BQLT Arborforce | Citizen Pruner Course Highlights

Next Stop, Citizen Pruner License Exam!

This Spring, 20 BQLT gardeners have been citizen pruners-in-training as part of BQLT’s Urban & Community Forestry Grant initiatives funded by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. In March 2022, Sam Bishop of Trees New York led a special citizen pruner course online for BQLT gardeners. Students had the opportunity to not only learn about caring for street trees, but also how to care for fruit trees with an extra session dedicated to it.

Gardeners from 14 different BQLT gardens (12 Brooklyn, 2 Queens) were able to learn about tree care and spread tree knowledge and pruning skills. The skills gained from this course will allow gardeners to take tree maintenance into their own hands at their own gardens, and help other nearby gardens as well.

The hands-on pruning session happened on Saturday April 23rd at Rogers / Tilden / Veronica Place Garden. Students tried out their skills using folding handsaws, bypass pruners and long pole pruners on garden trees and nearby street trees under Sam’s expert supervision. The next step is to take an exam to become licensed citizen pruners!

Here are a few reflections from BQLT gardeners on this experience:

“I think the CP course is very informative and the actual practical session was very helpful in seeing how we can improve street trees, how damaged many of the trees are, and how we can make a difference … It’s changed my way of walking around the city.”

Willis Johnson (pictured left) via 1100 Block Bergen Street Community Garden

“I learned so much about the proper and right way to prune and identify trees.”

Princess Benn James via Mama Dee’s Garden

“Because of the [citizen pruner] course, I now have a new found love for all trees, and I look forward to sharing and applying all that I’ve learnt from this course with my community garden and my local community.”

Wanda Thomas via Serenity Community Garden

“I like having other people around to help identify trees because it really makes it all more real.”

Camila Salvagno via Mama Dee’s Garden

“The class was very interesting. It was my first time pruning and my first time being so involved with trees. It was very exciting.”

Mandi Bobb via Rogers / Tilden / Veronica Place Garden

See more photos from the day below:

Thanks to Enrique Alie of Clifton Place Block Association Garden for taking these photos, and Wanda Thomas of Serenity Community Garden who interviewed some of the students.

To get involved with the BQLT Tree Committee or learn about other tree workshops, please contact Tree Committee Co-Chair Ashley Cruce (McIntosh Garden, Queens)

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