that can help you when you encounter an unknown tree.

For information on the next Tree Steward Training Class and volunteering, see Become a Tree Steward Volunteer.