The Front Royal/Warren County Tree Stewards is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. The organization has been in existence since 1997 and began with just 13 members. The work and hours volunteered by the Tree Stewards each year help Front Royal fulfill requirements to be a qualified member of Tree City USA over 24 years. Education programs are offered to residents of Warren and nearby counties.
The mission of the Front Royal/Warren County Tree Steward program is to increase public awareness of the intrinsic value and beauty of trees, to learn and understand the needs of the community forest, to help the Town of Front Royal and the County of Warren in caring for the community’s publicly planted trees (especially young trees), to educate other residents of the community about urban forestry, and to involve additional community members in creating and caring for community tree plantings.
Meetings are held on the 3rd Monday of each month at 6 pm at Samuels Public Library.
Executive Committee 2023
- Melody Hotek, President
- Henry Pickard, Vice President
- Vicki Althaus, Treasurer
- Emily Huttar, Secretary
Board of Directors at Large
- Joan Brubaker
- John Cermak
- Cheryl Crabbe
- Joan Grewe
- David Means
- Ron Perlik
2022 Annual Report
In 2022 the Tree Stewards began their 25th year with new energy spurred by the actions of the Environmental Sustainability Advisory Committee (ESAC) and the Town’s new Arborist, Jim Osborn. We supported their projects and worked over 800 hours resuming regular worksessions at the Happy Creek Arboretum, County Parks and at Samuels Library, offering classes and participating in outreach events.
Early in the year we began with educational classes on Tool Care, Conifer ID and Pruning all led by Certified Arborists. Worksessions and Community plantings led to some one-on-one training on pruning, mulching and planting techniques later in the year. Plans are underway to begin the “All About Trees” certificate course in September 2023 which will be open to anyone interested in learning basic practices from A to Z at a nominal cost. Whether you are on a mountain or at the base of one we all basically live in the woods, and knowledge of tree care is almost a prerequisite. We can help.
Trees, Trees and more Trees
March and April are always a busy time at the Happy Creek Arboretum sprucing it up with new mulch, pruning trees and readying the Pollinator Garden in preparation for the Annual Arbor Day/Earth Day celebrations. On Arbor Day, three River Birch trees were planted on the North side of the entrance to Main Street off Commerce. Later in the year it was time to follow up and trim back the many Irises that surround the trees. Pruning and tree maintenance continued throughout the year at Samuels Library, Burrell Brooks and Eastham Parks. In August we supported a team effort to plant 18 Crepe Myrtles along the Royal Shenandoah Greenway in Royal Plaza near South Street. In November we supported an ESAC community project to restore and plant 450 shrubs and small trees along the riparian buffer of Happy Creek that was devastated. Together with 30 volunteers from various groups we planted, pruned and cleaned up litter in a 220 foot area from South Street to Front St. There is still more to do in coming years. In December, we teamed again with the Democratic Committee and ESAC and the team was awarded a $5000 grant from the Department of Forestry for a major planting of a variety of 26 trees in the open areas of Bing Crosby, Lions Park and Gertrude Miller Park. Hopefully this can become an annual grant. And finally, in December the Tree Stewards celebrated their 25th Anniversary with the planting of two Oak trees along the Royal Shenandoah Greenway where it meets the entrance road to Skyline High School.
In April we had a booth at the Arbor Day/Earth Day celebration held downtown at the Gazebo along with 40 participants focused on Environment issues. We also supported Samuels Library at the Annual Fundraiser – A Taste for Books with a table of goodies in the theme of the event. This unique outreach event affords us the opportunity to meet new people and introduce our organization in a really fun venue. The Volunteer Fair was held in May and we participated to inform future volunteers of our needs and opportunities. In June we always participate with the Northern Shenandoah Valley Master Gardeners at their GardenFest. People come from far and wide to this anticipated event to purchase plant material and pick our brains. The final outreach of the year is always a favorite. The Fall Festival of Leaves began anew after a short break and boy were we glad for the chance to talk with all the residents of Front Royal and Warren County. The kids favorite is our Trees ‘R Cool Wheel – a chance for them to spin the wheel, answer a tree question and walk away with a really cool prize.
The Tree Stewards byline is Volunteers for the Community Forest and for those of us who volunteer as Tree Stewards, we can’t think of a better way to spend a few hours than maintaining trees or talking about them. We all appreciate this beautiful place that we call home and want to share what we know with all of you!
When you see us around town, be sure to stop and say hi.
If you’d like to join in the fun, please reach out and be sure to visit our website www.treesfrontroyal.org to learn more.