Casey Trees has a special connection to Kingman & Heritage Islands. Not only have we planted trees there, but we have utilized this interesting space with many different ecosystems to educate and engage community members, especially youth in being lifelong stewards. This summer, we were thrilled to join the Kingman Rangers to train in tree identification, tree care, and the importance of restoration work on Kingman & Heritage Islands.
The Kingman Ranger program is a job training initiative in the green sector that is funded through DOEE. Living Classrooms, a partner and manager of the programmatic activities on the islands, facilitates the Ranger program. The purpose of the Rangers is focused on training in maintenance, landscaping and construction projects on the islands, while the other time is spent in a classroom setting working on job readiness skills.
A key goal of the program is to train participants in how to operate and maintain “green infrastructure” – this includes everything from learning about proper rain garden installation, native plant and tree plantings, building picnic tables for recreation, and maintain trails from invasive species to encourage native growth.
Our work with the Rangers, of course, involved trees! First, we gathered in a classroom setting and reviewed our Casey Trees species guide for tree identification, plus ecosystem services like – how trees sequester carbon, help in stormwater management, filter our air, support other organisms, cool urban spaces, and how being in nature lowers our blood pressure and soothes the soul.
Next, we headed to the islands and practiced what we learned. Then we gathered again on the islands for a hands-on field day alongside some of our Tree Operations team. We checked on some young newly planted trees, freed a few from weedy encroachment so they can more easily keep reaching for the sky. We also got to use my favorite tool – the “puller bear,” and remove some difficult bush honeysuckle (an invasive shrub-like plant around some trees.
These skills are critical for anyone working in the green job sector. To be supported and properly armed with the knowledge of stewardship ensures our urban canopy for the future. It was wonderful working alongside Bill’s team – Antwan, “Fox”, Calvin, Ray, Antonio, and Lynn.
You can come out and see all the work they’ve been doing and meet them! Join us on the islands, Saturday, October 15th, for Kingman Island Family Day— we will be hosting family activities and leading short tree walks with the Rangers!