the Neighborhood Design Center



December 9, 2021

NDC's Jason Sprouls Gets Tree Mentorship in California

NDC’s Community Forestry Program Manager participated in the Alliance for Community Tree Mentorship Exchange hosted by Friends of the Urban Forest in San Francisco and Tree People in Los Angeles. Jason shares his experience.

As the community forestry program manager at the Neighborhood Design Center, I am grateful for the opportunity made by the Alliance for Community Trees and the Arbor Day Foundation to participate in their mentorship exchange program. 

I am fortunate to have been hosted by two wonderful and passionate organizations: Friends of the Urban Forest (FUF) and Tree People! 

The program gave me the chance to take part in numerous learning objectives, including learning about workforce development programs, different approaches to community engagement, the care of newly planted young trees, and how programs are addressing structural racism in the urban forest. I was able to spend tons of time with their different programs and staff members to discuss these goals. 

“An exciting outcome of the trip was getting the chance to borrow some of the great engagement strategies these programs implement to strengthen the forestry programs on projects here at NDC.”

Some of these strategies, for example, may include adding tree tags or other materials to the newly planted trees and increasing our canvassing in partnership with community residents to guide our street tree designs. 

Additionally, Friends of the Urban Forest and Tree People place an emphasis on tree stewardship, leveraging in-house staff, and volunteer models. Through their focus on increasing the after care of young trees, the programs have built trust in communities and produced trees with improved structure and vitality. 

I hope to borrow some of these programs’ methods to develop strategic approaches for the care of young trees planted where NDC works here in Maryland over the first three to five years of their life. I am thankful that these organizations volunteered their time and staff, and especially thank Karla Nagy at FUF and Yujuan Chen at Tree People.

Slide 1 of 3

Jason manages the Neighborhood Design Center’s community-wide urban forestry program that has jurisdiction of trees in the public right-of-way. He is an urban forestry practitioner who has an interdisciplinary skillset of the wide array of environmental conditions that relate to urban trees, which includes dendrology, tree risk assessment and mitigation, urban hydrology and stormwater management, and soil sciences. He has a wide array of experiences in environmental interpretation, which was formative in his passion for connecting people and nature to bring meaningful change to the urban environment.