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Monday, January 30, 2023
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Some Words from A Local Business Leader and Urban Forestry Champion

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Using Time, Talent, and Treasure to Support The Park People

Hayley Kwasniewski
/ Categories: Our Community

The Park People could not accomplish its incredible work planting trees, improving parks, and greening our city without the support of local champions. Shawn Snelgrove is one of those generous, thoughtful Denverites. She was involved in our program, Community Forester, and quickly became a part of the crew. Seeing the need to steward our urban forest, she decided to use her time and talents to support our organization in more ways than one. 

Not only is she a Denver Community Forester, but Shawn is the Founder and President of Brainstorming A la Mode, Inc. Using her coaching and consulting capabilities, she recently held a training on public speaking and engagement for facilitators with staff members of The Park People and the Office of the City Forester who teach the Community Forester workshops. It was truly a worthwhile and incredibly helpful experience. We are so thankful for her help, guidance, and support. 

We met up with her and asked her some questions regarding her work with The Park People.

What made you get involved with The Park People?

At the time I was looking for ways to learn something new and get outdoors in community. I was also inspired by Suzanne Simard’s research on “How trees talk to each other” and reading “The Overstory” about people taking a stand for our forests and “Greenwood,” an eco-parable about a world without trees.

Why did you sign up for Community Forester?

To discover more about trees, meet like-minded people, and to do something active in service to climate change resiliency in Denver. I have always had an affinity for trees and a love for our natural world.

What was the most beneficial aspect of the Community Forester workshop series?

Recognizing the importance of being a steward for our urban forest that gives without demand by improving air quality, shade, runoff, safety, energy conservation, beauty, etc. And… discovering how to identify and care for trees. Understanding what types of trees do best in our ecosystem. Practicing how to prune for tree health with the 3-cut. Discussing tree projects that other volunteers are initiating in their neighborhoods. Learning about Denver’s tree history, green infrastructure, and urban hot spots that need allies.

How are you continuing to be involved with TPP and CF today?

I am working off my volunteer hours at present. Can’t wait to help plant trees this spring! So far I’ve participated in Globeville canvassing for the Denver Digs low-cost tree program and was inspired to reciprocate the knowledge sharing I received from the Community Forester program staff. I recently held a facilitation skills workshop through my business so their passion, expertise, content, and field presence would translate even better in the CF workshops they lead.

Do you have any advice for folks looking to get involved with urban forestry?

Sign up for the Community Forester program! Learn about all what Denver offers for our Urban Forest via The Park People, Denver Digs Trees, Be a Smart Ash and The Office of the City Forester. Read “How To Be More Tree” by Annie Davidson.

Do you have any advice for businesses looking to support community programs?

Love the idea of team building via tree planting for businesses to get their folks outside, contribute and collaborate. Maybe create park or neighborhood groups that monitor tree well-being where the business is located. Sponsor a Community Forester workshop for their employees. Donate to The Park People!

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