The award-winning Citizen Forester Program is a collaborative project with the ultimate goal of empowering community members to become forestry leaders in their communities.
The program’s foundational training series educates, trains, certifies, and supports community members as volunteer citizen scientists to map urban trees and add to your community’s tree inventory while raising awareness on the importance of caring for trees where we live.
Currently, Citizen Foresters work as ambassadors for Hawaiiʻs urban forests while collecting usable data on trees in the cityʻs “Right-of-Way”; trees in public urban areas- parks and commercial & residential streets.
The program was piloted in 2016 in Kailua on the island of Oahu where Citizen Foresters completed the city’s urban tree inventory in less than 2 years. The award-winning program is expanding its reach by acquiring new partnerships, and branching into schools, new communities and islands!
The Citizen Forester program is a collaborative project of federal, state, and city partners:
- State and Private Forestry branch of the U.S. Forest Service, Department of Agriculture, Region 5
- Kaulunani Urban & Community Forestry Program; DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife
- Smart Trees Pacific; urban forestry non-profit organization
- The Urban Forestry Division of the City and County of Honolulu
Urban Tree Inventory
An urban tree inventory was identified as one of the top strategies in the Urban Forestry Section of Hawaii’s Forest Action Plan. There is no formal inventory of trees currently being used in Hawai‘i, which can hinder efforts to manage, maintain, replace trees, and plan for disasters in the urban forest.
Management of any resource begins with an inventory of that resource. Urban Forest Management is no exception. Trees are infrastructure! An accurate inventory will tell us where trees are needed the most.
Urban Tree Ambassadors
Another key strategy in Hawaii’s Forest Action Plan (FAP) is improving the public perception of the value and benefits of urban trees. The Citizen Forester program looks to address these strategies by engaging communities in their urban forests through the use of citizen science to develop an urban tree inventory and through public outreach. An important component of the Citizen Forester program is communicating with the public! Our Citizen Foresters are the voices of our urban forests – and our program also trains our volunteers on how to conduct public outreach.
Although, often overlooked – street trees are important.
Our City & State Urban Forestry Programs regulate street tree plantings, removals, tree care and maintenance which requires an accurate record of our public trees.
The Citizen Forester Program is working to improve the Hawaii’s records to show:
where our trees are located
which ones need attention
and what benefits they provide
Our inventory directly aids in city planning, environmental impact and public health assessments while increasing community awareness of the benefits of trees. We also assess areas where trees are needed the most and work to increase green infrastructure.
With an accurate inventory we are able to save time and taxpayers dollars when managing our urban forest!
(Check out all the Benefits of Trees! )
- Flexible Time Commitments
- Receive Citizen Science Certification
- Meet other like-minded Tree Lovers
- Educate the Community about the Important Role of Trees in their Neighborhood
- Gain Experience working with NGO’s & State and City Forestry Agencies
- Gain Important Forestry Skills:
- Species Identification
- How to Assess Tree Health
- How to Assess Site Condition
- How to Navigate Forestry Data and Tree Inventory Database
- Make a Difference in your Community!
Missed our recent training sessions? That’s ok! You can enroll in the program at any time and you will be added to the top of the list for the next series. Sign up below.
The tree inventory data is freely available to the public for non-commercial uses upon request.
As part of our program, volunteers collect location data, specific tree measurements, and tree condition assessments for trees in the city’s right of way. Our inventory is stored on the Tree PlotterTM platform, which calculates the estimated eco-benefits for the recorded trees.