Some of the Dunbar/Spring Neighborhood Foresters on-the-ground accomplishments (in collaboration with others) since 1996
• Over 1,600 native trees planted in our organized neighborhood plantings
• Over 1 million gallons of stormwater annually harvested in street-side and in-street rain garden basins made in our organized neighborhood plantings and the neighborhood’s Pima County Neighborhood Reinvestment grant-funded project in 2009-2012
• 9,600 linear feet of trees and understory plantings planted in public rights-of-ways.
• 1,550 linear feet of public right-of-way pedestrian paths cleared of automobile access/parking by delineating path and blocking vehicles with plantings and rain gardens; and simultaneously making on-street parking safer with traffic-calming strategies and more neighbors eyes on the street as they are walking, bicycling, and hanging out on front porches and in yards
• 3,900 linear feet of public rights-of-ways received stormwater-harvesting basins
• 105 linear feet of once steep-sloped public right-of-way leveled to make the public walkway more accessible
• Installation of native solitary bee houses at community bulletin board
Some of the Dunbar/Spring Neighborhood Foresters accomplishments in the Dunbar/Spring Neighborhood
and beyond 2018 – 2020
• Creation of www.DunbarSpringNeighborhoodForesters.org
• Created and evolved a program of Four Levels of Neighborhood Foresters to incentivize and support citizen Neighborhood Foresters in expanding their capacity, commitment, knowledge, and community contributions.
Made Dunbar/Spring neighborhood forest and public walkways more accessible with the following:
• Loose gravel removed from 870 linear feet of public rights-of-ways and their public walkways
• Making public forest and walkway access a requirement for participation in Neighborhood Forester plantings and to be a certified Neighborhood Forester
• 9,600 linear feet of trees and understory plantings pruned to regain access for public footpaths; and bicycles and autos, along with sight lines to traffic signs on adjoining streets.
• 1,250 linear feet of previously narrow public footpaths in Dunbar/Spring public rights-of-ways widened to minimum 5’ width, making it easier and more inviting for people to walk or wheel side by side with or without pets
• 160 linear feet of public Dunbar/Spring rights-of-ways footpaths cleared of landscape mound barriers.
• 140 linear feet of thick barrier-like mulch (2” plus depth) replaced with thin (1” minus depth) along public Dunbar/Spring rights-of-ways footpaths
• Over 45,000 gallons of street runoff harvested annually in new street-side green infrastructure installations.
• 40 Work and Learn stewarding parties, 9 workshops
• Created a Neighborhood Foresters’ Tool library
• Coordinated neighborhood plant purchases & delivery during local seasonal native plant nursery sales (that align with our rainy seasons) for neighbors that had, or were stewarding, passive stormwater harvesting earthworks.
• Collaborated/cross-pollinated with the Tucson Audubon Habitat at Home program in evolving the Four Levels Neighborhood Foresters to include participation in the Habitat at Home program, while the Habitat at Home program now is soon to include Neighborhood Foresters and Desert Harvesters wild food planting/harvesting/processing actions and participation
• Collaborated with University of Arizona Campus Arboretum to create a program of neighborhood-based forests as satellites of the arboretum, with Dunbar/Spring being the first. Worked with a student intern through the arboretum to create quad-lingual (Latin, English, Spanish, O’odham) plant identification signs to be posted in the Dunbar/Spring forest. Signs will also have QR code, which when scanned, takes viewers to Campus Arboretum website webpages with more info on that plant including ethnobotanical uses of the plant. Neighborhood Foresters provided some of this material. Webpages have been completed. Signs are currently being made at University of Arizona sign shop.
• Grew participation to 161 Neighborhood Foresters
• 11 Neighborhood Foresters that have Adopted a section of forest, round-a-bout, or chicane and stewarded it well
• Coordinated with and supervised local contractor Earthcare Landscapes for invasive Bermuda grass removal in most intensely infested green infrastructure of the neighborhood. Once this was done neighborhood volunteers were far more able to keep it in check
• Worked with City of Tucson to create a Rain and Tree permitting process for neighborhoods that removes many of the previous barriers (excessive permit and barricade plan fees for every address, Lot info only available on City staff maps, and a lack of clarity on stewarding responsibilities once installation work is completed.
• Worked with City of Tucson officials to develop a Maintenance Agreement for any neighborhood-initiated Green Infrastructure (GI) stormwater harvesting and planting installations in the public rights-of-ways. This is part of the permit, and addresses a big problem where in the past GI installations were done without first securing and recording who was responsible for maintenance – this resulted in steward-less “abandoned,” weedy, overgrown, litter-strewn GI installations that risked removal or leading to an end to GI installations.
Every installation now has a clear steward(s), the expectations of stewardship clearly laid out, and follow up resources to help the stewards.
• Informed by a Neighborhood Walkability Study, and in collaboration with the Living Streets Alliance, Neighborhood Foresters are working with City officials to create a list of approved alternative materials and banned materials for public pedestrian paths where no sidewalks exist in improve walkability and access through the public forests we are planting and stewarding. These approved alternative materials (such as native soil, stabilized and compacted ¼-inch minus decomposed granite) are far more affordable than concrete and do not contribute far less to the heat-island effect.
While the banned materials (such as loose gravel) reduce the common practice of people installing gravel in the public walkways to park their cars. The gravel alone inhibits pedestrian access for the old and very young who have difficulty walking, while also making wheeling in wheelchair or baby carriage very difficult. Add a car on top of the gravel and all pedestrian access is blocked. (This list has passed initial approval by department of transportation personel. We are now working on getting it formally adopted city wide).
• Worked with the IDEA School and the Dunbar Pavillion to teach the school’s students and teachers how to plant rainwater, native wildflowers, and multi-use native perennial plants in the water harvesting earthworks surrounding the school. The students then became the plant stewards/foresters.
• Installation of two native wildflower identification poster signs at community bulletin boards on opposite sides of the neighborhood thanks to in-kind donations by Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond and the Dunbar Pavillion
• Installation of twelve bilingual Green Infrastructure (GI) educational signs at green infrastructure sites throughout the neighborhood thanks to n-kind donation (by Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond)
• 32 5-gallon native trees planted
• 265 1-gallon native understory plants planted
• 3 pounds of Native wildflower seed sown
• 3 pounds of Native Restoration seed mix sown
• Extended our annual Rain, Tree, and & Understory Plantings program into West University Neighborhood