ReLeaf Network Retreat 2017: Overview

Hi everyone!
Thank you very much for coming to the ReLeaf Network Retreat and doing the hokey-pokey with us – putting your whole selves in and listening intentionally to become visionaries and even better catalysts for change while supporting communities through trees, tree care jobs, and more funding for greener, healthier neighborhoods. Click here to view retreat agenda and below are some photos for your enjoyment! Also, see post below about the exercise we did during the retreat from Jen Scott and Adélàjà Simon on Supporting Ourselves As Community Activist.

Supporting Ourselves as Community Activists  

Based on eco-philosopher Joanna Macy’s books, “The Spiral of the Work that Reconnects” and “Coming back to Life,” Adélàjà Simon and Jen Scott facilitated a session of empowering dyad exercises to help Network members reconnect to their urban forest mission and their own personal sense of empowerment. We broke into groups of two (“dyads”) to talk about the challenges we have been encountering in our line of work. Per Joanna Macy’s model, Adélàjà and Jen provided Open Sentences about urban forest community work and climate change for attendees to complete with a partner. Adélàjà and Jen calmly emphasized letting each partner talk without interruption for the 6 minute timed interval. Six minutes at first seemed very long, however, this quietly receptive method also allowed for space to reflect and share additional thoughts without fear of interruption.  

Joanna’s model start with gratitude, Adélàjà and Jen asked: 

  • –some things I love about being alive on Earth are… 
  • –some things I love about the work I do in urban forestry are… 

Then the spiral moves from gratitude to ‘honoring our pain’– 

  • –living in this time of changing climate, some things that break my heart specifically in urban forestry and in this world… 
  • –some feelings that come up for me around all this are… 

The next stage moves us towards what Macy calls ‘Seeing with New Eyes’ 

  • –Some ways I can open to, work with and use these feelings are… 

Lastly, Adélàjà  and Jen provided an open sentence for an action that calls to us… 

  • –An action I can take in the next week to integrate this practice… 

When we returned to Circle, Adelaja and Jen lead us into what Joanna Macy calls Group Harvest to share our thoughts about the exercise. We encourage everyone who was not at the retreat to take time with your organization and do this exercise. This can be a great team building or community engagement exercise and it promotes active listening, which is a skill we need to practice and sharpen as community activist. At the end, this exercise reminded everyone when we are in the field planting and caring for trees, we need to respectfully and carefully listen to community members’ concerns and needs in order for true community engagement – as well as for the trees to be cared for and watered.

Ray Tretheway, from Sacramento Tree Foundation, the reluctant visionary schools ReLeaf Network on being a visionary when it comes to communities and urban forestry.


Kemba, from Urban ReLeaf, shows us all how passionate she is about TREES and youth engagement!











Adélàjà Simon, from Growing Together, leads us on a song to start our “Supporting Ourselves as Community Activists” discussion.










Ken Knight, from Your Children’s Trees.






Adélàjà Simon, from Growing Together.

Cindy asking Ray, what does it mean to be a visionary and how did Ray know he was a visionary?




Andy Trotter, from West Coast Arborists, talks about potential tree care jobs for community members the network works with.



Chuck and Kevin Jefferson, from Urban ReLeaf, talk about how to engage in local government and grants.


Network members enjoying the sun and view of the trees.

Andrew Misch, from Davey Tree Experts.


Kemba and Chad talking about teaching children how to climb a tree safely.

This is our view during our Network Retreat. GREAT LOCATION!

Network members engaging with speaker during open discussion.


Thank you so much again to all of our Sponsors!