Certified Volunteer Training: TreeKeeper

TreeKeepers is Trees Atlanta’s longest running education program. This program trains volunteers to become a volunteer leader for small groups at our volunteer projects. TreeKeepers work along side staff coordinators, but some TreeKeepers advance further to organize and lead their own community projects.

The program consists of a blend of classroom and hands-on tree education taken over the course of 8 consecutive Saturday. Sessions are conducted in the summer from late July through September (excluding Labor Day weekend). By the end of the program, students will have acquired a broad overview of basic tree knowledge, the role of trees in our community, and how to care for trees. Students are strongly encouraged (but not required) to earn their Certified TreeKeeper recognition by completing the 24-hour project leadership requirement.

Training is for all skill and knowledge levels. The 8 classes are taught by university professors, industry professionals, and Trees Atlanta staff. Sessions are interactive and include both classroom lectures and hands-on demonstrations indoors and out.

Curriculum Topics

  • Tree Identification
  • Tree Selection and Care
  • Tree Diseases and Invasive Plants
  • Proper Tree Pruning Techniques
  • Urban Heat Island and Canopy Cooling Effect
  • Project Leadership Skills


Students receive classroom resources, including classroom handouts, access online to class presentations, a Peterson Field Guide to Eastern Trees, a young native tree, coffee and light snacks during classroom sessions, and more. As an ongoing benefit, students are able to “audit” any class again in the future if classroom space allows.

Students who earn their Certified TreeKeeper recognition are awarded a Certified TreeKeeper hat personalized with their name.

How to become a Certified Volunteer TreeKeeper

After completing the training sessions, students can become a Certified TreeKeeper when they meet the project leadership requirement. Students can design their own plan to complete 24 hours of volunteer service in a leadership role. This can be completed with Trees Atlanta or with another organization that is related to urban forestry.  There are many paths to meeting this requirement and common examples include:

  • Organizing a tree planting project for your neighborhood, including recruiting volunteers and facilitating scheduling with the neighborhood association and Trees Atlanta.
  • Preparing and presenting to a group about Trees Atlanta, our mission, or a specific program.
  • Developing a special project to address a tree-related need in one’s community.

Project leadership is differentiated from regular volunteer service by the depth and scope of work that the TreeKeeper takes. TreeKeepers will have the support and guidance of a Trees Atlanta staff at all times, and should work closely with staff members to ensure that the project is within the capacity and mission of Trees Atlanta.

When is the next TreeKeeper Training Class? Classes meet in person or online on Saturdays from 9 am to noon from late July through September (there is no class during Labor Day weekend). Check our Calendar to register for the next class. Find the upcoming TreeKeeper class registration in July events; if no event is found, registration is not yet open or is closed until the next year.

Is there is fee? Yes. However we offer a limited number of scholarships each year for residents of the City of Atlanta. Apply here for partial or full scholarship. Application closes one month prior to the start of the training. Please contact with questions.

Where are the classes? We meet at our offices at 825 Warner Street SW in the Oakland City neighborhood of Atlanta. Our classes are a blend of online and in-person sessions depending upon the topic or demonstration. All offsite locations are nearby our offices or otherwise specified ahead of time.


Have more questions? Please email

See all Volunteer Pathways, including all Certified Volunteer training programs.