Town Talk Features

Reaching Out: Tim Brunsman

meet volunteer tim brunsman of fenton | What made you interested in this particular cause?
I have a degree in park planning from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and I am an urban forester for the city of Richmond Heights. I order trees from Forest ReLeaf through its community tree program for various projects, so the organization was initially like a vendor I worked with. When the nursery manager approached me about helping out, I had the free time and thought it would be great. I appreciate that Forest ReLeaf understands the many benefits of trees and the urban need for them. It helps underserved communities acquire and plant trees and has volunteer opportunities for all ages, including educational opportunities for kids. It does important work, and I like that. If you’re looking to get involved with your community, it’s a great place to volunteer. You get to meet great people and work together to improve urban communities.

How long have you been a volunteer?
About 10 years.

What kind of volunteer work are you involved with?
I’m on the board and am chairman of the preparations committee, so I oversee getting resources for the nursery from the board of directors. I often work as the liaison between the staff and board. I also volunteer in the nursery and work on facility and maintenance projects. I’ve done a lot of special projects with our physical structure, like building a greenhouse and an expansion. I do a bit of everything, even down to watering and pulling weeds. I try to be available for whatever is needed.

If you could do anything for the organization, what would it be?
I wish I could expand our operations so we are ready to deal with trees in our community that are vulnerable. The emerald ash borer is an invasive pest that has been found in the St. Louis area in the last five years. It will decimate the ash population in a lot of areas. In some communities, 25 percent of the trees are ash, and without the expensive treatment and care required, they will lose those trees. A lot of municipalities don’t have arborists, foresters or a tree crew, and they are at risk for losing the benefits street trees provide. I would love for Forest ReLeaf to have the resources to help more communities and address these issues.

Forest Relief of Missouri: to be a catalyst for restoring and sustaining our urban forests by planting trees and enriching communities

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