Strengthening Urban Forestry Partnerships and Networks

Volunteers planting a tree at Canterbury Shaker Village

Success for the Natural Resources Steward and Big Tree Programs is all about partnerships. Partnering between communities, organizations and volunteers helps to build resilient networks that can provide long-term care and sustainability for all involved. Recently, UNH Cooperative Extension Urban and Community Forestry Specialist Mary Tebo Davis strengthened partnerships between NH Big Tree volunteers and the NH Arborist Association, as well as Natural Resources Steward volunteers and historic Canterbury Shaker Village, home of NH’s first arboretum.

For Arbor Day, Mary partnered with the NH Arborists Association, Bartlett Tree Experts, Canterbury Shaker Village, and NH Big Tree volunteers for a NH Big Tree Workshop open to the public and targeting families in conjunction with Arbor Day (which was during school vacation). Canterbury Shaker Village hosted the workshop and provided a large classroom space. In return, Mary worked with the Arborists Association and Bartlett Tree Experts, who purchased and planted three Serviceberry trees for Shaker Village. The trees were part of a design plan that volunteers had created in a 2015 Permaculture course.

As a result of the Arbor Day workshop at the Village, the Arborist Association committed to holding their annual fall workday at Canterbury in the future. This will provide free tree service for Shaker Village, which, in spite of being a National Historic Landmark, receives no federal funding. The partnership with the Arborists Association continues to grow, as they are working with the NH Big Tree Program and developing a program to help tree owners with limited funds maintain champion trees.

Another example of partnership is that Canterbury Shaker Village (CSV) will be the home of the NRS course again in 2020. While Shaker Village is rich with educational space, it needs volunteers. The Stewards program needs educational space, and has plenty of volunteers who can help Shaker Village. Examples of this working partnership began during the first week of the 2019 course, in which the NRS class of 2018 donated two apple trees that the new 2019 NRS class learned to properly plant at Shaker Village, under the direction of AJ Dupere and Cory Keeffe of the NH Division of Forests and Lands. During that same day, AJ and Cory were also provided guidance to Canterbury Shaker Village on the maintenance needs of the village trees, and coordinated with the NH Arborists Association about their fall workday.

Even as the 2019 course came to a close, Natural Resources Stewards signed up to continue helping with over 25 different volunteer projects and activities, including a tree inventory of the Village’s arboretum and developing a promotional video of the Village’s natural resources. It is through these rich partnerships that the programs continue to flourish, each partner gains valuable service and assistance, and New Hampshire’s natural resources are valued, cared for, and protected.


Urban and Community Natural Resources Field Specialist
Extension Field Specialist, Urban & Community Forestry
Phone: (603) 641-6060
Office: Cooperative Extension, Taylor Hall, Durham, NH 03824