Public Invited to Three TreeSmart Santa Fe Events | City of Santa Fe

Public Invited to Three TreeSmart Santa Fe Events

21 Sep, 2021

TreeSmart Santa Fe was launched on Arbor Day, April 30, 2021 as an ongoing program to improve and cultivate the tree canopy citywide.

TreeSmart Santa Fe is not just about planting more trees. It's about planting the right tree, in the right place, with the right resources, at the right time. Using data and an equity lens in project planning, we can leverage trees to cool our city, conserve energy and water, and enhance the quality of life in Santa Fe.

Progress report:

  • 2,685 trees have been inventoried, 819 trees this year, amounting to an increase of tree count by 31% in 2021;
  • 36 parks have been inventoried since 2016, eight of them in 2021;
  • 29% of City parks are complete, 3% more this year, which is a 22% increase in 2021.

Learnings: Some trees are not adapting to drought conditions of the past year, and insects have proliferated in these vulnerable species. Mulch and access to water have been the two most significant factors supporting the park trees. Use of storm-water runoff to supplement trees is beneficial

Upcoming TreeSmart Santa Fe Events:

“Planting trees in our high-desert landscapes is best done in the fall,” says Melissa McDonald, Acting Parks Division Director. “Trees, shrubs, and other native plants are some of the best tools available to prepare for and mitigate the effects of an increasingly hot and dry local climate.”

Girls Scout to Help Create Sustainable Habitat for Trees and Bees: Inspired by TreeSmart, Girl Scout Sofia Horn has set out to improve, sustain, and expand ecologically appropriate vegetative cover and urban tree canopy with an emphasis on water conservation and creating pollinator species. As part of her Gold Award Badge, Horn has met with the neighborhood and local experts, planned the design and installation, and will now coordinate the effort. As Santa Fe’s climate changes, trees, shrubs, and pollinator flowers will be increasingly crucial for providing nectar and habitat for wildlife. 

“Over the years, this park has lost a lot of its trees,” Horn explains. “Residents, especially children, use the park, and I wanted to make it more comfortable for them. I also think it is important to think about the butterflies and bees. We need more pollinators to support life.”

Where: Martin Luther King, Jr. Park, 2739 Calle Serena

When: Saturday, September 25, from 8 a.m. to noon

Who: Members of the public and the media are invited to join the Santa Fe Community Foundation, Girls Scouts of New Mexico, the Xerces Society, and Proscapes, Inc.

Contact: Melissa McDonald, Acting Parks Department Director;

Rose Park Community Meeting: TreeSmart Santa Fe will host a community meeting to discuss the decline of a cottonwood tree at Harvey Cornell Rose Park. During a recent inventory of the park, it was discovered that this significant tree, close to 80 years old, was in decline. Urban Forester Athena Beshur will present her findings, and options will be discussed including successional replacement. This is a great opportunity to learn about our specimen trees and their care.

“Knowing which trees do well in Santa Fe, we will direct planting where trees are needed most. Diversity of selection creates a stable and resilient canopy, protecting our water and our future livability,” said urban forester Athena Beshur.

Where: Harvey Cornell Rose Park, Galisteo and Cordova Street

When: Thursday, October 7, from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m.

Who: Members of the public and the media are invited to join the discussion

Contact: Melissa McDonald, Acting Parks Department Director;

Santa Fe River Planting: The TreeSmart Santa Fe team will plant trees to replace invasive species that were removed along the river at Parque del Rio. The replacement species will include Box Elder (Acer negundo), Populus acuminata (lanceleaf cottonwood), and the project will include an award-winning passive water harvesting technology called Lagunita for each tree. Lagunitas absorb stormwater runoff and infiltrate it at the tree roots.

Where: Parque del Rio (East Alameda and El Alamo St.)

When: Saturday, October 23, from 8:00 to 11:30 a.m.

Who: Members of the public and the media are invited to join the Santa Fe Watershed Association, Friends of the River, and Seeds of Wisdom

Note: Don’t forget your sunblock, a hat, gloves and any small tools for weeding.

Contact: Melissa McDonald, Acting Parks Department Director;

Support TreeSmart Santa Fe

"The success of this program will depend entirely on a robust public-private partnership," says City Councilor Carol Romero-Wirth.

Members of the public can donate to TreeSmart Smart Santa Fe through two funds:

  • Santa Fe Watershed Association:
  • Santa Fe Community Foundation Fund for Santa Fe’s Trees:

In addition to those organizations, participating groups include the Municipal Tree Board, Bee City USA, and Keep Santa Fe Beautiful. A donor established a fund at the Community Foundation with a seed grant of $30,000. The City allocated $60,000 for TreeSmart Santa Fe in the FY22 budget, and is devoting other departmental resources.

To learn more about TreeSmart Santa Fe, go to