Spring 2015 Master Volunteer Forest Stewards Graduates

PUEBLO, Colo. – In April, Fourteen students recently graduated from the second-ever Colorado Master Volunteer Forest Stewards course. The 36-hour training was sponsored by the Colorado State Forest Service, Colorado State University Extension and Pueblo County and held at the Extension office in Pueblo.

The six-week course is designed to acquaint participants with key concepts of individual tree care and general principles of natural resource management. After the initial course training, graduates can now volunteer 36 hours in tree assistance to the CSFS, CSU Extension, and local tree boards or other agency partners such as the City of Pueblo Parks and Recreation Department, Colorado Parks and Wildlife and local conservation districts.

“The participants are very enthusiastic and have been a real pleasure to work with these past several weeks,” said John Grieve, district forester for the CSFS Cañon City District. “We all look forward to the participants’ continued learning about trees and forests in our area, as well as the future volunteer possibilities.”

The graduates, all from Pueblo or Pueblo West except Kim Barickman (Rye, Colo.), include: Bobby Akins, Jose Baca, Carl Beeman, Michael Bryant, Anne Casey, Jean Eskra, Lynne Gnaizda-Ranes, Jerry Hoisington, Diane Patterson, Marion Schaeffer, Glenn Walen, Jim Wickers and Edward Wright.


District Forester Donna Davis (left), CSFS La Junta District, teaches students how to identify, care for and manage trees in plains communities.
District Forester Donna Davis (left), CSFS La Junta District, teaches students how to identify, care for and manage trees in plains communities.

Spring 2014 Master Volunteer Forest Stewards Graduates

LA JUNTA, Colo. – In 2014, nineteen students graduated from the first “Colorado Master Volunteer Forest Stewards (CMVFS) – Plains” course. The 36-hour training was sponsored by the Colorado State Forest Service and the Colorado Tree Coalition, and held at Otero Junior College and the CSFS La Junta District office.

The month-long course was designed to acquaint participants with key concepts of individual tree care and general principles of natural resource management. After the initial course training, graduates can now better volunteer in tree assistance to the CSFS, local tree boards or other agency partners including, but not limited to, the Colorado Cooperative Extension, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, local Conservation Districts and Natural Resource Conservation Service offices.

Along with developing trained volunteers in southeast Colorado, the program also seeks to enhance awareness, knowledge and appreciation of trees on the plains and in communities in the area.

“The participants are very enthusiastic and have been a real pleasure to grow,” said Donna Davis, district forester for the CSFS La Junta District.

“We all look forward to the volunteer possibilities in the future, and to a continued enjoyment learning more about maintaining the health and growth of our trees here in southeast Colorado.”

19 Graduates and Their Communities

  • Phyllis Adkins – Rocky Ford
  • Dana Barth – Holly
  • Norma Cannon – La Junta
  • Heather Craft – La Veta
  • Nancy Frieden – Las Animas
  • Patty Johnson – La Junta
  • E. Werner Karlin – La Junta
  • Cody Long – La Junta
  • Dave Martin – Cheraw
  • David Miller – Lamar
  • Mark Miller – La Junta
  • Janeen Nelson – Rocky Ford
  • Charles Pannebaker – La Junta
  • Fred Sassone – Olney Springs
  • Sylvia Sassone – Olney Springs
  • Edward Vela – La Junta
  • Norma Verhoeff – McClave
  • Gaynell Williams – Swink
  • Karen Wolf – Trinidad

Giving Back

Heather Craft, La Veta Tree Board member, is the first person to receive her CSFS Master Volunteer Forest Steward Name Tag in Colorado. She completed 36 volunteer hours with trees and their care; and documented her activities. Her accomplishments since graduating include:

  • supporting the Town of La Veta Tree Board, including Arbor Day planning and planting with help from a fourth-grade class;
  • supporting a landowner with tree selection;
  • assisting with mapping and planning a nature park in the town;
  • involvement with plantings, tree trimming and watering, and;
  • tree board administration.

Other Graduates’ Activities

  • Phyllis Adkins works as Rocky Ford Tree Board Chair with continued enthusiasm for trees and their care.
  • Jeneen Nelson spurred interest in the CMVFS course, which has led to a CMVFS course scheduled for February 2015 in cooperation with the CSU Extension Pueblo office.
  • Fred and Sylvia Sassone assisted a landowner with a write-up to the Town of Sugar City; they also finished the Project Learning Tree (PLT) training and now can share with schools in their county.
  • Norma Verhoeff wrote an article for the Lamar Ledger.
  • Norma and Lance Verhoeff became new Plains Tree Farm Certified.
  • Gaynell Williams attended the 2014 PLT Fire Ecology Institute for educators.
  • Several other CMVFS graduates work for partner agencies, several are teachers, and all are landowners who positively affect their surroundings through forest stewardship.