Become a Tree Tender

Tree Tenders Volunteer Training courses kicked off last month, and our first ever course in Richmond Hill is starting this weekend! I’m coordinating these courses for the first time this year, and I’m excited to be involved. If you don’t yet know about Tree Tenders, it’s a multi-day course that teaches you all about trees - tree planting, tree care, and even legal issues around trees in the city. You get basic arboriculture training through indoor and outdoor lectures and hands-on activities led by experts. You even get to plant a tree!



As it’s my first year here at LEAF, the course last week at the Northern District Library in Toronto was my first Tree Tenders experience. I was looking forward to learning alongside participants in the courses – but I was surprised to find out just how much I had to learn about trees from Philip and Wendy!


Wendy Strickland encourages tree tenders to look up in the urban forest


I was especially excited to learn how to identify different species of trees. And after just one session, I’m much more comfortable with names of the trees as I walk down the street. Trees are our neighbours, after all, so I appreciate being able to greet the tulip trees and red oaks by name.


Philip Van Wassaner talks tree ID


I had already started to learn a little about “the right tree in the right place” while planning the tree plantings for the upcoming courses. As part of this process, I had a chance to visit and chat with experts at each location to discuss what trees we would plant, and where.


Earth worms are good for the soil


During the next course, Tree Tenders will plant a silver maple at Oak Ridges Community Centre in Richmond Hill. I’m thrilled to be part of teaching people how to plant a tree and to watch these trees grow and become part of the urban forest over the years to come!


Identifying common species in Toronto's urban forest


I enjoyed meeting the folks in the Toronto course last week, and I’m eager to meet the group that has signed up for the Richmond Hill course (will you be one?) It is inspiring to connect with all these folks who want to learn more about tree care and our urban forest.


I’ve been enjoying reading the recent profiles of past Tree Tender graduates on LEAF’s blog.  The projects they’ve been working onare so inspiring and they are obviously putting their learning to good use. I’m looking forward to watching all of the exciting things this year’s batch of Tree Tenders get up to!


The newest graduates of Tree Tenders


Do you want to be part of this amazing group? Sign up to take a Tree Tenders course, and become a tree steward in your community!


Robyn is the Education and Outreach Coordinator at LEAF and coordinates the Tree Tenders Volunteer Training Program. She holds a Master of Science degree in Learning, Teaching, and Social Policy from Cornell University. Her interests include environmental education, sustainable agriculture, and community engagement. Prior to joining LEAF she worked with Greenest City, doing environmental food education programs for youth. Robyn enjoys sailing, knitting, gardening, and good food.