Calling All Neighbors – be a neighborhood forester


Our Aims and Goals:

  • Building community, and evolving our skills and capacity as we collaborate face to face in our own neighborhoods.
  • Bringing back, and enhancing, life in our public commons in a way that enhances health and accessibility for all.
  • Enabling a daily reconnection with nature unique to our bioregion.
  • Create and practice what we’d like to see grow city- and watershed-wide.
  • Demonstrate public food forests that thrive solely on passively harvested rain and stormwater – no pumped or extracted waters from wells, or municipal systems.
  • Continually grow and deepen our understanding and beneficially reciprocal relationships with our plant, animal, insect, soil, human, and watershed communities.


Desert Harvesters has been working with the 22-year Dunbar/Spring Neighborhood Foresters effort (which has planted over 1,500 native food-bearing trees) to create/evolve and share strategies, programs, policy, and trainings enabling other neighborhood forester efforts. To that aim we’ve developed four levels. The foresters’ ability, support/training they receive, the contribution they give back to the community, and the benefits to the neighborhood and watershed increase with each step up in commitment level. The aim is to have a neighborhood forester program in every neighborhood, each expressing its own unique essence and potential, and cross-pollinating evolutions and successes with the others.

Levels of Foresters

Note that we will help train and support you

to rise to the level and capability you desire and commit to


Level 1

– Attend a community Pruning & Mulching workshop

or a community Rain & Tree planting

– Commit to caring for your own adjoining right-of-way (keep all sight lines clear, reuse cut-up prunings on-site as mulch, regularly clean up litter, replant if vegetation dies or is removed, weed out invasives; keep footpath clear to 5’ width and 7’ height clearance, shade hardscape with trees and use runoff from hardscape to irrigate that vegetation)

– Commit to helping care for a neighborhood chicane or traffic circle for one year (keep all sight lines clear, reuse cut-up prunings on-site as mulch, regularly clean up litter, replant if vegetation dies or is removed, weed out invasives)

– Be able to identify at least 5 trees (3 native) and 5 shrubs (3 native)

– Have harvested, processed, and consumed at least one native edible




Level 2

– Commitments of Level 1 and…

– Attend both a community Pruning & Mulching workshop and a community Rain & Tree planting workshop

– Commit to organizing and working with neighbors to care for their block’s right-of-way

– Be able to identify at least 10 trees (6 native), and 10 shrubs & groundcover (6 native); plus their ethnobotanical uses; and their ideal rain garden zone(s)

– Put in native pollinator habitat (native pollinator plants, native bee houses, etc. on your property or other site

– Incorporate native edible and medicinal plants on your property or other site

– Start mentoring first level foresters

– Co-organize/supervise/teach aspects of forestry events (tree planting, pruning, mulching, etc)

– Get certified by Tucson Audubon’s Habitat at Home, Goldfinch level




Level 3

– Commitments of Levels 1 and 2 and…

– Mentoring first and second level foresters

– Must help another neighborhood organize a forestry event

– Lead organize/supervise/teach aspects of forestry events

– Plant and begin to grow plants from seed in-situ and/or in nursery pots

– Get certified by Tucson Audubon’s Habitat at Home, Thrasher level

– Get training from another forestry group (Desert Harvesters, Mission Gardens, Watershed Management Group, Sonoran Permaculture Guild)




Level 4

– Commitments of Levels 1, 2, and 3, and…

– Must plant tree or shrub in-situ from seed and grow the plant to the age of bearing more seed

– Mentor first, second, and third level foresters

  • Get certified by Tucson Audubon’s Habitat at Home, Cardinal level
  • Get certified by another forestry related group – WMG WHC course, Sonoran Permaculture Guild PDC, Desert Harvesters Harvest Guide,


Each level lifts your skills and capacity, while enabling you to help others lift higher. Each level also comes with more mentoring and educational support, and perhaps even some pruning tools and official Dunbar/Spring Neighborhood Foresters shirt.



Currently planned events

(sign up to our email list to be notified of all events, and check Desert Harvesters calendar of events and facebook page for larger public events)


  • Monthly Stewarding and Planting of traffic circles and chicanes in neighborhood, along with the right-of-way plantings of fellow foresters — you help us and we help you!
  • Forester meet ups to have fun, brainstorm, and evolve our potential as we also enjoy beverages
  • Rain and Seed Plantings at beginning of rainy seasons
  • Twice per year Pruning and Mulching Workshops – one at end of monsoon (usually September), and one in late winter (February)
  • Annual Rain & Tree Planting, typically in November





More info to come