2023 Network Retreat

2023 Network Retreat May 10 -11th in SacramentoRetreat Information

The Network Retreat is the annual get-together for California’s urban forest nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to improving the health and livability of California cities by planting and caring for trees.

Network Reception: Wednesday, May 10th –  5 p.m. – 7 p.m.| Tapa the World | 2115 J Street, Sacramento, CA 95816

Network Retreat: Thursday, May 11th – 9 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. | California Endowment Sacramento Conference Center, 1414 K Street, Sacramento, CA 95814.

Registration: $75 – Registration Now Closed 

Network Membership Requirement: Only current ReLeaf Network Members, who renewed in 2023, will be able to register and attend the Network Retreat. Join or renew your organization’s ReLeaf Network Membership using our online form.

Retreat Travel Stipends: Thanks to the generous support from our partners – the US Forest Service and CAL FIRE – as well as our sponsors, we are offering travel reimbursement stipends to help defray expenses associated with travel to the ReLeaf Network Retreat. Travel Stipend Application Period is now closed.

Lodging: California ReLeaf does not have an official hotel for the Retreat. There are many choices for hotels/and accommodations in Sacramento, including hostels, nearby hotels like Inn Off Capitol Park, Holiday Inn, and AirBnBs in Midtown and Downtown Sacramento.

Agenda Packet – Download our full agenda packet, which includes information about the Retreat and Reception Locations, our speaker bios, Retreat Schedule, and more! You can also download our 1-pager (2-sided) Retreat Schedule Only.



Speakers and Presentation Recordings

Download Retreat Speakers and Bios List

Keynote Presentation – Justice in the Trees

Speaker: Wanda Stewart, Executive Director, Common Vision

Download the Slide Deck

Presentation Description: While we all recognize the need to plant trees and grow environmental awareness in urban environments, we must grow our individual awarenesses and abilities to embrace the diversity of experiences and engage across culture. Through a sharing of Wanda’s real world stories from “the ‘hood” and beyond, this is an opportunity for reflection on how we can all work – individually and together – to cultivate a world that thrives for all.


A Resilient Community: Growing Equitable Tree Canopy and Youth Leadership in Watsonville

Speaker: Jonathan Pilch, Executive Director, & Yesenia Jimenez, Education and Restoration Specialist, Watsonville Wetlands Watch

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Presentation Description: When Watsonville Wetlands Watch began the Watsonville Community Forest Project in 2017, our goal was to increase urban tree canopy in the City of Watsonville from 7% to 30%.  Since this time, we have refined our canopy goals and methods, learned many lessons along the way, and developed an effective youth leadership and training program called the Climate Corps Leadership Institute.  This presentation will share lessons learned in developing a community-based urban forest program in Watsonville, youth leadership development, and how we are connecting this work to broader goals for equity and environmental and watershed restoration and conservation.



Trees PLEASE – School & Park Tree Planting Program

Speaker: Miranda Kokoszka, Natural Resources Program Manager, Butte Environmental Council

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Presentation Description: Butte Environmental Council developed the Trees PLEASE (Planting Literacy in Environmental Action & Stewardship Education) program to plant trees and engage students with hands-on learning at school campuses and parks in Butte County.The presentation will provide an overview of the program, lessons learned, as well as challenges, victories, and feedback that we have received from teachers and the community who have participated.



New Tools From the Urban Forest Ecosystem Institute

Speakers: Dr. Matt Ritter, Dr. Jenn Yost, Dr. Natalie Love, Graduate Student Camille Pawlak of The Urban Forest Ecosystem Institute at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

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Presentation Description: The Urban Forest Ecosystem Institute at Cal Poly has developed several tools for cataloging and understanding California’s urban forest, including the California Urban Forest Inventory, a collection of 7 million tree data points taken by arborists, the Tree Detector, which has predicted locations for every urban tree in California, and a set of range maps for California’s native trees. In this talk, we describe each of these data sources, how they can be used to describe and manage California’s urban forests, patterns in urban trees across the state, and how the data can be accessed. 



Urban Wood: Waste to Wonder

Speaker: Jennifer Szeliga, Director of Operations, Sacramento Tree Foundation

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Presentation Description: This presentation will explore the fate of urban trees after they are removed. Typically, the majority are sent to landfills, with only a small percentage repurposed for mulch, firewood or biofuel; however, there are alternatives. By salvaging the logs from removed trees, we can transform them into useful lumber, giving them a new lease on life and continuing to provide benefits to our communities. The presentation will discuss opportunities for salvaging urban trees and creating sustainable lumber and beautiful products.



Learning As We Grow

Speakers: Adrienne Thomas, President, and Vanessa Dean, Vice President, SistersWe Community Gardening Projects

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Presentation Description: SistersWe, based in the County of San Bernardino, was established in 2018 as the brainchild of three biological sisters who wanted to bring their community together by establishing environmentally friendly, green living spaces and community gardens and donating and planting more urban trees in their area. This presentation will discuss how SistersWe came together to build and develop their 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Learning as we grow SistersWe and trees!



CAL FIRE UCF Program Update

Speaker: Walter Passmore, State Urban Forester, CAL FIRE

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California ReLeaf Advocacy and Funding Update

Speaker: Victoria Vasquez, Grants & Public Policy Manager, California ReLeaf

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2023 Network Retreat Photos

View our 2023 Photo Album

Thank you to our Sponsors!

Cal Fire