What will Canopy’s tree planting season look like this year?

By Canopy Team on October 1, 2020

Masked volunteers at Canopy planting event.

Canopy’s tree planting season is usually October through April or May.

Around this time, we are usually gearing up for volunteer planting events across the Midpeninsula. We spoke with Elise Willis, Canopy’s Tree Programs Director, for an update on what volunteers can expect from Canopy this fall.


Q: Will Canopy still plant trees with volunteers this year?

Elise: Yes! We will still be planting trees together, but it will look different. We will have more frequent and smaller plantings, rather than a handful of larger events. A few key points to remember are:

  • Events will be limited to smaller groups due to county directives.
  • Pre-registration required for all events (no walk-ups, sorry!)
  • Focus on local and ongoing partners who can commit to more than one event this year.
  • Work mostly with existing volunteer groups, planting leaders, and trained volunteers.

Q: How will volunteers stay safe during group events?

Elise: Fortunately, tree planting and care are outdoor activities, which means it’s easier to gather safely and maintain social distance. We have developed a comprehensive safety protocol that we follow strictly.

We reiterate Covid-19 policies that are common today, such as staying home if you do not feel well or if you have been in contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19 and and you have not been tested. Other key points include:

  •  Proper face MASKS will be required at all events
  •  Temperature checks are required for attendees at arrival
  •  Contactless sign-in will be administered by Canopy staff upon arrival
  •  We ask volunteers to bring their own work gloves, water bottles, snacks, sunscreen, etc.
  •  Limited tool-sharing and regular tool-cleaning will be done.
  •  Grouping planting groups by household when required.


Q: What about all the air quality issues?

Elise: This is an important part of staff and volunteer safety, too. If air quality issues persist this fall, we’ll likely do fewer plantings. We’ve already cancelled some work days due to high AQI. The Purple Air sensors placed throughout cities, help staff assess air quality. We have a policy in place to cancel public outdoor events if the AQI is 151 or higher, but may cancel if AQI is between 101-150 depending on the activity and staff discretion.


Q: Will there be volunteer opportunities besides planting?

Elise:  For sure. Tree care, such as weeding, mulching, pruning, and watering at larger planting sites, provides an opportunity for us to be able to welcome more general volunteers in the coming months.

The Young Tree Care Survey is wrapping up, but there is still opportunity to survey oaks for The Great Oak Count. Volunteer Christine Baker is heading up this effort, so email [email protected] if you are interested in surveying oaks in Palo Alto.


Q: What are Canopy’s biggest volunteer needs right now?

Elise: We need trained tree planters who are willing to come out a few times during the season to help plant trees in neighborhoods across the Midpeninsula.

If you are someone who has availability on Saturdays and/or weekdays, would be able to plant a tree at a residence in South Palo Alto, East Palo Alto, North Fair Oaks, or Belle Haven, and can commit to training and then planting at several houses over the course of the season, please reach out!


Q: What should I do if I want to volunteer?

Elise:  Please sign up for the Volunteer Wire on our website. You can be aware of all the upcoming volunteer opportunities via this. If you’re not a trained volunteer, but are interested in planting trees throughout the year, we can set up some training. Or if you have specific interests in how you want to help us, email Indira, Canopy’s Community Outreach Manager at [email protected].

We want to hear from you and we welcome all feedback! Get in touch with us at [email protected] or our Contact Page.

Read our Covid-19 Policies and Protocols, and learn how Canopy is adapting our programs to keep our volunteers, staff, and community safe.


Sign up for local tree news, events, volunteer opportunities, and more.

Sign Up

Recent Posts