Activist group raps Arlington officials for lax care of trees in drought


 Dying Trees in Arlington

 By Elaine Simmons

September 29, 2019

Timetable trumps trees as Westover school is approved

 On September 21, ATAG member Angela Dickey and others presented a petition to the County Board: “Trees: Vital Tool to Moderate Flooding and Climate Change.” 153 residents, from over 40 civic associations, signed the petition at ATAG’s booth during the County Fair. 

ATAG's Angela Dickey advocates for trees at County Board

ATAG’s Angela Dickey advocates for trees at County Board

ATAG Petition:

Petition: Trees: Vital Tool to Moderate Flooding and Climate Change

ATAG Petition: Trees: Vital Tool to Moderate Flooding and Climate Change

Peter Rousselot’s recommendations: 

Peter’s Take: Arlington’s Stormwater Planning is Broken


A reminder of what Arlington flooding looks like:

Kennebec and 11th Streets Flooded on 7-8-19

Kennebec and 11th Streets Flooded on 7-8-19

September 21, 2019

Way to “preserve” those trees, Arlington County!

September 21, 2019 at the New Town Square in Green Valley, Arlington

County trees destroyed in "Tree Preservation Area"

County trees destroyed in “Tree Preservation Area”

Another view of trees destroyed in "Tree Preservation Area"

Another view of trees destroyed in “Tree Preservation Area”

Meanwhile, next door at the Dr. Charles R. Drew Elementary School, APS celebrates school ribbon cutting while ignoring dead and dying trees — September 21, 2019  – 

Dead tree at Dr. Charles R. Drew Elementary School

Dead tree at Dr. Charles R. Drew Elementary School

Another example of Arlington Public Schools replanting efforts:  Wakefield High School.

More letters to the Arlington School Board:  Save the tree grove at Reed School!

Residents questioning APS representatives at Reed School grove

Residents questioning APS representatives at Reed School grove 9/16/2019

Marked for destruction, 9/16/2019

Marked for destruction, 9/16/2019

Letter strongly encourages the School Board to encourage the design team to make some small tweaks that could potentially save one or several more trees at Reed school

Joshua Handler

Arlington Urban Forestry Commission Commissioner

September 19, 2019

HOAs and Condo Associations:

Sustainable solutions to landscaping headaches

Friday Oct 4 or Saturday Nov 2, 2019  (9:30am – 1pm)

NVCC Annandale campus

On October 4th and November 2 you have an opportunity to attend a half day symposium on the importance of sustainable landscape design in community associations. 

Letters to County Board concerning Benjamin Banneker Park

September 17, 2019

Can We Turn Down the Temperature on Urban Heat Islands?


Yale Environment 360, September 12, 2019

Chicago resident struggles with heat

Chicago resident struggles with heat

The latest from the APS Design and Construction office on the Reed School Project

September 6, 2019

Good day Everyone,

In response to the feedback and concerns we have heard from residents as regards the Reed project and the tree removal we have scheduled a community meeting on Monday September 16, 2019 at 6:30pm at the Reed site, we plan to walk the site and discuss the design and the tree impacts. APS, its design team and Arlington County Urban Forestry staff will be present. We will meet at one of the existing basketball courts unless there is inclement weather. In case there is inclement weather please gather in the corridor area between the school and the library. This is planned as a walking site meeting to address the concerns and issues. Kindly share this meeting notice with your community members. Please let me know If you have any questions.

For information on the project the link to the project website is listed below:  


Ajibola (Aji) Robinson PMP. Project Manager,

Arlington Public Schools; Design and Construction

ATAG Presentation to Arlington School Board, September 5, 2019

[B]efore you authorize the cutting of mature trees at Reed School, APS will have cut down approximately 640 trees at five schools within the last five years. Many of these trees could have been saved had the School Board been taking its environmental stewardship responsibilities seriously.


Arlington Parks Department Launches Annual Tree Giveaway



Citizens meeting with Adam Lipera, Arlington County Forester, on 9/3/19 re the planned  destruction of trees at Reed School park in Westover

This beautiful, shady grove of mature trees is scheduled to be destroyed by the Arlington School Board. The destruction of this grove will remove many large, rain-absorbing trees from the hill just above the scene of some of the worst of last July’s flooding.

As Rising Heat Bakes U.S. Cities, The Poor Often Feel It Most

NPR, Meg Anderson, Sean McMinn

September 3, 2019

In dozens of major U.S. cities, low-income neighborhoods are more likely to be hotter than their wealthier counterparts, according to a joint investigation by NPR and the University of Maryland’s Howard Center for Investigative Journalism.

September 2, 2019

APS to take another look at tree-preservation on Westover site

August 30, 2019

Reed School trees

Reed School trees

Facing community unrest in Westover, Arlington Public Schools plans to take another look at the potential of saving more trees during construction of a new elementary school on North McKinley Road near Washington Boulevard.

Letter: APS plan to remove trees is an outrage

Catherine Dowling, Arlington

InsideNOVA, August 28, 2019

Arlington Public Schools soon will be razing the relatively new Reed School building to construct a newer school, the planned four-story building unprecedented in the quiet residential neighborhood of Westover. 

. . .

APS will be destroying 40-plus trees on the entire site, with the promise to plant little new ones, primarily around the new staff parking lots. They are planning to pretty much clear-cut the massive trees – healthy, mature, beautiful and home to many kinds of fauna –  well away from the construction, and not replace them.

Four civic associations send joint letter to County Board on flooding and storm water

August 19, 2019

“We understand that the increase in impermeable surfaces, loss of mature trees, and warming atmosphere have and will cause more frequent and more extreme flooding.

. . .

“We also understand that the storm water pipe system is woefully inadequate and incoherent, and that little has been done to mitigate this problem.”

Storm drain pipe mismatches

Storm drain pipe mismatches in Westover parking lot


ATAG hosts booth at the Arlington County Fair

Getting out the message — August 16 – 18, 2019

Volunteer Liz Kirby welcomes visitors to the ATAG booth

Volunteer Liz Kirby welcomes visitors to the ATAG booth

Visitors at ATAG booth at County Fair 2019

Visitors at ATAG booth at County Fair 2019

New Arlington investigative journalism website created:

Latest report from Friends of Upton Hill on recent storms: 

Large volumes of water running off the parking lot at the top of Upton Hill negatively impacts the forest below, including the sensitive wetlands area in the NE corner.

August 9, 2019

Peter’s Take: County Policies, Practices, Exacerbate Lubber Run Flooding

ARLnow Opinion

The Arlington County Board’s repeated claims of powerlessness to take action to protect our environment ring hollow.

Rising global temperatures wreak havoc on urban “heat islands”

Axios, Kim Hart

August 7, 2019

Most U.S. cities are at risk of experiencing extreme heat thanks to the “urban heat island effect” that’s causing cities to warm as much as 50% faster than the rest of the country.

Why it matters: July was the hottest month ever recorded globally, and it was especially brutal for major metros.

Trees can’t escape the extreme heat. But they do have some impressive coping mechanisms.

July 20, 2018

Washington Post

On a micro level, trees shelter us from the infernal summer sun. On a macro level and in an age of global warming, the ability of trees to cool the environment while exchanging carbon dioxide for oxygen makes tree planting a no-brainer.

Peter’s Take: Arlington’s Stormwater Planning is Broken

ARLnow Opinion, July 17, 2019

Arlington’s massive July 8 flash flooding — vividly captured by in videos and photos — exposes yet again Arlington’s failed approach to stormwater planning. That is the emergency Arlington also should have declared last week.

July 2019 Arlington flooding

July 2019 Arlington flooding

To follow up with Peter in person:

Flood Prevention in Arlington

When: Wednesday, July 24th/ 10:00 am to 11:00 AM 

Description: Arlington Neighborhood Village is hosting a coffee and conversation with ArlNow opinion leader Peter Rousselot on recent flooding events, and policy changes the county can make to curb flooding in our county in the face of climate change.

Location: The Springs Apartments, Multipurpose Room, 4318 North Carlin Springs Road Arlington Virginia Learn more at:


Washington Post: After years of talk — and flooding — Arlington residents demand fixes to storm drain system

She and other residents say the county government has taken far too long to study the problem without making any fixes, especially in an era where climate change is triggering more intense and frequent storms.

Five years ago, several projects to fix Arlington’s aged storm drain system were on the capital improvements program list, only to quietly fall off without explanation.

. . .

He said that board member Erik Gutshall (D), after listening to him, said: “Perhaps you should reconsider where you live.”

By Patricia Sullivan

Washington Post, July 13, 2019

Letter: Do not let Arlington government off hook on flooding

By Suzanne Smith Sundburg, July 31, 2019


In response to:

Sun Gazette editorial, July 25, 2019

Tree Steward Volunteer Training Class Begins September 24, 2019

Tree Stewards Outdoor Tree ID Walk

July 13, 2019

Fall Module on Planting, Tree Anatomy and Tree ID  

Tuesdays, Sept. 24, Oct. 1, Oct. 15, Oct 22 7 – 8:45 PM and

Outdoor Tree Planting Oct. 4, 14, 19, 26 (choose 2)

TreeStewards are volunteers dedicated to improving the health of our urban trees through educational programs, tree planting and tree maintenance throughout the community.

We work with the arborist staff of Arlington, Alexandria, and Falls Church to provide tree care in public spaces, assist in planting trees, and notifying staff of tree problems. We provide education through our Tree Information Tables at farmers’ markets and libraries, Earth Day events, plant sales, and other neighborhood events. As concerned citizens, we advocate to protect our urban tree canopy.

Click HERE for more information.

A new study suggests that restoring forests could help reverse global warming.

By Margaret Renkl, The New York Times, July 22, 2019

The secret to curbing your cigarette, alcohol and junk food cravings could be spending more time outside

MarketWatch, July 12, 2019

Why flood waters are rising in Arlington

Letter to the Editor, by Steve Young, Arlington, July 18, 2019

Climate Change Fills Storms With More Rain, Analysis Shows

By Kendra Pierre-Louis, The New York Times, July 11, 2019

And the structure of cities may exacerbate the problem even further, said Gabriele Villarini, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Iowa.

At issue: Dirt absorbs water, but paved surfaces such as roads, sidewalks and even the footprint of building homes that make up cities don’t. The end result is that less water gets absorbed and the excess inevitably has to go somewhere.


Portable classrooms could doom tree at Arlington elementary

BREAKING: Torrential Rain Causes Major Flash Flooding in Arlington County

See also Flooding risk increases when trees removed 


Kennebec and 11th Streets Flooded on 7-8-19

Kennebec and 11th Streets Flooded on 7-8-19

Flooding in North Arlington July 8, 2019

Flooding in North Arlington July 8, 2019



As Floods Keep Coming, Cities Pay Residents to Move

By John Schwartz, The New York Times, July 6, 2019

“We’re starting to see evidence that the number of extreme events will increase,” said Barbara Mayes Boustead, a climate scientist and an author of the latest installment of the National Climate Assessment, a report written by 13 federal agencies that explores both the current and future impacts of climate change

How to stop an insect apocalypse

By Katharina Wecker,, January 3, 2019

We might not love creepy-crawlies, but if insects were to vanish within a century, as some scientists predict, there would be dire consequences for us humans. Is it too late to save bees, bugs and butterflies?


Arlington officials aim to do better on tree maintenance


County will hold public meeting July 17 at 6:30 PM on the Gulf Branch “restoration” project

While developers are one part of the mature tree loss in Arlington, the County is an even bigger problem with its extensive building of facilities, roads, curbs, utilities, and yes even parks and bike trails. No one denies that all these are necessary to some degree, the real question is do they need as much land disturbance as suggested. Rather than building a new Parks and Recreation headquarters in Lubber Run removing over 100 trees, could it have been located in the Rosslyn-Ballston Corridor where facilities and parking already exist? Does the planning for any construction project emphasize early and throughout the process the important environmental issues like the Chesapeake Bay and mature tree loss? A good example is the planned stream “restoration” project in the Gulf Branch Nature park which will remove numerous trees and permanently change the natural environment. The County’s own survey of unmet recreational needs shows overwhelming support for more natural areas and hiking trails!

If you would like to encourage the County to value our disappearing natural areas, there is an important opportunity at Gulf Branch. On Wednesday, July 17 at 6:30 pm at the Nature Center, 3608 N Military Rd. there will be a Public Meeting on the Gulf Branch Stream “Restoration” project with opportunities to provide input and feedback. The County contact is Lily Whitesell – 703-228-3042 or Please attend if you can because the County will listen the more people speak up.


Are McMansions Making People Any Happier?


Tree advocates promise to take a hard look at new Arlington report

by SCOTT McCAFFREY, Sun Gazette Newspapers

June 7, 2019

The May 31, 2019 County Memo on the Dawn Redwood:

Dawn Redwood Memo May 2019

Chesapeake Bay Foundation VoiCeS (Volunteers as Chesapeake Stewards) Course Starts June 6

This is the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s basic course on environmental stewardship and advocacy, highly recommended by those who have attended.  

For more information and to register, click HERE.

(Links below won’t work.)

VoiCeS 2019 Course

VoiCeS 2019 Course

VoiCeS 2019 Course

VoiCeS 2019 Course

Virginia Big Tree Workshop 2019

If you’re a lover of big trees, this is the event for you! 

Friday, June 21 in Charlottesville

 –  LEARN about the Virginia and National Big Tree Programs 

–  PRACTICE field techniques for measuring and scoring Big Trees 

–  MEET fellow tree lovers

Who should attend:

 – Tree Stewards, Master Naturalists, Master Gardeners 

–  Citizen Scientists 

–  Arborists, Foresters, Horticulturists, Ecologists 

–  Big Tree Enthusiasts

Click HERE for more information and to sign up.

Community Opposition To Arlington Zoning Changes That Would Reduce Our Tree Canopy and Degrade Single-Family Neighborhoods

Mary Glass letter to County Board

Urban Forestry Commission (UFC) letter to County Board

John Wingard letter to County Board

BMCA Accessory dwelling letter to County Board


Claremont Civic Association Asks County Board To Delay Consideration of the Accessory Dwelling Proposal

(May 9, 2019)

Dear Arlington County Board Members,

On behalf of the Claremont Civic Association we are submitting the attached letter to ask for the County Board to delay consideration of the Accessory Dwelling proposal.

Respectfully submitted,

Board of the Claremont Civic Association

POC – Gabe Snow / 703-489-0217 
Attached letter:


See Arlington County website for more information.

Nature’s Dangerous Decline ‘Unprecedented’; Species Extinction Rates ‘Accelerating’

Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) (May 7, 2019)


Business as usual is not acceptable when it comes to protecting our planet

The Washington Post Opinion (May 6, 2019)

Tree Only a Memory, But Supporters Remain in Arlington

Just one battle in the fight to save tree canopy.

Shirley Ruhe, Arlington Connection (May 5, 2019)


Dawn redwood loses battle to development in August, 2018. Photo by Shirley Ruhe.

Dawn redwood loses battle to development in August, 2018. Photo by Shirley Ruhe.

Rethink Energy: Free Shade Trees Planted For You

ARLnow (May 4, 2019)


Peter’s Take:  What Arlington Should Do to Prepare For More Flooding

Peter Rousselot, ARLnow (April 24, 2019)

Tree advocates press Arlington officials on decision-making process

ATAG members join Eco-Action Arlington’s stream clean-up on Volunteer Arlington Day (April 23)


Peter’s Take:  Salt Dome Master Plan Avoids Third Fiasco, ARLnow


ATAG take:

In our rapidly developing County, proposed changes in the uses of land all come with direct and opportunity costs and must be justified by data that backs up proposed changes.

The County is being paved over at an unsustainable rate, and flooding is a severe problem. 

In Washington Post (3/1/19)

County Board Chairman Christian Dorsey calls for you to send proposals of “asks” of Amazon:

Arlington County will be requesting cooperation from Amazon. Please email the County Board and Manager urging them to seek concessions to save matures trees and acquire permeable land.  Arlington County‘s POPS (Public Spaces Master Plan) page 70 “actions” plan includes acquiring additional natural acres to serve the growing population of Arlington.  Please request that Arlington work with Amazon to move this goal forward to thoughtfully balance the new development and growth with much needed natural space. (For one idea see ATAG statement made at 9/22/18 County Board meetingbelow)

You can also join County Board public speaking time 8:30 am Saturday March 16

Voice your ideas NOW on environmental issues and green space!


Email your comments to County Board members (, County Manager (, and Vincent Verweij, urban forester with the Department of Parks and Recreation (

One response to chairman Dorsey’s call for “asks”:

March 6, 2019

Dear Chair Dorsey, Arlington County Board members and County Manager Schwartz:
In response to your request for public proposals for “asks” that the County should seek from Amazon, I suggest placing the preservation of Arlington’s dwindling mature tree canopy and the acquisition of permeable, natural public land at the top of your list.
In Figure 3 in Arlington’s 2016 iTree report, you can see the very small percentage of mature trees still surviving in Arlington County.
Percent of trees by size copy.jpg
Larger, mature trees provide exponentially more benefit than smaller, younger trees. As sustainable, solar-powered superstars, these gentle giants rid more pollution from our air and water, sequester greater amounts of carbon, detain and reduce larger volumes of stormwater runoff, and mitigate dangerous urban heat generated by the built environment.
Below is advice from the American Society of Landscape Architects:
“One key take-away for local officials, planners, and design professionals: Do as much as you can to keep those old trees in place. It will be much harder to accomplish the same positive climate impact with younger trees.”
Leveraging the arrangement with Amazon to preserve Arlington’s remaining mature canopy and acquire and conserve additional natural land provides two useful benefits:
1) It allows the County Board to meet its commitments as stated in the Oct. 2018 Public Spaces Master Plan (PSMP/POPS), which includes these “action” items:
Add at least 30 acres of new public space over the next ten years.
Protect, restore, and expand natural resources and trees.
The preservation of the mature tree canopy and acquisition of natural land is also consistent with the statistically valid results from DPR’s 2015 needs assessment survey (see slide 14) in which trails, natural areas and wildlife habitat were the top three outdoor facilities identified by Arlingtonians as the most important investments.
2) With the ongoing proliferation of impervious surfaces, identified as increasing approximately 9 acres per year, preservation of the mature tree canopy and natural land is key to minimizing the need for adding costly, man-made stormwater management infrastructure to replace what nature gives us for free.
It also lessens the stormwater impact on our already overburdened stormwater management system by naturally reducing the speed and volume of runoff that leads to flooding.
In summary, “most mature trees are not a renewable resource within our lifetime.” And Arlington isn’t making any more natural land. Few investments will have greater positive, long-term impact on Arlington’s environment than preserving and conserving Arlington’s remaining mature tree canopy and acquiring natural land — while some of each still exists.
Amazon employees and managers can reap these benefits along with Arlington residents. I urge the County Manager and County Board to leverage its deal with Amazon to expand this largely self-maintaining, long-term public benefit.
Thank you for your consideration.
Arlington County resident Suzanne Smith Sundburg


Falls Church Tree Commission releases its 2018 annual report

Falls Church Tree Commission 2018 Annual Report

March 19, 2019

ATAG public comment statement to Arlington County Board on Sept 22, 2018

Margie Bell, Arlington Tree Action Group

Subject: POPS draft page 70 “actions” plan to acquire additional natural acres

As building expansion, paving, and tree removal are increasing on county, school and private properties—

I am here to urge you to live up to the POPS draft page 70 “actions” plan to acquire additional natural acres to serve the growing population of Arlington. I ask you to be the ones to put Arlington on the map for forward thinking in this regard — while there is still land to acquire.  

Erik, we have talked about the concept of an “emerald necklace” of natural spaces like green ribbons throughout Arlington. I urge you all to take the leadership that will leave an essential  green legacy in our rapidly urbanized community. 

Purchasing parcels of tear down homes now is more critical than ever – while they are still available. These should not be manicured paved parcels, but instead small nature preserves, especially in neighborhoods where clear cutting and large footprints are replacing our necessary healthy green vents. 

Properties near these natural parcels would become more valuable, thus adding to our tax base; and Arlington could be a nationwide leader, proudly pointing to its unique contribution to a genuinely green developing area.

These would require little maintenance, other than removal of invasives a couple times a year — a good volunteer project for the likes of tree stewards, neighborhood civic associations, and other community groups.

Please make this your legacy to honor Arlington’s green commitments by purchasing land throughout clear cut neighborhoods to create small nature preserves while we can.

(The places we can save money throughout the county are relevant here—and for another discussion.)

POPs draft: see page 70

Greener Childhood Associated With Happier Adulthood


Wildlife documented by neighbors of Williamsburg MS and Discovery School over the last few years

February 19, 2019

‘Ghost streams’ sound supernatural, but their impact on your health is very real

Developers buried our streams. It’s about time we exhume them.

Popular Science

February 5, 2019

Related:  39% of Arlington County streams are buried (see page 20 of this 2015 dissertation):

Bill Supports Using Trees to Achieve Water Quality Goals

Delegate Keam’s HB 2333 gives localities important options

Chesapeake Bay Foundation January 2019

[Update January 30, 2019:  Unfortunately this bill died in committee.  Nevertheless, it represents a good approach to saving tree canopy and hopefully will be revived next year and be passed into law.]

Peter’s Take: DPR Misled County Board, Public on Parks Plan

January 17, 2019

Friends of Norfolk’s Environment see a larger tree canopy in the city

January 6, 2019

The Virginian-Pilot


Trees: The Best Carbon Sequestration Method to Fight Climate Change

December 22, 2018

Though not recognized as being solar-powered, carbon-sequestration devices, trees perform this essential task every day of their lives. Rather than building expensive, human-engineered “solutions,” we must take better advantage (and care) of what the good lord has already given us. Wishing you all happy holidays and a greener 2019! —Suzanne Sundburg

The Best Technology for Fighting Climate Change Isn’t a Technology

Forests are the most powerful and efficient carbon-capture system on the planet

Recent scientific research confirms that forests and other “natural climate solutions” are absolutely essential in mitigating climate change, thanks to their carbon sequestering and storage capabilities. In fact, natural climate solutions can help us achieve 37 percent of our climate target, even though they currently receive only 2.5 percent of public climate financing.

Here’s a quote from the New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation:

However we don’t have to wait for high tech sequestration. We can increase carbon sequestration now by working with some experts. They’re called trees, and they have almost 350 million years’ experience in sequestering carbon. Trees, like other green plants, use photosynthesis to convert carbon dioxide (CO2) into sugar, cellulose and other carbon-containing carbohydrates that they use for food and growth. Trees are unique in their ability to lock up large amounts of carbon in their wood, and continue to add carbon as they grow.[Alternately, cutting down trees releases CO2.]

And the Alabama Forestry Commission provided calculations to determine tree biomass and directly measure the carbon storage of trees: [Hint: The larger the tree, the more carbon it stores.]

If both New York and Alabama can agree on trees’ value in carbon sequestration, then Arlington County should be able to grasp this important concept. If you want to fight climate change, you need to preserve your mature tree canopy and improve the long-term survival of the new trees being planted. Below are a couple of after-and-before pictures from the Lubber Run community center site:

Lubber Run Site - Old Driveway - was the parking lot area

Lubber Run Site – Old Driveway – was the parking lot area

12-19-18 Community Center’s driveway apron on N. Park Drive (N. Geo. Mason Drive is a couple hundred yards to the right)

2017-07 Mid-block crossing looking from Barrett on Park Dr

2017-07 Mid-block crossing looking from Barrett on Park Dr

And here’s the same area (the driveway apron is to the right) taken in July 2017.

Audrey Moore, Fairfax County supervisor and environmentalist, dies at 89

(December 19, 2018)


ATAG member Angela Dickey thanks Board member John Vihstadt for his work on complex issues including climate change and storm water runoff.

ATAG's Angela Dickey thanks John Vihstadt

ATAG’s Angela Dickey thanks John Vihstadt

Recap of 11/17 County Board Meeting;
see you at 12/15 CB meeting!  
Stand up for green space at 12/15 county board meeting as 
Arlington deals with development, Amazon, etc! 
At the Nov. 15th County Board meeting, in a meeting room packed with residents galvanized by the prospect of Amazon coming to Arlington, Board members heard citizens concerned about: impacts of HQ2; loss of trees in parks; need for an open POPS process and improved scheduling of field use; lack of transparency; and other challenges.
Video at link below, along with a link to County page on Amazon.
Among Public Comments raised: Friends of Upton Hill, with ATAG standing in support, expressed alarm at non-transparent decisions affecting tree loss and cost increases at this NoVa Park; a call for an “inclusive” POPS process that includes improved accuracy of field use scheduling; and a citizen saying he and his wife had to leave Arlington because they could not afford a studio in Crystal City (pre-HQ2).
Regarding residents accessing confidentiality agreements regarding HQ2, several Board members stated most negotiating was done “at the State level.”  County attorney agreed they were not privy to a lot of pertinent information; one Member cited a “firewall” between what the State and County knew.
Following discussion of the major delay in construction of a Courthouse Plaza amenity, the one independent Member posited the site plan for the project was not being taken “seriously” and urged greater attention to transparency and implementation of plans. Mr. Vihstadt applauded the Manager appointing an Open Data Advisory Committee; at the same time, he noted Arlington meets just 9 of the 31 metrics the Sunlight Foundation set in its Open Data Policy Guidelines. Manager indicated that meeting such metrics is “not the only thing” staff have to spend time and energy on, and referred to “privacy aspects.”  Manager is invited to give the Board an update on the Open Data initiative at the Board meeting on December 15.
Speaking of the CB meeting on Saturday, Dec.15, (Public Comment at 8:30 am), at 2100 Clarendon Blvd, Rm 307, we hope some of you are free to speak on protecting our green infrastructure and support other speakers. Join us, too, after CB meeting– we will meet at nearby at Corner Bakery (2111 Wilson Blvd) to review priority steps to protect our environment–for us, and generations to come. Planning for big changes makes attending CB meetings and discussing next steps especially timely.
11/17/18 County Board Meeting:

Healthy, large, mature trees destroyed to build a parking lot at Lubber Run Park

(September 21, 2018)

Tree destruction at Lubber Run

Tree slaughter at Lubber Run Park

Tree destruction at Lubber Run

Tree slaughter at Lubber Run Park

Tree destruction at Lubber Run

More tree destruction at Lubber Run Park

Tree destruction at Lubber Run

Even more tree destruction at Lubber Run Park

Tree destruction at Lubber Run Park

Tree slaughter at Lubber Run Park

Tree destruction at Lubber Run Park

Tree slaughter at Lubber Run Park

Tree destruction at Lubber Run Park

Fencing around the tree massacre at Lubber Run Park

Tree destruction at Lubber Run Park

Lubber Run Park closed during the tree slaughter.

“Don’t it always seem to go,

“That you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.

“They paved paradise, put up a parking lot.”

Big Yellow Taxi – Joni Mitchell

December 2, 2018 update from Suzanne Sundburg:

Arlington County government’s war on trees rages on……Lubber Run clearcutting, Nov / Dec 2018

Every tree & every living thing in the red outlined areas has been removed.
Lubber Run clearcut areas

Lubber Run clearcut areas

Lubber Run clearcut areas 2

Lubber Run clearcut areas 2

Lubber Run clearcut areas 3

Lubber Run clearcut areas 3

Lubber Run clearcut areas 4

Lubber Run clearcut areas 4

Lubber Run clearcut areas 5

Lubber Run clearcut areas 5

Lubber Run clearcut areas 6

Lubber Run clearcut areas 6

Lubber Run clearcut areas 7

Lubber Run clearcut areas 7

It is up to 17 degrees hotter than the coolest areas inside the District.

(October 16, 2018)

Letter to the Washington Post

You can address climate change at the local level by defending trees

(October 15, 2018)

Washington Post, Speaking of Science

(October 15, 2018)

Falls Church News-Press, Our Man in Arlington

Charlie Clark:  Roaring Suburban Leaf-Blowers (September 26, 2018)

UVA loves its trees:

Living Legends:
The Trees of Grounds

(Fall 2018)

Washington Post:  Bye bye bugs? Scientists fear non-pest insects are declining  

(September 20, 2018)

Another reason for preserving mature trees:  

CNN: Air pollution particles found in mothers’ placentas, new study finds

(September 17, 2018)

Washington Post:

‘I don’t want to die’: As the country bakes, studies show poor city neighborhoods are often much hotter than wealthy ones (September 2, 2018)

Letter: Planting new trees in place of razed ones is not a solution (August 29, 2018)


(August 21, 2018)

Champion Dawn Redwood destroyed

Virginia Champion Dawn Redwood shortly before it was destroyed

Champion Dawn Redwood being destroyed

Champion Dawn Redwood being destroyed

Champion Dawn Redwood being destroyed

Champion Dawn Redwood being destroyed

Champion Dawn Redwood being destroyed

Champion Dawn Redwood being destroyed

Arlington County government vehicle watches as Dawn Redwood is destroyed

Arlington County employee in government vehicle watches as Dawn Redwood (at left) is destroyed.

Dawn Redwood destruction

Dawn Redwood destruction

ARLINGTON CONNECTION:  Not Just a Tree; A Precedent (August 29, 2018)

VIDEO — LOCAL  Despite strong opposition 114-foot Redwood Dawn Tree gets cut down

(August 22, 2018)

Workers Start Cutting Down Large Dawn Redwood Tree in Williamsburg (August 21, 2018)


Massive Dawn Redwood Tree in Williamsburg Set to be Chopped Down (August 17, 2018)

ATAG Press Release in response to County’s Abdication of Responsibility for the Dawn Redwood (August 16, 2018)

Charlie Clark, Our Man in Arlington:  Arlington faces tough choices between money and environmentalism (July 18, 2018)

Arlington Connection:  Battling for the Dawn Redwood (July 18, 2018)

Local  Arlington residents speak out against idea of cutting down 114-foot Redwood tree (July 11, 2018)

WUSA9 TV:  114-foot tall redwood tree may be cut down in Arlington, sparking controversy

(July 7, 2018)


What Are D.C.’s Hottest Neighborhoods? Science Wants To Know (August 30, 2018)

Yale Climate Connections:  

American cities are losing 28 million trees a year

Goodbye, shade.

(August 29, 2018)

Peter’s Take: Can This Tree Be Saved? (August 9, 2018)

Washington Post:  The horticulture industry’s age problem is bigger than you think (August 6, 2018)

Peter’s Take: Salt Dome Fiasco — There’s a Better Way (August 2, 2018)

ATAG stands up for trees

(July 14, 2018)

Testifying to the Arlington County Board — 

Testifying to Arlington County Board

Testifying to the Arlington County Board

Testifying to Arlington County Board

Testifying to the Arlington County Board

Being interviewed by an “Arlington Connection” reporter — 

ATAG speaking with an "Arlington Connection reporter

ATAG speaking with an “Arlington Connection” reporter

The Dawn Redwood we’re trying to save:

The Champion Dawn Redwood

The Champion Dawn Redwood

Arlington board takes flak on multiple fronts from tree activists (July 17, 2018)

Comment on this article:  There are plenty of things the board could do to encourage the preservation of trees, if it were so motivated. Here are but a few:

Despite lingering concerns among some, Upton Hill park plan moves forward (July 10, 2018)

Arlington Department of Environmental Services (July 2, 2018): 

Arlington’s impervious surfaces increasing year by year; now at estimated 45%compared to estimated 40% in 2001.

NPR All Things Considered:  How Phoenix Is Trying To Keep People Cool As Temperatures Rise

(July 9, 2018)

“But most of all . . . the city needs a lot more trees.”

Key points:

[David] Hondula [Arizona State University professor] attributes about half of this to climate change and the rest to the built environment. Those parking lots and wide roads, strip malls and air conditioners all keep the city hotter, what’s called the urban heat island effect, especially overnight.

Scientific American:  U.S. Cities Lose Tree Cover Just When They Need It Most

Urbanization is on the rise; so is the urban heat island effect—a situation that is worsening with the decline of tree cover in U.S. metropolitan areas

(May 7 2018)

ATAG is now a member of the Arlington County Civic Federation – as of May 1, 2018! See the May 2018 CivFed Newsletter.

Sheffield’s tree massacre: How locals battled to protect Europe’s greenest city

Mass arrests, poisoned-tea plots and the unravelling of a secret £2.2bn PFI contract. Colin Drury delves into the inside story of the battle to save 17,500 trees being felled in a single city

(April 12, 2018)

Local newspaper cartoonist James Whitworth’s take on the Sheffield tree massacre (James Whitworth):

Free — Large trees planted in your yard.  

Check out the Arlington Tree Canopy Fund.

Arlington County Urban Tree Canopy Assessment(December 2017) 

Although the County is interpreting and publicizing the Assessment as showing that our urban forest has grown one percent since 2011 in the face of continuing population growth and development, this conclusion is not justified by the Assessment itself.  For one thing, one percent is within the Assessment’s margin of error.  For another, the 2017 and 2011 studies used different methodologies, so precise comparisons are not warranted.

The real headline is that many neighborhoods have suffered significant tree losses since the last report in 2011. See the map at page 10 of the 2017 Assessment:

Tree canopy losses

Tree canopy losses

This is the message that matches what we are seeing in our neighborhoods as more and more trees are taken down.

The situation is even worse when compared to the 2008 report.

See additional responses to the Tree Canopy Assessment:

ATAG Media release concerning tree canopy assessment (April 12, 2018)

Natasha Atkins, Tree canopy report raises more questions than it answers (February 22, 2018)

Suzanne Smith Sundburg, Understanding Arlington’s 2017 Urban Tree Canopy Assessment

University of Vermont review of Tree Canopy Assessment (March 27, 2018)

Dispute over Arlington tree canopy heats up (April 23, 2018)

In midst of brouhaha, more Arlington trees designated ‘notable’ (April 26, 2018)

The problem with the County’s tree canopy report (April 28, 2018)

Pennsylvania could plant over 10 million trees in the next seven years for cleaner water and air

Friends of Aurora Highlands Parks identify a pattern of County errors that  consistently overestimated demand for recreational fields and narrowed supply, despite overwhelming resident feedback placing much higher priorities on other needs and park uses like trails and natural and open parkland.

March 2018 newsletter

April 2018 newsletter

‘Friends of Upton Hill’ Protest Park Paving Plans With New Website (April 3, 2018)

Non-Native Plants Removed Near Quincy Park  (March 29, 2018)

Despite some neighborly concerns, Upton Hill park project moving forward (March 20, 2018)

See also:  Friends of UH_Preserve the Park at Upton Hill_3-21-2018

and Friends of Upton Hill website

and Upton Hill Regional Park segment on the Sustainable Scoop

“Please Save Me” tree destroyed  (March 5, 2018)

On about March 1 a builder destroyed the beautiful magnolia tree noted below (December 15, 2017) that had worn a sign asking that it be spared.  Also destroyed was another wonderful tree in the back yard.  The entire home has now been bulldozed.

View from Williamsburg Blvd after trees destroyed

View from Williamsburg Blvd after trees destroyed

"Please Save Me" magnolia tree destroyed

“Please Save Me” magnolia tree destroyed

View of front yard after trees destroyed.

View of front yard after trees destroyed.

A remembrance of the lost magnolia tree: 


In regards to the magnolia tree at 6255 Williamsburg Blvd:

That was my childhood home from 1976 (moved with my mom when I was 3 into her mother’s house) through 1996 or so when I moved out on my own. That old magnolia was there through my childhood and along with those border hedges all the way around served as sort of a welcome flag every time we returned home. I can’t count how many times I swung on the lower branch going by and how many hours I spent throwing those cones the tree dropped everywhere when I was young. That tree stood right where you drove in to welcome you back in every season, recall it full and vibrant in the summer and snow covered and beautiful in the winter. It was there before me and it stood long after I left, had its own personality and life about it and although I had already seen on Google Earth from above that the house had been demolished it hit me especially hard to see that the old living magnolia was now gone forever. Thank you for your efforts to save it but progress yields to nothing I suppose, not even something alive and beautiful. I believe the absence of that old house and unique yard will forever change the landscape of that once quaint little circle where once upon a time Santa handed out presents on the island between Sharp Park and People’s Drug. Time moves on relentlessly but I’m still here for a bit longer to remember it all as it once was.



August 29, 2018

Charlie Clark article on the Arlington tree canopy (Falls Church News-Press February 6, 2018)

Eli Tucker article on Arlington’s tree canopy and how to preserve it (ARLnow February 6, 2018)

The Secret To Staying Happy Is Getting Whatever Exposure To Nature You Can Get (Fast Company February February 6, 2018)

Arlington Tree Action Group (ATAG) pleads for builder to save beautiful trees on Williamsburg Blvd (December 15, 2017) 

After we saw a poignant plea to save a possibly endangered tree — 

Please Save Me

Please Save Me

ATAG sent a letter to the responsible party requesting the tree be saved:

December 15, 2017

Sunil Saxena

20023 Belmont Station Drive

Ashburn, VA 20147-000

Dear Mr. Saxena,

On behalf of the Arlington Tree Action Group, a group of residents promoting the economic, health and other benefits of trees, we are writing to draw attention to trees we hope your company will save while developing the lot at 6255 Williamsburg Boulevard.

As you know, trees have tangible economic, health, and environmental benefits, as underscored again in recent research by Arlington County: It is also calculated that a mature tree adds 10K in property value.

In particular, please work to save the magnificent magnolia in the front corner of the property, on which an anonymous citizen posted a poignant sign: “Please Save Me.” By doing just that, and saving the small tree in the back corner, your company can be seen as:

–responsive to residents;

–understanding of the myriad benefits of mature trees;

–a trendsetter in building a community that seeks a future that is sustainable.

ATAG, web site, is developing an award for builders who preserve and care for trees.

One small act can have big returns.

Thank you for your consideration; we look forward to hearing from you.


Kit Norland           Bill Roos

Margie Bell           Angela Dickey

Mary Glass           Eric Ackerman      Natasha Atkins

Arlington Tree Action Group (ATAG)

Other views of the property:

At-risk trees, front and back yards

At-risk trees, front and back yards

At-risk property

At-risk property

Arlington Tree Action Group (ATAG) held a very successful event to rally support for preserving and growing Arlington’s urban forest.  (November 15, 2017)

See here for more information.

D.C. To Plant 100 New Trees A Day (October 12, 2017)

Arlington Tree Action Group (ATAG) spreads the tree message at

Marymount Farmers Market Saturday, September 9, 2017

ATAG volunteer explaining Donaldson Run issues at Marymount Farmers Market

ATAG volunteer at Marymount Farmers Market explaining threats to Donaldson Run trees

ATAG volunteers at Marymount Farmers Market

ATAG volunteers at Marymount Farmers Market

Join us in saving Arlington’s precious urban forest along Donaldson Run

Quartz Media:  Houston’s flooding shows what happens when you ignore science and let developers run rampant  (August 29, 2017)

Amanda Henneberg, Falls Church News-Press Guest Commentary: Change Course This Election & Hold Council Accountable (August 24, 2017)

Charlie Clark, Falls Church News-Press:  Arlington tree stewards band together under the banner of the Arlington Tree Action Group (August 15, 2017)

Good news:  Residents save a significant tree in Arlington! (August 11, 2017)

Peter’s Take:  Trees Die at Wakefield High (August 27, 2015)

1 thought on “News

  1. Hi. To subscribe to our mailing list, go to the “Join our effort and get our news” tab and subscribe.

    You can also use links on our Home page to get to our Twitter and Facebook sites.

    Thank you!

Comments are closed.