Interview with Dana Karcher

Current Position? Market Manager – Western Region, Davey Resource Group

What is/was your relationship to ReLeaf?

I worked at Executive Director of the Tree foundation of Kern from 2002 to 2006 and we were a member organization.

In my current job at Davey Resource Group, I value what California ReLeaf does to advocate for trees at a state level. I find myself introducing our clients to the world of urban forest nonprofits; bridging the gap among stakeholders, and opening up communication.

What did/does California ReLeaf mean to you?

When I went started working for the Tree Foundation of Kern, I thought it was going to be like managing any other nonprofit. I had planted trees with them as a volunteer and understood the importance of trees, but I didn’t understand how different it would be working in the world of trees. When I started with the Tree Foundation, California ReLeaf really reached out to me and made a connection. They answered all my questions and connected me with others. I seemed like every time I called, someone always answered the phone and was ready to help me.

Now – I really developed strong relationships through my time as a Network member of ReLeaf. As a consultant that works with cities, I appreciate the relationship that ReLeaf has with the Network groups and in helping others understand the importance of nonprofits in urban and community forestry. Nonprofits are really are what makes up community portion of Urban Forestry.

Best memory or event of California ReLeaf?

In 2003 I went to the first joint conference of ReLeaf and CaUFC which was in Visalia. I was new to urban forestry and there were lots of new people to meet, great speakers and fun things to do. I noticed on the agenda for the ReLeaf retreat that there was going to be a story telling session. As I was talking about this with one of my friends, I recall that I couldn’t believe that I was going to spend my time learning how to tell a story. I had so much to learn and storytelling wasn’t one of them. My friend told me I needed to change my attitude. So I went to the story telling session. It was amazing! And it is where my personal tree story became real. At the session we were instructed to reach back into our past and to remember our first relationships with trees. Immediately I was back at the ranch where I grew up; to the hills covered with valley oaks. I remembered one particular oak where I used to hang out with my friends. I called it the Getaway Tree. That story telling session helped me remember the emotions I felt about that tree, the positive energy, and even how it felt to climb it and sit under it. That storytelling session that I didn’t want to go to really transformed my role and my relationship to trees. After that I always went to whatever ReLeaf and CaUFC had to offer. I have always appreciated the thought and the care that went into that conference and how it affected me.

Why is it important that California ReLeaf continue its Mission?

I think that California ReLeaf serves a unique purpose. It is a place for Network members to get information from each other; to understand other, to support one another. And, there is strength in numbers. As a Statewide organization, there is a collective voice for community trees through California ReLeaf.