Urban Forest Steward & Habitat Steward Training

Are you interested in learning about Austin’s wildlife and urban forest? Do you want to collaborate with others who are passionate about environmental stewardship? The City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department and TreeFolks are joining forces to offer a fall training series about drought, disease and habitat degradation and the effect each of these have on our urban forest and the wildlife that call it home. You have three great ways to participate, become an Urban Forest Steward, Habitat Steward or both!

Urban Forest Steward is a series of workshops about urban trees organized by TreeFolks and Austin Urban Forestry. Drought, disease and habitat degradation take a constant toll on urban trees. Texas A&M Forest Service estimates that the 2011 drought killed more than 5.6 million urban trees across Texas.  We believe that the more you know about trees, the more you’ll want to take care of the trees at your home and in your community. The goal of Urban Forest Steward is to equip you with the knowledge and skills you need to do just that!

This year we’re partnering with the National Wildlife Federation’s Habitat Steward Program to offer even more topics, taught by respected professionals from both public and private sectors, with a focus on wildlife habitat and the work that stewards do in the community to advocate for wildlife and promote native host plants. Become an important part of YOUR city’s efforts to Keep Austin Wild! Austin is one of the largest metropolitan areas in the country to receive the designation as a Community Wildlife Habitat™ by the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) and tops the NWF’s list of “America’s Top 10 Cities for Wildlife.” This is made possible by people like you, who create native wildscapes at their homes and in public places and who teach and assist others. Choose to go through the Urban Forest Steward track, the Habitat Steward Track or both!

Session #1: Joint Class, Stewardship 101 — September, 12, 2015, 9:00 am – 1:30 pm
(Free and Open to the Public)
In Session 1, you’ll be introduced to the program.  This is a free informational session. We’ll explain the tracks and the program.  In this Session, we cover the basics of habitat stewardship,  introduce you to the native plants of Central Texas, and explore the value of Austin’s urban forest.

Class will be held at Parque Zaragosa, 2608 Gonzales Street, Austin, TX  78702.
Session #2: Joint Class — September 19, 2015, 9:00 am – 1:30 pm
Session 2 will begin with an optional bird walk at 7:30 am.  After the walk, we’ll dive right in with three presentations: Ecology from the Ground Up, Water: the Big Picture, and Insects Overview.  We’ll provide a picnic lunch and wrap up the day with an optional Tree Identification Hike at Hornsby Bend from 1:30 to 4:00 pm.

Class will be held at City of Austin Center for Environmental Research at Hornsby Bend, 2210 FM 973, Austin, TX 78725.  Picnic lunch is provided.
Session #3: Urban Forest Stewards Track — September 26, 2015, 8:45 am – 2:00 pm
Session 3 is all trees. You’ll learn Tree Biology, Urban Soils and Trees, Common Pests (Insects & Diseases) and the abiotic problems faced by urban trees. Please bring a sack lunch.

Class will be held at Parque Zaragosa, 2608 Gonzales Street, Austin, TX  78702.
Session #4: Habitat Stewards Track — September 30, 2015, 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
The goal of Session 4 is to teach you about the fun and not so fun things in your backyard habitat, from birds and amphibians to creatures that pose a threat to backyard habitats.

Class will be held at Mayfield Park and Nature Preserve, 3801 West 35th Street, Austin, TX  78703.
Session #5: Urban Forest Stewards Track — October 3, 2015, 8:45 am – 2:00 pm
In Session 5, you’ll learn about siting (right tree, right place) and the difference it makes in the long term health of trees. We’ll cover Morphology and Tree ID, Tree Selection, Tree Protection, and Tree Care During Drought. Please bring a sack lunch.

Class will be held from at Parque Zaragosa, 2608 Gonzales Street, Austin, TX  78702.
Session #6: Habitat Stewards Track — October 7, 2015, 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm
This session is all about landscape design and permaculture, including berms, swales, and rain gardens. Bring your site template and go through the Landscape Design Workshop, planning backyard habitat, and drought-resistant landscapes.

Class will be held at Mayfield Park and Nature Preserve, 3801 West 35th Street, Austin, TX  78703.
Session #7: Joint Class — October 10, 2015, 8:45 am – 3:00 pm
This session is about “Starting It Right.” We’ll discuss tree risks and defects, tree planting and establishment, and structural pruning. Stay from 3:00 – 5:00 pm for an optional training to be a Supervisor for TreeFolks’ City Shade planting and maintenance events. Please bring a sack lunch.

Class will be held at Parque Zaragosa, 2608 Gonzales Street, Austin, TX  78702.
Session #8: Graduation at Austin’s Arbor Day — October 17, 2015, 8:00 am – 2:00 pm
Join us as we celebrate Austin’s Arbor Day. We’ll start early with a short session on Advocacy and “What Can I Do Now?” before joining TreeFolks volunteers to plant 50 to 100 native trees in Gus Garcia Park. We’ll wrap up the planting with a joint Arbor Day and Stewards Graduation Ceremony. Afterwards, we’ll have lunch with Habitat Steward and Urban Forest Steward alumni.

Class will be held at Gus Garcia Recreaation Center, 1201 East Rundberg Lane, Austin, TX 78753.

Choose to take the Habitat Stewards track for $59, the Urban Forest Stewards track for $99, or both for $125. Not sure you want to commit? Come to our first class free of charge and check it out, but be warned that enrollment is limited to the first 40 people who register.

Current TreeFolks members receive a 20% discount. You are a member if you have donated in the past 12 months. Join today!

The agenda is available for download here: 2015 Urban Forest Stewards & Habitat Stewards Agenda.