Below are tools and resources to help you take root in your community — whether by planting a tree, volunteering for an organization (or running your own!), or simply digging deeper into the data behind how trees make our communities better.
Much of this comes from our Network members, as well as other sites we love. We try to narrow to the best of the best, to save you the time of searching. Are you a community group and see something missing or have an idea of something relevant to add? Please contact us!
Tip for browsing: Many of the links below will direct you to another website. If you want to save your spot on our page while opening a link, try right-clicking the link and selecting “open link in new window.” Use these buttons to jump to the content you’re looking for:
Our Latest Resources:
2023 Network Retreat Presentation Recordings
We had a tree-mendous time at our 2023 ReLeaf Network Retreat in Sacramento! Below are all our presentation recordings from the Network Retreat. We hope you will find these...
City Trees Magazine is Now Accessible to Everyone!
City Trees is the magazine of the Society of Municipal Arborists (SMA) and is now freely available to everyone. Here’s how you can access City Trees, an international,...
Educational Webinar Recording: Improving Your Planting Program Through Tree Health Monitoring
This California ReLeaf educational webinar was recorded on January 26, 2023. This webinar was designed to assist tree organizations in understanding how tree health...
All Things Trees
Selection & Planning
- Tree Planting Event Toolkit – getting ready to host a tree planting event takes some planning – the toolkit will help you get ready for your event.
- Trees for the 21st Century is a guide produced by California ReLeaf that discusses eight steps to a thriving tree canopy, including the importance of tree selection.
- Tree Planting Event / Project Consideration Questions – Tree San Diego put together a helpful list of questions and considerations to ask yourself during the planning stages of your project or tree planting event, from Project Location, Species Selection, Watering, Maintenace, Monitoring & Mapping, and more.
- SelecTree – This program designed by the Urban Forestry Ecosystems Institute at Cal Poly is a tree selection database for California.
- Green Schoolyard’s America developed California Tree Palette for Schoolyard Forests to help school districts and school communities select trees appropriate for a schoolyard setting as well as climate change considerations. The Tree Palate includes helping you find your sunset zone (climate zone) and recommended palette by sunset zone.
- Tree Quality Cue Card – When you’re at the nursery, this cue card helps you choose the best quality tree stock to plant. Available in English or Spanish.
- The Sunset Western Garden Book can tell you more about your area’s hardiness zone and appropriate plants for your climate.
- WUCOLS provides an assessment of irrigation water needs for over 3,500 species.
- How to Plant a Tree video (Sacramento Tree Foundation)
- Canopy’s Proven Tree-Planting Techniques
- Printable Tree-Planting Guide (TreePeople)
- Tree Planting Cue Card – This card from the Urban Tree Foundation helps you remember the important steps you can take to help your tree get the best start possible. The card is available in English or Spanish.
- Trees and Drought (ReLeaf)
- Waterwise Tree Care Guidance and Brochure (Inland Urban Forest Council)
- Save Our Water and Our Trees – Tips for Water Wise Tree Care Brochure (Canopy)
- We Need Trees and Trees Need Water – Water Wise Tree Care Tips Flyer (Sacramento Tree Foundation)
- Are Your Trees Stressed? (Arbor Day Foundation)
Winter Storm Guidance
- Pre and Post Winter Storm Tree Care Tips Video (CAL FIRE)
- Winter Storm Ready Tree Care Guidance (CAL FIRE)
- When A Storm Strikes Guidance (Arbor Day Foundation Bulletin)
- Recognizing Tree Hazards: A Photographic Guide for Homeowners (University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources)
- Western Tree Failure Database (University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources)
- The Community Forest Storm Mitigation Planning Workbook (Green Infrastructure Center)
Pest and Disease Guidance
- Pest and Disease information (Canopy)
- Common Tree Problems and Possible Solutions (Friends of the Urban Forest)
- Sudden Oak Death (UCANR)
- UC Integrated Pest Management: This statewide integrated pest management program has several great pages to help identify pests and diseases.
- The California Oak Mortality Task Force
- Pest and Disease – Recommended Books
- Abiotic Disorders of Landscape Plants: A Diagnostic Guide – Author Laurence Raleigh Costello
- Natural Enemies Handbook: The Illustrated Guide to Biological Pest Control – Author Mary Louise Flint, Steve H. Dreistadt
- Pest of the Garden and Small Farm: A Grower’s Guide to Using Less Pesticide – Author Marie Louise Flint
- Pests of Landscape Trees and Shrubs – Author Steve H. Dreistadt
Care & Health
- Pruning Cue Card. It is recommended to prune your tree in the first few years after it’s been planted to gradually create good structure and form. The card is available in English or Spanish.
- Pruning Guidance and Videos (Sacramento Tree Foundation)
- Guide to Tree Pruning (Inland Urban Forest Council)
- Educational Webinar: Tree Care Through Establishment (ReLeaf grantee Webinar with guest speaker Doug Wildman)
- Educational Webinar: Tree Health Monitoring (ReLeaf Webinar with guest speaker Doug Wildman)
- Tree Health Monitoring Spreadsheet and Tracking Sheet Templates. Feel free to use our Excel Data Collection Spreadsheet Template, which can be customized and used to populate the Tree Health Monitoring Tracking Sheet Template using Microsoft Word’s “Mail Merge” function.
- Tree Owner’s Manual (USDA Forest Service)
- Hire an Arborist (Canopy): helps residents select qualified professionals to care for their trees.
- Tree work can be complex, and sometimes dangerous. Certified arborists will know the smartest and safest approach to caring for your tree. To find an arborist, browse listings from the International Society of Arboriculture.
- Western Chapter ISA
- California Master Gardeners Program
- Fruit and Nut Tree Pruning Guidelines for Arborists (University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources)
UCF Municipal Planning Resources
- Guidelines for Developing and Evaluating Tree Ordinances (International Society of Arboriculture): a comprehensive resource for anyone interested in developing, revising, or evaluating local tree ordinances.
- Urban Forest Management Plan Toolkit: a free resource designed to help you develop an urban forest management plan for your city, campus, business park, or any other urban forest setting.
- Tree Planning and Planting Campaigns: A Guide for Reforesting Cities and Towns (Green Infrastructure Center) – This guide was written to assist planners, urban foresters, arborists, community tree advocates, and elected officials in making a case for urban canopies and funding for urban forest expansion and strategic tree planting campaigns.
- Urban Forestry Management System Asset Management Plan Example (City of Chula Vista)
- Development Practice and Ordinances as Predictor of Tree Canopy (Vibrant Cities Lab)
Great Sites to Know
- California ReLeaf Youtube Channel (Webinar recordings)
- CAL FIRE Department of Urban and Community Forestry
- USDA Forest Service Urban and Community Forest Program
- California Urban Forests Council
- Vibrant Cities Lab – Research, case studies, and an Urban Forestry Toolkit
- AmericanHort represents the entire horticulture industry. The site includes industry statistics, current research, resources, events, educational webinars, and advocacy information.
- Benefits of Trees (California ReLeaf) – learn about the many benefit of trees with research and study citations.
- U.S. Forest Service Pacific Southwest Research Station
- New Urban Greening Research with Bill Sullivan (2020 Retreat Presentation)
- Treesearch (USFS): A database that allows users to search the Forest Service’s library of research publications by keyword, author, or title.
- Vibrant Cities – Urban Tree Benefits Research Page
- Children & Nature Network supports those who work to reconnect children with nature, including tracking recent research on the influence of nature on children.
- Human Dimensions of Urban Forestry and Urban Greening
- Green Cities: Good Health (University of Washington Research)
- Environmental Scan of Urban Forest Opportunities in California
- Standardizing the Return on Investment for Urban and Community Forestry Resources (University of Maryland)
- Northern California Coast Community Tree Guide (USFS)
- Eureka Report (California ReLeaf report)
- More research can be found in our updates here!
Calculator & Other Tree Data Tools
- i-Tree – A software suite from the USDA Forest Service that provides urban forestry analysis and benefits assessment tools.
- National Tree Benefit Calculator – Make a simple estimation of the benefits that an individual street tree provides.
- Tree Carbon Calculator – The only tool approved by the Climate Action Reserve’s Urban Forest Project Protocol for quantifying carbon dioxide sequestration from tree planting projects.
- ecoSmart Landscapes: Can help residential property owners estimate these tangible benefits.
- Read more about the above tools here.
- Community Assessment & Goal Setting Tool – Vibrant Cities Lab
- Healthy Trees, Healthy Cities Mobile App – The Nature Conservancy’s Healthy Trees, Healthy Cities (HTHC) Tree Health initiative seeks to protect the health of our nation’s trees, forests, and communities by creating a culture of stewardship that engages people in long-term stewardship and monitoring of the trees in their respective communities. Learn more about the app, which assists with urban tree monitoring and care.
- SelecTree – Cal Poly’s Urban Forest Ecosystem Institue’s Tree Selection Guide
- Urban Tree Inventory – Cal Poly’s Urban Forest Ecosystem Institute’s compiled data tool which shows street tree inventory from California’s largest tree companies.
- Urban Tree Detector – Cal Poly’s Urban Forest Ecosystem Institute’s map of trees in urban reserve of California. The map is based on NAIP imager from 2020.
- Database & Tree Tracking (presentation recording) – Three Network members share about how their organizations map and track trees at the 2019 Network Retreat.
- Urban Ecos is a consulting company who can assist grant applicants to plan GHG reduction projects and quantify the benefits of trees.
Fundraising Tips & Tricks
- Blue Avocado Fundraising Articles
- Storytelling for Impact (California ReLeaf Webinar)
- Working with Foundations (California ReLeaf Webinar)
- The Dos and Don’ts of Acquiring Major Donors (Network for Good Webinar)
- 7 Donor Communication Mistakes to Avoid (Slides)
Boards of Directors
- Serve on a Board (Board Source)
- Tips for being an exceptional board member (Board Source)
- Bylaws Checklist (Blue Avocado)
- Legal/Compliance Tips (Blue Avocado)
- Nonprofit Board Resource Center (Bridgespan Group)
- Fiscal Sponsorship: 6 Ways to Do It Right (Book)
- Canva for Nonprofits: Discover the easy way to create high-impact social media graphics and marketing materials. Nonprofit can get Canva’s premium features for free.
- Graphic Design Tips and Tricks (ReLeaf Webinar)
- Community-Based Social Marketing & Overcoming Barriers in Tree Care (2018 ReLeaf Webinar)
- Marketing and Communications Tips (Blue Avocado)
- Draw.io: Free infographic/diagram software
- Social Media Posting Guide (TopNonprofits)
- Sample Press Release (Canopy)
Great Sites to Know
- How To Start A Nonprofit Guide: A step-by-step guide (plus additional resources) from CalNonprofits. Also available in Spanish!
- The Impact Foundry: an organization dedicated to enhancing and improving the management of nonprofit organizations in California.
- CalNonprofits: California’s association of nonprofit organizations.
- Blue Avocado: a nonprofit online magazine for community nonprofits offering practical and provocative information. Great for templates and best practices.
- Nonprofit AF: a weekly blog with a fresh, insightful, funny voice offering resources, insight, and empathy for nonprofits
- Accounting Considerations for Nonprofits: a helpful review of nonprofit financial issues from The University of Scranton.
- CompassPoint Nonprofit Services Blog: resources about leadership, self care, DEI, fundraising, and more.
- Volunteer Recruitment Tips
- Volunteer Management: How to Get it Right (Blue Avocado)
- 10 Organizational Standards for Quality Volunteer Management
- Top 6 Volunteer Resources for Nonprofits
- Volunteer Management Library (Energ!ze)
- Recruiting Volunteers (Energ!ze)
- Retaining Volunteers (Energ!ze)
- Sample Volunteer Waiver and Photo Release (.docx download)
- The California ReLeaf Network is a group of nonprofits and community groups who are championing urban forestry in their communities. Join us to Network with and learn from other groups!
- Alliance for Community Trees creates a national support network for grassroots, citizen-based nonprofit organizations dedicated to urban and community tree planting, care, conservation, and education.
- Sample Tree Care Program Agreement
- Sample Memorandum of Agreement 2
- Sample Memorandum of Agreement 3
- Sample Memorandum of Agreement 4
- Sample Grant Tracking Template
Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion
Leading with diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) as our guide is critical in nonprofit programming. The resources below can deepen your understanding of DEI, racial and environmental justice, and how to incorporate it into your urban forestry work.
Websites to Know
- Race Forward: Race Forward brings systemic analysis and an innovative approach to complex race issues to help people take effective action toward racial equity.
- Avarna Group: A DEIJ consultant group that has shared some of its favorite readings, activities, tips and tools.
- Diversity and Inclusion (Harvard Business Review): Great archive of articles about DEI in the workplace.
- Why Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Matter for Nonprofits (National Council of Nonprofits): Great overview of the importance of DEI, and links to resources on a number of related topics.
- Anti-racism and Equity Resources (Nonprofit Learning Lab)
- Diversity archives (Blue Avocado): Articles about diversity and nonprofits.
- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in the Nonprofit Sector – Essential Resources for Nonprofit Professionals (Bloomerang)
Research shows that the threat of green gentrification is real in many cities, and it can lead to the displacement of longtime residents that many greening equity efforts are designed to serve.
- Green Gentrification Panel – recording and resources (2018 conference presentation)
- Greening without Gentrification: Learning from Parks-Related Anti-Displacement Strategies Nationwide (UCLA Research Project)
- UC Berkeley Urban Displacement Project: Research that aims to understand and describe the nature of gentrification, displacement, and exclusion.
- Can the L.A. River Avoid ‘Green Gentrification’? (CityLab Article)
- How to Build a New Park So Its Neighbors Benefit (CityLab Article)
Presentations & Webinars
- Environmental Justice & Urban Forestry with Jackie Cole (2021 Network Retreat)
- Amplifying Voices: Inclusion in Nonprofits with Nailah Pope Harden (2019 Network Retreat)
- Community-Based Social Marketing & Overcoming Barriers in Tree Care (2018 ReLeaf Webinar)
- Growing the Canopy: Racial Justice with Leo Buc (2016 Network Retreat)
- The Power of Diversity: Green 2.0 with José González & Green 2.0 (2016 Retreat presentation)
- Solidarity in Racial Justice: Understanding Systemic Racism to Build Meaningful Partnerships with Leo Buc & Michael Flynn from Common Vision (2015 presentation)
- Diversifying the Conservation Movement: Approaches for Equity & Inclusion through Story & Culture (2015 Presentation)
- Equity vs. Equality and Other Racial Justice Definitions (Anne E. Casey Foundation)
- Race: The Power of Illusion (PBS): Timeline of historical events
- 8 Ways People of Color are Tokenized in Nonprofits (Medium)
- The Need for Black Rage in Philanthropy (Medium)
- 5 Questions an Anti-Racist Organization Should Be Able to Answer (Everyday Feminist)
- The White-Savior Industrial Complex (The Atlantic)
- White Supremacy Culture (PDF): This is a great overview of specific ways that White Supremacy culture shows up, especially at work.
- 4 Myths About White Supremacy That Allow It To Continue (Forbes): Nice quick article addressing common myths.
- Power to the People: Black Panthers at 50 (Chinaka Hodge spoken poem). It’s one thing to learn about diversity, equity, and inclusion intellectually and another to connect emotionally. Art helps us connect emotionally.
- The Urgency of Intersectionality with Kimberlé Crenshaw (18-minute TEDx video)
- Allegories on Race and Racism (20-min TEDx video)
- What is Systemic Racism? (Short video series by Race Forward)
- Racism Is Real • Systematic Racism Explained (3-Minute Brave New Films video)
- Codeswitch: Can We Talk About Whiteness? (37-min podcast)
- The Small Nonprofit Podcast: Dismantling White Supremacy in the Nonprofit Sector (46-minute podcast)
- Ethical Rainmaker Podcast: Tokenism is NOT Transformation: Former City Councilman turned DEI consultant, Chuck Warpehoski, talks about the common and -tired- ways in which institutions perform or attempt to work with the community and common pitfalls. Chuck also shares personal stories of mistakes he’s made while working to serve the community as a white man.