This week, TreeFolks headed north to Tulsa, Oklahoma for the Arbor Day Foundation’s Partners in Community Forestry Conference. Professional conferences don’t normally bring joy to the hearts of attendees, so I was a bit surprised by the anticipation with which my coworkers looked forward to our trip. It was my first time in Oklahoma and I, like my coworkers, was charmed by the beautiful art deco architecture and of course, the dense canopies of oranges and reds that could only mean one thing: FALL!
Tulsa is studded with maple reds and oaky yellows and coppers that fill the senses. The trees that line the streets and public spaces throughout this beloved city are here in large part thanks to the efforts of Tulsa’s Up With Trees. Over the last forty years, their work in planting, stewardship, and education has built a strong community around Tulsa’s urban forest. If that sounds familiar, you’re right. TreeFolks has worked for Austin’s urban forest for nearly thirty years, and meeting organizations like Up With Trees and others from across the nation and around the world is like a pep rally and tree planting family reunion in one.
While the word of the week was trees, the beauty of Partners in Community Forestry is the focus on people. We met and learned from the arborists who climb and care for trees, educators and program managers who bring people together, the directors and administrators who forge the path ahead and keep us moving forward, and of course, you. Have you gotten your hands dirty at a sapling planting? Did you take home a new tree for your yard? Are you an advocate for trees to your neighbors, elected officials and community? Thank you. You are TreeFolks, and you are wonderful.
Being at the Partners in Community Forestry Conference gave our staff a chance to check in with our friends from around the nation, learn new ways to protect our community trees, and allowed us a space to consider new paths for the future with our partners right here in Austin. I can see why my colleagues look forward to this conference. There’s a lot of work to do, but look around you. We’ve got some incredible partners. Thank you for being one.
If you would like Jo to thank you even more in person, check out our volunteer opportunities here or drop her a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell her how YOU want to get involved.