Faculty Advisor

Christie Klimas


The urban ecosystems we inhabit provide essential ecosystem services to humans, such as air pollution removal, as well as effective means to avoid costs related to urban development, such as stormwater treatment. A better understanding of the value of ecosystem services and their spatial distribution in urban areas is vital to widespread, wholistic understanding of the relationship of environmental, economic, and social conditions. As such, it should be a component of education in grades 6-12, college, and continuing education. i-Tree Landscape is a free, online model developed by the USDA Forest Service in which users can select a geography (i.e. census block) to analyze ecosystem services provided by trees, explore demographics and forest composition, and prioritize tree planting and management activities. The program has the potential to act as a valuable tool for education, research, and advocacy related to urban and community forestry by providing data sets that are both easy to access and understand. However, as it is a recent addition to the i-Tree suite of tools, knowledge of its capabilities is relatively rare among urban and community forestry practitioners, and i-Tree is virtually unknown to the general public. Supported by a grant from the USDA Forest Service, this article describes an effort to assist in the dissemination of i-Tree Landscape, and the creation of educational materials outlining the functions of i-Tree Landscape and possible applications. Based on conversations with education and urban forestry experts, we have created educational materials for in-person workshops and have begun planning for modules that will be published on the i-Tree website. These materials are designed pertaining to the needs and experiences of the various intended user groups such as students in middle school, high school, and environmentally-focused college programs, community environmental organizations, and urban forestry professionals. It is our hope that effective educational materials and dissemination will help the people most likely to benefit from i-Tree Landscape’s features to feel confident navigating the program and using it to serve their particular needs.