Tree Foundation of Kern


To donate time, energy and talent to an urban forestry cause

Many careers within the urban forestry movement grew out from a labor of love. Volunteers who give of their time, talent and expertise often find that they are the first in line when a new position or job opening becomes available.

For those wondering what career to embark on or those considering a career change, volunteering can offer a first-hand glimpse into many fields in urban forestry.

Volunteering opened a new career path for secretary Dawnyel Brandon who spent a summer with the Tree Foundation of Kern. Those months gave her a better understanding of the issues confronting urban forestry and what working with trees was all about. She has returned to college to study forestry.

"If you aren't sure of what you want to do in life, volunteer," Brandon said. "It'll give you direction. Everyone should volunteer at least once. Guaranteed, they'll do it again."

"The biggest satisfaction about volunteering is that it's an accomplishment," Brandon said. "You go out and 6 a.m. to dig up and move trees, make phone calls, for no pay. You didn't have to do it. It's a sense of pride because it's your work. It's very fulfilling."

In addition to the personal satisfaction derived from volunteering, the experience gained can often lead to personal growth and can help when looking for employment.

"I've been able to meet a lot of successful people who opened a lot of doors for a better future for me," Brandon said. "I have something to show now. I'm a person who is willing to make a difference in society."

Dana Adams, executive director of the Tree Foundation, said Brandon was a shoe-in when a new part-time position for a community project coordinator was created because those in the organization were already familiar with her qualifications and work ethic.

Jacob Rudnick became acquainted with the Tree Foundation of Kern while researching trees for his high school agriculture class. His enthusiasm and interest in trees and the environment coupled with his experience in landscape maintenance led to the creation of an internship position. Rudnick believes his volunteer work helped set him apart from other candidates when applying for college scholarships in pursuit of a degree in ornamental horticulture at UC Davis.

Volunteers are an integral part of the urban forestry movement and many successful projects would never have been completed without their hard work and dedication.

"Each year the Tree Foundation inspires more and more volunteers to plant and care for trees," said board president Virginia Moorhouse. Those volunteers, Moorhouse said, are the source of shade, a better environment and a deeper appreciation of the importance of trees in the community.

Requires: Big heart.