Newly planted trees need special attention in order to survive. Trees planted in the city are especially vulnerable from people opening their car doors into the bark to emptying their soda into their soil, to pets using their beds as litter boxes. Concrete and asphalt prevent water from reaching their roots and air pollution damages their leaves.  But change is in the air!

The Buffalo Green Fund has entered into an agreement with Cornell Cooperative Extension to train area residents how to care for trees. The Communi-Tree Steward Program is a five-week classroom and in-field training session taught by experts in the field of arborculture.

“This course is the first of its kind to be launched in Western New York and is the logical next step to nurture the trees that have been planted since the devastating October 12, 2006 surprise snowstorm,” stated Eva McKendry, of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Erie County. “The Buffalo Green Fund, City of Buffalo Department of Public Works, and Cornell Cooperative Extension is collaborating to create a well-trained volunteer army of tree caretakers.”

Please note –  due to COVID-19 there are no dates planned for 2021 at this time.  Stay tuned for more information.   Most sessions take place at the Parkside Lodge within Delaware Park, with organized volunteer opportunities held in April through May.  CommuniTree stewards are expected to commit at least five hours to tree maintenance projects. More information may be found at the Communi-Tree Steward Program page at Cornell Cooperative Extension.

“We plan to create dozens of tree stewards that can expertly take care of the thousands of trees that our volunteers have planted since the spring of 2007 through this program,” said Buffalo Green Fund Past President Cindy Kincaide.

Instructors include Dr. Tom Erlandson, noted Chautauqua area Arborist; Jim Kisker of Schichtels Nursery; Ross Hassinger, City of Buffalo Forester; Brian Sayers of The Tree Doctor Consulting; and Tom Draves, Partner in Draves Tree Service of Darien Center and others. With proper training and Communi-Tree Stewards to protect, nurture, water and beautify as well as assist with species selection (the right tree for the right space), many more trees will grow and thrive.

Special thanks to the City of Buffalo and Mayor Byron Brown as well as the Department of Public Works, Parks and Streets, Division of Parks and Recreation for granting The Green Fund permission to incorporate the Street Tree Planting Standards guide into the Communi-Tree Steward Program. That list may be found here 

To receive more information on the next Communi-Tree Steward Program, contact Sharon Bachman, Community Educator at Cornell Cooperative Extension at 716-652-5400, extension 150 or via email at

If you have a specific question about a tree, follow the links to either Olmsted Parks Conservancy, or Cornell Cooperative Extension.

Look forward to seeing you at one of our tree events!