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City Views

City Views presents commentary from staff on the latest projects, initiatives, and successes.

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Aug 03

Urban Forestry Intern Makes Impact

Posted on August 3, 2015 at 1:16 PM by Melissa Cockrell

Did you know that the Arbor Day Foundation has named Falls Church a Tree City USA  community for the past 30 years? The Little City is dedicated to protecting and preserving trees in our community. Trees provide many important benefits: they provide shade, produce oxygen, absorb pollutants, and even help reduce storm water flow. However, as an essential aspect of a healthy city, they must be managed properly so that they are able to thrive.

Kate Walker, the Department of Public Works Urban Forestry (UF) intern, began working with the UF Division in February while completing her Master’s Degree in Urban Forestry. Since then she has been out in the field working to create an updated inventory of the trees in The Little City.

“It’s exciting to see how the trees change over the year,” says Walker.

Using an iPhone app, Walker is able to map the exact location of trees on the City map. Each tree receives a unique identification number, and Walker then notes its species, age, size, and condition by examining various characteristics. By looking at the age, color, shape, condition of the leaves, and the structure of the trunk and its branches, Walker can determine the health of the tree. This information helps establish which trees need extra care and how often they should be revisited. 

Walker estimates that she has collected data for nearly 3,000 trees so far, and she expects that there are about 10,000 total street trees in the City of Falls Church. The quantifiable data collected is used for planning and educational purposes and shows that it is important that the City continues to invest in trees for the future.

To learn more about the Urban Forestry Division and its programs, visit this webpage.