Creating a Culture of Stewardship

Through its Healthy Trees, Healthy Cities Initiative, The Nature Conservancy seeks to protect the health of our nation’s trees, forests, and communities by creating a culture of stewardship that engages people in the planting and care of urban trees.


We work to maintain the health of urban trees and forests through a suite of strategies and actions designed to improve the long term health of urban forest resources and to address the threat that non-native tree pests pose to our trees and forests. This initiative strengthens urban tree stewardship efforts by: creating and enhancing partnerships to achieve mutual urban forest management goals; assisting the urban forestry community in its assessment of the vulnerability of trees to potential threats; developing information, training materials, and tools to promote best management practices for the stewardship of trees; engaging corporations, community members and youth in urban forest management activities such as tree-planting, stewardship, and tree health monitoring; and conducting outreach to diverse audiences to raise public awareness about the importance of trees and what people can do to ensure we have vibrant and healthy urban forests for generations to come. 


The Conservancy will work in partnership with federal, state, and municipal governments as well as non-profit organizations to implement the Healthy Trees, Healthy Cities Initiative and achieve the following outcomes in each of three areas:


Outcome Area 1: Healthy Urban Forests

  1. The health, diversity, and long-term survivability of the urban forest and green infrastructure is maintained or increase as a result of HTHC strategies and actions.

  2. The negative ecological and economic impact of non-native forest insects and diseases on existing urban trees as well as on surrounding natural forests is reduced through HTHC early pest detection education and outreach.

  3. Municipal, state, and federal urban forest managers and affiliates understand the overall composition and health of municipal urban forests through HTHC’s engagement with the USFS in designing and promoting a national tree health monitoring protocol.


Outcome Area 2: Protection of Municipal Green Infrastructure Investments

  1. Municipal urban forest managers and affiliates understand the value of ecosystem services provided by urban trees through HTHC support of local tree inventories which enables these individuals to advocate for urban forests.

  2. Investments in municipal urban forest-related green infrastructure, especially through large-scale tree-planting programs, are maximized as a result of HTHC supported community (volunteers and youth) natural resource management of these trees and forests. 


Outcome Area 3: An Empowered Community Caring for Their Trees and Forests

  1. The capacity of community volunteers to plant, adopt, and steward community trees increases as a result of HTHC education, outreach, and volunteer opportunities.

  2. Community volunteers are inspired and trained to become citizen scientists through HTHC engagement in research projects.

  3. Urban youth (middle-school through college-aged) are given meaningful opportunities to develop leadership and professional skills along a conservation career ladder while affecting positive conservation outcomes through two of the Conservancy’s YEI programs: Leaders for Environmental Action for the Future (LEAF) and Nature Works Everywhere (NWE).