New Mission, Vision, and Focus Areas.

Transforming lives and landscapes has been foundational to our work from the beginning. While we remain committed to those principles, our mission, vision, and focus areas are strategically adapting to meet the changing needs of our community. Watch this video to learn more about our strategic direction.

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Everyone Deserves the Opportunity to Succeed.

Andy loves a job well done and working hard. His favorite part about Tree Trust is, “working with your hands and learning how to use landscaping tools safely and efficiently.”

Four years ago, Andy started his first job ever as a participant in Tree Trust’s Summer Youth Employment Program! This summer, he works on staff as the summer program assistant to manage administrative tasks using Salesforce and assist the crews out in the field. Andy’s experiences at Tree Trust over the years have positively impacted his life. He shares that one of the most important things he’s learned so far is how to apply for a job and having good communication skills with your supervisor.

“Tree Trust does a wonderful job of modeling what you need to be a successful employee. The supervisors have a good expectation of you. They don’t hold your hand. They let you experience what a real-life supervisor would want of you.”

Andy gets along well with different crew leaders, and enjoys working with a variety of people. While engaging with others on several different projects, he says that “the best part about Tree Trust is the people who are involved because so many people have so many different stories and walks of life. It’s just incredible to be with them.”

At Tree Trust, we believe everyone deserves the opportunity to succeed, and empowered youth and young adults have the potential to change and influence our community. Andy recommends Tree Trust to “anyone who needs a job or has a disability that’s preventing them from getting a job.”

“A lot of people believe in you in this organization.”

Not only does Tree Trust impact Andy’s life positively, but also strengthened his understanding of how to better care for the world around him. He shares, “I’m surrounded by very positive people and have a really good support group here. Tree Trust helped me understand more about the environment. I learned how to be greener and less wasteful. Now I know better about what we can do to protect the environment and take steps to have a healthier environment.”

His advice to young people interested in Tree Trust is “to continue to work hard because they will notice it and reward you on it. Recognize that you are an important part of the team.”

If you are seeking a different learning opportunity, check out Tree Trust YouthBuild for hands-on employment training, career exploration, and leadership development! Or join the Young Adult Conservation Corps if you enjoy working with your hands on environmental improvement projects and love being outdoors! 

For more information about Tree Trust employment programs for young people, visit our website or contact our Outreach Coordinator via email or at 612-508-0292!

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Tree Trust’s Community Forestry program organizes efforts to increase the urban tree canopy through community and school plantings, municipal tree distributions, and other special forestry initiatives. In 2018, we held 31 events in 12 cities, and added more than 3,000 trees and shrubs to our communities. With a full-time staff of just two, these accomplishments are only possible thanks to the hard work and dedication of our many volunteers, partners, and funders.

First, THANK YOU to the 609 individual volunteers who moved trees, shoveled dirt and mulch, carried water buckets, and ultimately got the trees planted. You donated nearly 2,200 hours to improving your community environment this year – and smiled the whole time! Be sure to check out photos from our events on Facebook. 

Also, THANK YOU to the municipal and school partners who worked to find the places in your communities that desperately needed new trees. Thanks to you, the following cities will be a bit greener in 2019:


Finally, a big THANK YOU to our corporate sponsors and individual donors – with whom we truly could not do this work. To the Arbor Day Foundation, Midtown Greenway Coalition, the NFL and Super Bowl partners, Cargill, Xcel Energy, CenterPoint, Dakota Electric, Connexus, the US Forest Service, the Washington County Watershed District, Boise/Office Depot, the Autonomous Collective of MN, the Metropolitan Airports Commission, and Hy-Vee. Lastly, thanks to the dozens of Green Futures donors who give money every spring, and to our anonymous donor for matching every single dollar donated to Green Futures – THANK YOU!

To get the latest news on our forestry program, including volunteer and tree distribution notifications, sign up for our newsletter!

To support our efforts to plant more trees in 2019, please visit our donation page

This event has passed. To see photos from the event, visit our Facebook.


A local business collaborative provides funds and volunteers to plant 100+ trees

In a continuing effort to bring trees to North Minneapolis neighborhoods, Tree Trust has teamed up with a local partner to plant trees at residences and a local park on Friday, October 5, 2018. A local business group, dubbed the “Autonomous Collective of MN”, has provided funding and volunteers for this one-day tree planting blitz that will add 128 trees to 80 North Minneapolis residential properties and at Folwell Park.

The PLANT MORE TREES initiative is an off-shoot of a program launched by Tree Trust in 2012 after a tornado ravaged much of North Minneapolis. This was an area already low in tree canopy, and like all of Minnesota, is being further devastated by emerald ash borer (EAB) which will kill over two million trees in the metro in coming years. The Autonomous Collective has taken over supporting the project that has been funded by a variety of other sponsors over the years. The group of ten local landscape, arborist, and remodeling firms from Minneapolis are interested because they see the link between building and improving houses and landscapes and planting more trees.

The group raised over $25,000 in donations from their companies, clients and friends, and Tree Trust facilitates the project through their community forestry department. Residents of North Minneapolis have been signing up since spring to receive the free trees that will be planted in their yards, and the volunteers will gather and then disperse into North Minneapolis on Friday, October 5 to get the trees planted.

Autonomous Collective founders Jason Rathe from Field Landscape and Jim Walsh from Vineland Tree Care say they just wanted to do something simple and effective. Jim says, “We were talking over a beer about how somebody should really do something to make sure that we re-tree the urban forest… and we realized we were that somebody.” Jason has been amazed at the response from other businesses. “Pretty much all of the companies we talked to have been enthusiastic and jumped in to start donating and offered help. That isn’t surprising though. Contractors are really “let’s-just-get-something-done” kind of people.”

Since 1976, Tree Trust has been bringing people together to create positive, lasting changes in their lives and in their communities.  From Minneapolis and Saint Paul to the suburbs to greater Minnesota, Tree Trust leaves lasting improvements in parks, nature areas, schools, neighborhood spaces, community agencies, and backyards. Every day, Tree Trust is investing in a better future by working in partnership with young people and adults to improve their lives and transform the green landscapes of our communities.

Support the Autonomous Collective and adding trees to North Minneapolis

Support Tree Trust’s Community Forestry efforts throughout Minnesota

Volunteer to plant trees

Tree Trust and the City of St. Louis Park to plant trees in Westwood Hills Nature Center

September, 2018 (St. Louis Park, Minn.) – Tree Trust staff will be joined by community volunteers to plant 150 trees on Saturday, September 29 at Westwood Hills Nature Center in St. Louis Park. This joint effort between Tree Trust, the City of St. Louis Park, and the Westwood Hills Nature Center is intended to return the maple basswood, oak savanna, and shoreline tree and shrub species back to the forest of Westwood Hills.

In the past year, the city of St. Louis Park has removed extensive amounts of invasive and low-value trees in the project area, including buckthorn, Siberian elm, and boxelder species. In the fall of 2017, 40 volunteers planted 75 trees in the newly cleared areas of Westwood Hills. On Saturday, volunteers will plant an additional 95 native trees and 55 native shrubs.

This fall, Tree Trust will add more than 400 trees to local community parks. Volunteer plantings are family friendly, require no special equipment or skills, and are a great way to give back to the community, improve the environment, and connect with friends, family, and neighbors in the outdoors. Volunteers are still needed for this event!

Register here. 

Since 1976 Tree Trust has been bringing people together to create positive, lasting changes in their lives and in their communities. Throughout the Twin Cities and greater Minnesota, Tree Trust builds lasting improvements in parks, nature areas, schools, neighborhood spaces, community agencies, and backyards. Every day, Tree Trust is investing in a better future by working in partnership with the community and our neighbors to improve lives and transform the green landscapes of our communities.

Media Contact: Kim Lawler
952-767-3881 (office)
651-308-9393 (mobile)
[email protected]

Tree Trust and the City of Columbia Heights to green up with the support of Boise Paper’s Project UP™ initiative

[Minneapolis] September 15, 2018– On Saturday, September 15th, the Alliance for Community Trees, a program of the Arbor Day Foundation; Boise Paper, Office Depot, Inc.; Tree Trust; and the City of Columbia Heights will come together to plant 60 trees to complete the rebuilding project of Keyes Park in Columbia Heights.

Keyes Park is a neighborhood park, recently renovated through the city’s park dedication funding, adding two new ballfields, additional parking and new playground equipment.  The addition of new trees through this planting will increase the tree canopy as well as the diversity of species at this popular park – providing a legacy for generations to come.

Funded through sales of select office papers, and in partnership with Arbor Day Foundation, Boise.

Paper’s Project UP™ initiative works to transform distressed urban spaces into vibrant community spaces. Columbia Heights, a suburb of Minneapolis, will be the 11th planting sponsored by Project UP™, joining parks and neighborhoods in Indianapolis, Baltimore, Miami, Toronto, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago, Cleveland, and Houston.

“The goal of Project UP is to lift up the communities our customers and employees call home,” said Mary Furto, Senior Director of Marketing for Boise Paper. “The Keyes Park project is a tremendous opportunity to revitalize this neighborhood’s green space. And we’re looking forward to working alongside residents and community volunteers to plant a new generation of shade trees in Columbia Heights.”

“Project UP is a transformative community initiative that makes a positive impact on the landscape of neighborhoods where we live and work every day. Office Depot is proud to partner with Boise Paper, Arbor Day Foundation, the City of Columbia Heights, and Tree Trust in serving on this special day where volunteers – customers and employees – come together to dedicate their time and talent to impact generations to come,” said Alex Price, National Director of Community Relations for Office Depot, Inc.

Media Contact:               

Kim Lawler
Tree Trust
[email protected]

About Arbor Day Foundation:
Arbor Day Foundation is a national nonprofit dedicated to improving the health and livability of cities by planting and caring for trees. With member organizations and program partner organizations in the United States and Canada, Arbor Day Foundation engages volunteers to take action to improve the environment where over 90% of people live: in cities, towns, and metropolitan areas. Founded in 1972, the Arbor Day Foundation has grown to become the largest nonprofit membership organization dedicated to planting trees, with more than one million members, supporters, and valued partners. During the last 44 years, more than 250 million Arbor Day Foundation trees have been planted in neighborhoods, communities, cities and forests throughout the world. For more information visit

About Boise Paper:
Boise Paper, a division of Packaging Corporation of America, manufactures a full line of quality papers including imaging papers for the office and home, printing and converting papers, and papers used in packaging, such as label and release papers. Through their Paper with Purpose® promise, they commit to delivering excellent value while sustaining environmental, economic, and social resources for future generations. Keep current with Project UP™ news and events at  
Boise Paper, Paper with Purpose, and Project UP are trademarks of Boise White Paper, L.L.C., or its affiliates.

About Office Depot:
Office Depot, Inc. is a leading provider of office supplies, business products and services delivered through an omnichannel platform.
The company had 2016 annual sales of approximately $11 billion, employed approximately 38,000 associates, and served consumers and businesses in North America and abroad with approximately 1,400 retail stores, award-winning e-commerce sites and a dedicated business-to-business sales organization – with a global network of wholly owned operations, franchisees, licensees and alliance partners. The company operates under several banner brands including Office Depot, OfficeMax and Grand & Toy. The company’s portfolio of exclusive product brands include TUL, Foray, Brenton Studio, Ativa, WorkPro, Realspace and Highmark.

Office Depot, Inc.’s common stock is listed on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol “ODP.”
Office Depot is a trademark of The Office Club, Inc. OfficeMax is a trademark of OMX, Inc. ©2017 Office Depot, Inc. All rights reserved. Any other product or company names mentioned herein are the trademarks of their respective owners.

About  Tree Trust:
Since 1976 Tree Trust has been bringing people together to create positive, lasting changes in their lives and in their communities. Throughout the Twin Cities and greater Minnesota, Tree Trust builds lasting improvements in parks, nature areas, schools, neighborhood spaces, community agencies, and backyards. Every day, Tree Trust is investing in a better future by working in partnership with the community and our neighbors to improve lives and transform the green landscapes of our communities.

Tree Trust’s JobPrep programs are designed to transform lives and landscapes, and the Youth Conservation Corps has been doing that every summer for more than 40 years.

In this program, Tree Trust employs hundreds of young people, many of whom have never had a job before, to complete improvement projects in public parks and recreation spaces. Projects can include building retaining walls, staircases, paver pathways and patios, and boardwalks. Crew Leaders from summer 2018 shared how the summer program is transforming lives of the participants while they improve their local community.

Taking Ownership

What most impressed Crew Leader Cameron is how his crew members took so much ownership over the project in just a few short weeks. “I saw them grow so much with the project, to the point where I barely had to explain anything to them. When it was time to get a part of the project done, they’d look and say ‘I’m going to do this, I’m going to use this tool,’ and I’d look and they would be right!”

Grace saw the same growth happening in her crew members. “As the summer progressed, they were able to take on tasks themselves and become their own experts. I could take a step back and allow them to talk through things. They got to start to do that critical thinking, and they started to notice they were getting better. They got more confident.”

Cameron’s crew installed a fence at Father Hennepin Bluff Park. Grace’s crew dismantled an old staircase and rebuilt it in Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park – all in just 9 weeks!

Leading the Way

Foster came to the Crew Leader position with more experience in construction, and was surprised at how well his crew of 14-21 year olds have overcome obstacles in their own lives and found success this summer. “One of my participants with autism, Mike*, really loved nature. He’s 15, and hadn’t had many opportunities to lead before.” When Foster learned that Mike had experience pulling buckthorn, he knew there was an opportunity for Mike to take on a new challenge. “I asked him to take a small group and teach them how to identify and remove buckthorn. Together they pulled buckthorn for several hours. Mike enjoyed the experience to lead and share his knowledge, and the rest of the crew loved the special project.”

In addition to removing buckthorn, Foster’s crew built a timber staircase in Plymouth.

Building Connections

Emily knows her participants learned a lot about hard work; they dismantled a tilting retaining wall and rebuilt it using cement blocks that weigh up to 120 pounds! Very few first jobs would be this physically taxing, and some participants in the program had never spent much time outdoors. What kept her crew positive was the relationships they built on site. “The members of my crew wouldn’t really be friends outside of this – they’re all different ages and you can tell they hang with different crowds. But they’re so close because they work together eight hours every day. During the first week, we all talked about how delicious one participant’s lunches looked. He showed up that Friday for work, and his mom had made us all food! My crew became a little family over the weeks. It really warms my heart.”

This summer was a transformative experience for the crew leaders too. Foster, who didn’t have much experience working with young people before this summer, found the work extremely rewarding. “Seeing the obstacles my crew members overcame, all the factors they can’t control in their homelife, watching them come to work and do a great job was awesome. It is making me consider changing career paths, continuing to work with young people. I feel like I helped make a difference in these kids’ lives.”

Participants in the Youth Conservation Corps finished their projects in early August, and celebrated the end of the program with ceremonies in each county where they worked. Check out the photos from the summer projects on Facebook!

The participants of the Youth Conservation Corps worked hard, in all types of weather, doing physically challenging work to professional precision. While the work is hard, the experience is more than that. Foster recalls one of his participants saying he wasn’t sure if he’d even left his basement last summer, and that he was surprised that he liked getting outside. For Cameron’s crew, the relationships and tangible results of their hard work made it worth it. “I heard my crew members saying they want to come back next year, because they’ve had such a good time – it’s great.”

Learn more about the summer program

Past summer participants- join our alumni network!

Support the summer program by donating to Tree Trust


Entering the Workforce with Tree Trust

This summer, 174 youth are working on Tree Trust’s outdoor crews to improve public parks and recreation areas across the metro. For many participants, Tree Trust’s summer program will be their very first job. While adding high-quality improvements to public green space and learning landscape construction skills, participants also learn the basics of the workplace, including:

  • workplace norms
  • collaborating with a team
  • following instructions from a supervisor
  • how to budget and manage their paycheck
  • and how to build and use resumes and cover letters


Lasting Improvements in Their Own Communities

Participants work hard on projects outside, braving the heat, rain, mud, and bugs, to make lasting improvements in the communities where they live.

At a public park in the Phalen neighborhood, a crew of young people from St. Paul will be adding modifications to a beach to allow for better access to services for all visitors to the park. The crew will build and install a boardwalk over the sand to allow wheelchair access to the water, as well as stands for boats that will be available to rent at the site. 

Tree Trust participants have been completing projects that add accessibility and functionality to public parks and recreation areas around the metro for more than 40 years. In Stillwater in the 1980s, one of our youth crews built a massive timber staircase; this year another crew will demolish that staircase and build a brand new staircase that will serve park patrons for another 30 years! We are grateful to both our new and long-term municipal partners, who recognize that young people can produce high-quality work that improves the community for decades. 

Impact Across the Metro

In 2018, participants are:

  • Building staircases in Minneapolis, Brooklyn Park, and Stillwater
  • Installing paver patios and walkways, and wooden boardwalks in Bloomington and St. Paul
  • Constructing retaining walls, edgers, and fences in Minneapolis, Stillwater, Lakeville, and Inver Grove Heights*


Tree Trust employs hundreds of young people age 14-21 during the summer months on outdoor crews as part of our Summer Youth Employment Program. We also employ young people who complete individual internships in local businesses and organizations. The summer program is Tree Trust’s longest-running program; our 2018 participants will be the 42nd cohort of summer employees! Did you have a summer job with Tree Trust? Join our Alumni Network


*Keep an eye on our newsletter and social media at the end of the summer, when we will be able to promote the exact location of recently completed projects! 

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Plant a tree the Tree Trust way!

Are you planting a containerized tree? Did you know you need a handsaw?

The process to plant trees for health and longevity is always improving- watch our video to learn best-practices!


Care for your mature trees

As we lose more and more trees to emerald ash borer in the coming years, it is even more important for property owners to take care of their mature trees. It takes decades for newly planted trees to have the same positive environmental impact as a mature tree. To learn more about caring for your trees, read The Tree Owner’s Manual provided by the National Forest Service. Or, hire a tree care company with certified arborists. 

Treat or cut down your ash trees

If you live in Minnesota, your ash trees are at risk for the emerald ash borer infestation. Ash trees without an infestation or early stages of an infestation can be treated against the emerald ash borer. If you do not want to treat your ash tree, or its infestation is too advanced, you will need to cut your tree down. Dying ash trees are brittle and likely to fall unexpectedly. Don’t be caught unaware!

To learn more about EAB, to identify if you have an ash, and take steps to treat or remove your tree, visit the EAB page of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. If you opt to cut down your tree, choose a certified arborist like our own Tree Trust Landscape Service division

Water your new boulevard trees, or adopt a new tree in your neighborhood

Municipalities often struggle to keep boulevard and public trees fully watered in the hot summer months. If you notice any of the trees on public property are looking dry, you can water them! Our friends at Brewing a Better Forest even have an adopt-a-tree program that will get you a free beer at a Twin Cities brewery! 

Be the Lorax in your Community and ‘speak for the trees’

Minnesotans pride ourselves on our great outdoors, and our cities are known for their green space. However, it is important that we all continue to speak to our council members and legislators regarding the importance of trees to our communities! And if you need a little inspiration, watch this reading of The Lorax (or check out the book from your local library)!