Thank you. I’m so happy to be here in Pittsburgh, it’s the first time I’ve been here and it feel just like home. There are so many similarities to Portland – I can’t wait to explore. So, I posted this presentation on a blog last Friday, and I’ll be providing a link to it at the end of my talk, so if you’re finding this information helpful don’t feel like you have to write it all down. Know that you can view the slideshow in the future at your leisure.Excited to present on Summer Inspector Program. Been running program as you’ll see it today for 5 years. Basically what we’re doing is utilizing social pressure to encourage better tree health.
But more on that later . . .
First, a little bit about FOT.
Work in Washington and Oregon; Headquarter in Portland with satellite offices in Vancouver, WA and Eugene. Work in 15 cities around the region.
Now to the fun stuff . . .
Help me learn about my audience here . . .
It all started with one seriously polluted river, the Columbia River, which runs right through the middle of the city. Basically sewage and stormwater were combining and overflowing into the river every time we had a significant rain, 5+ events per year. Something had to be done. ----We have pretty much always had a program similar to this, but the Grey-to-Green Initiative has really helped us boost the program to this level. We’re much more effective now in terms of influencing tree owners to care for their trees, and we’re able to collect much more precise data.
So, we hold our planting events during the colder months – November through April. Then we use the summer months to monitor those trees just planted. When we hold our planting events we encourage everyone receiving trees to participate in some way. There are several volunteer roles they can choose from. Most people who are inspectors just received trees through our planting program and this is the volunteer role they chose.
Tier II & Omega volunteers collect all the same information as Tier I volunteers and more. They measure the caliper of the tree and estimate the height, as well as the canopy width, of the tree.
It really doesn’t feel good to get a thumbs down on a report card – very persuasive for change.
Biggest problem used to be not getting data back (used to have to mail or bring by office). Google docs has really helped. If you’re not familiar with Google documents, it’s like an Excel spreadsheet online that everyone can access at home. Doing it like this also saves a lot of data entry time on our side. The vast majority of people appreciate being able to enter this information at home and not having to drive by our office to drop it off, or mail it in.
Well, in 20 years our urban forest will be healthy and thriving, and more of our strees will look like this.
Link to monitoring report, slideshow, and my contact information is on next slide.
“Neighborhood Trees Summer Inspectors: Social Pressure for Tree Health” by Susie Peterson, Neighborhood Trees Specialist, Friends of Trees
SUMMER INSPECTOR PROGRAM
Social Pressure for Better Tree Health
Friends of Trees
Why social pressure for
better tree health?
We feel that a neighbor is more likely to
convince someone to care for their tree than we
(or the city, or anyone else) are.
To bring people in the Portland-Vancouver and
Eugene-Springfield metro areas together to
plant and care for city trees and green spaces.
Began 24 years ago. Non-profit that uses planting trees as a
tool to build community.
Planting Programs Overview
• Neighborhood Trees
(street & yard trees):
- 7 staff members
- About 1,800 volunteers
- Over 4,000 large (1.5”+
caliper) trees per season
• Green Spaces Initiative
(natural area trees & shrubs):
- 3 staff members
- About 1,700 volunteers
- 23,000 smaller trees and
shrubs per planting season
How many currently have some form of monitoring
program for newly planted trees?
How many are wanting to start one?
How did it get started?
• Citizens voted for green infrastructure over gray
infrastructure, creating G2G Initiative
• Part 1: ‘Big Pipe’ installed underground to hold
more stormwater overflow
• Part 2: City sets goal to plant 83,000 street trees
• FOT bid on and won contract with city to plant
20,000 street trees
• Scope of work included developing tree survival
What is the goal?
Provide tree care education to new tree owners so that
their trees will:
• survive their first growing season
• become long-term assets to their community
How do we do that?
• Mail watering postcard after rains stop (early May)
• Educate new tree owners on the best practices of
general tree care through conversations and
informative door-hangers (train the trainer technique)
• Record tree health data
Most inspectors just received trees through our planting
program the previous year and this is the volunteer role
Inspects 30 trees in their neighborhood.
New tree owner receives doorhanger (“report card”)
and feels social pressure to better care for tree.
Neighbors now know each other. Trained inspector is
resource to community.
MAINLY - Tier I: first year trees (trees inspected
one summer only, twice during the summer)
Also - Tier II: 15% of trees planted 2 years ago (same trees inspected two
summers in a row, once per summer). Measure caliper, height and width.
Also - Tier Omega: 15% of trees planted in 2009-10 (same trees inspected
annually - to be analyzed over extended period of time, once per summer).
Tier I Inspections for 2011-12
• Total of 4,782 newly
planted trees inspected
• 86% new street trees
• 12% new yard trees
• 51 genera
• 134 species
• 97% survival rate for newly
Tier II & Tier Omega
Inspections for 2011-12 Planting Season
• Tier II: 614 trees inspected (90.4% survival rate)
• Tier Omega: 473 trees inspected (89.9% survival rate)
first weekend in
inspection route in
Site Visits - 7 Health Conditions
• Site Conditions
– Soil moisture
• Tree Health
– Bark damage
– Broken branches
– Canopy assessment
• 7 health conditions listed
• Circle thumbs up for pass
• Circle thumbs down for fail
• Websites for more
information on tree care
• Free mulch at our office
Getting data from volunteers
Provide link to shared Google document
(or mail spreadsheet, or drop off at our office)
Inspect twice per summer – separate doc per round:
– July 1 (Round 1)
– August 15 (Round 2)
Uploading Inspection Results
• Save Google document as Excel
• Customized Access database
uploads information from Excel
• Point rating system tells us if tree
is Good, Ok, Bad or Dead
Storage of Data
Database allows entry of detailed information such as:
• Genus, species, cultivar, stock size, stock type, nursery
of origin, date planted, street address, homeowner
• Volunteer inspector ratings and notes
• Staff can change health ratings and enter their own
• “Replace” checkbox available for any trees that will be
replaced the next season
Determine why trees are dying:
• Transplant shock
Social Pressure comes to the rescue:
– Counterintuitively, trees look better at end of summer
– Pressure from neighbor/inspector and doorhanger
(report card) to better care for trees
Analyze which genus and species
Planted Dead Species Breakdown,
(Genus) (Genus) by Cultivar
Rocky Mtn Glow
7.66% Scarlet Oak
Forest Green Oak
Crimson Spire Oak
Oregon White Oak
Swamp White Oak
9.34% Elizabeth Magnolia
Edith Bogue Magnolia
Qty Dead Planted
(Species) (Species) (Species)
Compare tree health/survival
between different parts of the city:
Analyze which root stocks have
highest survival ratings:
% of Total
% of Root Stock
Table 7 – Root Stock of Trees - Comparison of Root Stock of Dead Trees for PS-12
Answer questions that will guide
your program, such as:
Is a person more likely to care for their tree if they pay for it?
(does not appear to be so)
Is a person more likely to care for their tree if they help plant it?
(appears to be so)
Paid for Trees, Signed up to Volunteer 86
Paid for Trees, Did Not Plant
Free Trees, Signed up to Volunteer
Free Trees, Did Not Plant
Free Trees, No Participation, No Tree
Trees Rated "Dead"
Qty of Total % of Total
Table 13 – Tree Mortality and Treecipient Involvement
• Submit with grant requests to show success
of our planting program
• Helps us market our planting program to
• The information helps our program and other
tree programs in the region
Monitoring Report Addresses:
• Condition & survival of newly planted trees
• Genus & species composition
• Performance trends based on genus, species &
• Assessment of planting conditions (stock type, time
of year planted, location of planting )
• Condition & survival of 15% of 2 year-old trees (Tier
• Condition & survival of 15% of 2009-10 trees (Tier
In 20 Years
• Will have collected large amount of data on trees
planted through our program
• Combine our tree data with other tree data collected
by city, iTrees, and others
• Better understanding of species survival
• Handheld technology to collect data
• Educated citizens who value trees and know how to
care for them
To view our Monitoring Report, or view this slideshow in
closer detail, check out our blog posting here:
Neighborhood Trees Specialist