History Of Neighborhood Foresters
The idea for the group developed in 2018 from conversations about the need to improve community tree care despite limited resources available. After hosting occasional tree care training events for residents, TreeLC got a jump start in 2021 thanks to the University of Missouri’s Neighborhood Leadership Academy. Their $2500 mini grant enabled the launch of the Neighborhood Foresters pilot program in 2022.
Volunteers participated in hands-on learning and stewardship in Benton Park West. Over the course of the year, the accessibility of BPW’s public spaces greatly improved. In 2023, organized tree watering began in conjunction with the launch of the metrotreelc.org website to support volunteer ‘adoption’ of newly planted trees.
Neighborhood Foresters continues to operate monthly stewardship events in Benton Park West. In 2023 additional tree care events were hosted in the following neighborhoods: Fairground, Vandeventer, Holly Hills, and Forest Park Southeast (FPSE). The FPSE neighborhood association organized a series of winter pruning events continuing into 2024.
In 2023, it was also decided that the name of the group should be changed from STL TreeLC (a play on Tree TLC) to the name already used for our main program, Neighborhood Foresters. The need for this change became apparent after STL TreeLC was repeatedly confused for “STL Tree” and “STL Tree LLC”, and even generously misconstrued as “STL Tree Leadership Council”.
We retain our goal of more equitable urban tree cover through volunteer tree care and continue seeking community partners to bring Neighborhood Foresters to new parts of St. Louis.