Tree-Huggers Unite: Protecting Urban Tree Canopies

(Story and photos courtesy cleanwatermn.org.)

While the Twin Cities’ verdant tree canopy of summer, and golden version of fall are distant memories in these short winter days, now is the time to assess your urban canopy and attend to your trees’ pruning needs.

That filtered light that many take for granted does not come easy in an urban environment. To help others understand the importance of the tree canopy, Twin Cities resident and fervent tree advocate Barb Spears suggests: “Look out the window. That’s urban forestry. Now picture all the trees gone.”

It’s this apocalypse that Spears works against, supporting trees — she calls the “ultimate perennial” — through her volunteer roles with the St. Paul Tree Advisory Panel, the “tree team” of the Hamline Midway Environmental Group, as a member of the Board of Directors of the MN Shade Tree Advisory Committee, and leader in the Minnesota Women’s Woodland Network.

Friends Through Forestry

Spears counts friend and colleague Teri Heyer, as her inspiration. They met in their early career years working for the USDA Forest Service, and both had urban roots — Heyer was a New York City native and Spears had grown up in St. Paul. Both cite Dutch elm disease, which ravaged urban forests in the 1970s, as early inspiration for their dedication to this work. And both continue their commitment to trees, now through the challenges of emerald ash borer, in advocacy roles that are personal and professional.

Trees and grass along a parkway.

A verdant tree canopy provides many benefits.

Read the full story at cleanwatermn.org.

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