Become a Canopy-Certified Community Forester!

September 8 – November 3, 2021

In California, 80% of the population lives in urban areas, making trees a vital part of daily life in cities. Trees are key to environmental justice, improved quality of life, and public health — yet our urban trees are under compounding threats from development, budgetary pressures, and global climate change. Now more than ever, we must come together to preserve and renew our urban forests.

This 9-week course will equip you with the knowledge, skills, and training you need to take action in your community right away. As a Community Forestry School graduate, you will be equipped to identify trees, plant and prune effectively, explain the value of the urban forest to others, and advocate for trees in your community.

Course Details

  • Duration: 9 weeks
  • Dates: Wednesdays, September 8 through November 3, 2021 from 6:30-8:30 PM. Outdoor field experiences take place on Saturdays and occasional weekdays for hands-on practice.
  • Location: all Wednesday classes will be held online via Zoom. Locations for field experiences will be shared during the course, and will be held in Mountain View, East Palo Alto, or Palo Alto.
  • Cost: FREE

Recommended reading to prepare for the course: A Californian’s Guide to the Trees Among Us by Matt Ritter

Certification Requirements

  • Attend at least 8 out of 9 classes on Wednesdays
  • Participate in at least 4 of the outdoor field experiences offered during the course
  • Volunteer at least 15 hours with Canopy by the end of 2022
  • Maintain certification by volunteering at least 15 hours per year with Canopy or other community forestry groups

How to Enroll

Registration is now closed for the 2021 Community Forestry School cohort. Join our mailing list to be notified when registration opens for next fall’s program and to stay updated on other tree programs.

This program is made possible by a generous grant from the County of Santa Clara Office of Sustainability.

To support community forestry efforts and education like Community Forestry School, consider a gift to Canopy. Donate here.


Read testimonials from past Canopy Community Forestry School graduates:

“After attending this Community Forester program, I feel that I am in a position to truly affect the growth and the health of our urban forest. The logical progression from basic knowledge to a hands-on application to continued action seems to be a grand approach to helping our community grow in the right direction!”

“The class is informative and brings in guest lecturers with local talent and experience. I find the course informative, relevant, and interesting.”

“I love trees and want others to love them too. With this class, I now have strong science-based reasons to support my love for them. If I need help, I now have a network of like-minded souls to help me!”

2021 Course Schedule

Week 1: Intro to Community Forestry

Wednesday, September 8 | 6:30-8:30 PM

The collection of trees in a city is called an urban forest, but what exactly is an urban forest and what does it do for us? Learn about the benefits of trees, urban forestry, and the importance of community action to steward and speak for the trees.

Week 2: Tree Biology & Identification

Wednesday, September 15 | 6:30-8:30 PM

Understanding how trees grow and function is helpful for understanding how to plant and care for them. It is also important to be able to identify trees to gain a first-hand knowledge of the composition of an urban forest. This class will provide you with basic knowledge to prepare you for the rest of the course.

Week 3: Species Selection

Wednesday, September 22 | 6:30-8:30 PM

Selecting the right tree for the right place is essential for the long-term health of an urban forest, but what trees should we plant and where do we plant them? Learn how Canopy selects species and specimens, and why re-oaking is a valuable way to make our landscapes more resilient for the future.

Week 4: Site Assessments

Wednesday, September 29 | 6:30-8:30 PM

Learn how Canopy Arborists conduct site assessments at properties throughout the Midpeninsula. This class will dive deeper into tree selection and placement, local policies that impact where trees can be planted, and how you can make site assessments for yourself and your neighbors.

Week 5: Tree Planting Basics

Wednesday, October 6 | 6:30-8:30 PM

Proper tree planting methods are important for the establishment and survival of trees in an urban landscape. This class will prepare you to plant a tree at your own home, or at local schools, parks, and neighborhoods through Canopy’s planting events.

Week 6: Tree Care & Health Assessment

Wednesday, October 13 | 6:30-8:30 PM

Throughout their lives, trees experience changes to their rooting environment, abnormal precipitation levels, invading insects and pathogens, and much more. Learn the best practices for early tree care, how to assess the health of trees, and when to call an arborist.

Week 7: Young Tree Pruning

Wednesday, October 20 | 6:30-8:30 PM

Pruning trees during their first few years is critical to long-term health and vitality. In this class, you will learn the art, science, and skill of pruning young trees for good structure and longevity.

Week 8: Advocacy & Review

Wednesday, October 27 | 6:30-8:30 PM

Our urban forests face many threats from development, pests and diseases, global climate change, and lack of funding and public awareness. Learn about urban forestry, city government, and local urban forest advocacy issues from folks who have been doing this for years, and find out how to take action in your community.

Week 9: Graduation Celebration

Wednesday, November 3 | 6:30-8:30 PM

Come to this in-person congratulatory event to celebrate your graduation with Canopy staff and your fellow students!