By Derek Lirange
Tower Hill staff
As a result of our Master Tree Stewards Training Program, Worcester Tree Initiative, an outreach department of Tower Hill Botanic Garden, recently had the pleasure of working in Dean Park in Shrewsbury on a trail maintenance project. We were asked to come teach volunteers of the Shrewsbury Trails Committee about tree pruning and to make recommendations for the needed trail work. The event was organized by Susan Colwell, a Tower Hill member, who recently completed the classroom portion of the Master Tree Stewards Training Program. She is working in partnership with the Committee President and fellow Tower Hill member, Melanie Magee.

We were delighted that Susan had taken this initiative and eager to help extend our knowledge in such a practical way. The trail in question runs along the eastern bank of the lake and was formerly a fitness trail, housing exercise equipment along a running circuit. In the intervening years the trail has become wooded and the equipment has been removed. It now serves as a pleasant place to walk or jog along the water in the woods. Some of the maintenance needs in the park included trimming branches growing into the trail, cleaning deadwood out of trees, and removing some snags, standing dead trees, near the trail’s edge. The group is also taking on an advocacy role with the town’s park commission to request the biggest jobs be done by the park staff.

This is all part of the way that we’re extending our tree stewards further into the community. If you’re interested in organizing a planting or tree/shrub care program in Worcester County you can contact me at to pitch your project.

If you’re interested in becoming a Master Tree Steward yourself, the Master Tree Steward Training Program is offered in October at Tower Hill Botanic Garden. Look for it in our upcoming events calendar later this year and please feel free to reach out to inform us of your interest.
Derek Lirange is a community forester for Worcester Tree Initiative and Tower Hill Botanic Garden.