Guiding principles towards justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion


First drafted: January 2022

Last updated: May 2022

We believe that public trees and forests in urban and community spaces should be accessible, safe, and beneficial to all. We recognize that arboricultural and forestry professions should be open and visible to all people and that tree stewardship programs should be welcoming to all voices. We acknowledge the historical discrimination that excludes many people from careers or service in urban and community forestry. We recognize that people have unequal access to the benefits provided by trees and forests based on race, physical or mental ability, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, and age.

By incorporating a lens of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in all of the program’s work, we envision a present and future when the values of public trees and forests are reflected on the ground in all communities. We strive to build urban and community forestry programs that provide the social, emotional, cultural, and economic benefits of trees to all people, particularly those who have lacked access to benefits in the past. Our program staff continues to listen, learn, and reflect on how we can improve, fund, and reimagine our work to meet measurable goals regarding equitable access to, and stewardship of, urban and community forests.



Promoting equity, fostering diversity, and ensuring the inclusion of all voices requires thoughtful work and continuous improvement. We commit to building just and equitable tree stewardship programs and communities by learning from professional organizations committed to fighting racism and other forms of oppression. We will ask for resources and ideas from colleagues and from each other to ensure that Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, and people of all physical or mental abilities, genders, sexual orientations, socioeconomic backgrounds, ethnicities, and ages, are consistently and genuinely centered in discussions about the history and future of people and trees.

Broad learning

There are many ways to know trees and our collective place within urban and community forests. We commit to examining our biases, recognizing the many life experiences and cultural values that connect people to trees, and actively searching for multi-faceted ways to know our audiences and ourselves.

Careful listening

By ensuring that leading voices in urban and community forestry include people historically excluded from community decision-making, we commit to strengthening tree care, forest health, and ecological stewardship in ways that benefit all community members in the present and future.

Using Our Voice

By learning to recognize unequal access to the environmental, public health, and economic benefits provided by trees, we commit to speaking out against tree inequity, and inequity in general, in Vermont.


We invite you to join us in learning, engage us in discussion, challenge us in action, and grow with us in our communities. Contact us to share your vision.