Connect with municipal arborists, urban forest managers, urban wood enthusiasts, landscape design professionals, planners, and non-profits from across California for this unique educational and networking experience. Our speakers, and panelists, explore the emerging trends impacting our urban forests and provide insights into how organizations can meet future challenges.





Dr. Matt Ritter

Botanist, author, and professor, Dr. Matt Ritter has been working with us on our CIRCLE4.0 grant, looking at underutilized species that could become great urban trees. As a scientific author, his publications attempt to foster a sense of appreciation for California’s unique flora. Many of us have a copy of A Californian’s Guide to the Trees Among Us and California Plants: A Guide to our Iconic Flora, on our shelves. This session examines what tree species could become great urban trees in different regions around California with the changes to our climate.

Amanda Hansen — Deputy Secretary for Climate Change

Amanda Hansen joined the California Natural Resources Agency in April 2019 as the Natural Resources Agency’s Deputy Secretary for Climate Change. In this role, she drives the Agency’s efforts to build California’s resilience to climate impacts and accelerate the contribution of nature-based solutions to meeting our ambitious climate goals. 

Track 1: Water Conservation & Drought

Presentations topics include stormwater and alternative water sources in the urban forest, as well as looking at heat island effects and climate-ready trees.

Track 2: Planning & Designing the Urban Forest

A healthy urban forest takes planning and design, taking a number of factors into account. This track looks at Urban Forestry Policy in the face of changing wildland fire and tree protection practices for a healthy urban forest. Plus, much more. 

Socializing & Networking

There will be plenty of opportunities to catch up with old colleagues and make new connections. 


Earn up to 12 CEUs for the two days.


Certified Arborists
Treeworker CEUs: 3.50
Arborist CEUs: 3.50
Municipal Specialist CEUs: 3.50
Utility Specialist CEUs: 0.00

Board Certified Arborists
Science CEUs: 0.00
Practice CEUs: 0.00
Management CEUs: 3.50


Certified Arborists
Treeworker CEUs: 8.50
Arborist CEUs: 8.50
Municipal Specialist CEUs: 8.50
Utility Specialist CEUs: 0.00

Board Certified Arborists
Science CEUs: 0.00
Practice CEUs: 5.25
Management CEUs: 3.25


An unforgettable experience created just for urban forest enthusiasts.

The Lead with Trees conference brings together community leaders, changemakers, doers, and dynamos for much-needed conversations. Lead with Trees empowers you through inspirational presentations and actionable takeaways. No matter where you sit within your organization, Lead with Trees will provide insights and strategies for everyone wanting to improve the communities where we live with healthy urban forests.

What You’ll Learn

Lead with Trees sessions are designed to help organizations learn … You’ll hear from industry experts and walk away with the tools and inspiration you need to grow the impact of your organization.


The Experience

After two years of sitting behind screens, it is time to dust off our social skills and get back together in person. You’ll hear keynotes, attend informational sessions, and have the opportunity to participate in events, but Lead with Trees is so much more. There will be opportunities to connect with industry experts, community groups, and peers. We are creating a space for you to interact with like-minded doers and have some fun.

Inspiration and Action

Being inspired is great. Being inspired and having strategies and tactics you can put into action is even better. Our vision is to improve the lives of everyone in California with healthy trees, and Lead with Trees will provide actionable inspiration to help make that vision a reality.


Everyone who registers for the conference will go into the draw to win a Taylor GS Mini Rosewood Guitar valued at $699. Take advantage of the Earlybird rate (available until 31st August), and you will receive two entries in the raffle draw. 

The award-winning GS Mini was designed to be the ultimate musical companion wherever you go — or stay. Inspired by the big, bold sound of Taylor's GS body shape, the Mini scales things down without skimping on sound, packing a ton of tone into a comfortable travel size and giving you a guitar that's full-voiced and incredibly fun to play. Think of the Mini as a modern-day parlor guitar, perfect for playing around the house but also built to fit an active lifestyle.

Inspired by the big, bold sound of Taylor’s Grand Symphony, the GS Mini scales things down without skimping on sound. The guitar manages to pack a ton of tone into a comfortable, travel-and couch-friendly guitar that’s full-voiced and incredibly fun to play. See more details.

Want to increase your chances of winning even further? You will be able to purchase additional tickets for the raffle draw at the conference.



The Westin Rancho Mirage Golf Resort & Spa sits on 360 acres in the Palm Springs desert. Located in the Coachella Valley, in the city of Rancho Mirage, the resort features the best pool and waterslides in the desert. It is also ranked as one of the Top 50 Golf Resorts in North America by Golf Digest. Outside of Downtown Palm Springs, you can be inspired and learn during the conference, and relax, unwind, and energize with stunning mountain views of the California desert at the same time.

We have a block of rooms available at a discounted rate for the conference, including the night before, Wednesday 28th September, through Friday, 30th September. Rooms are $170 a night, plus taxes (13.25%). Note: The Westin Rancho Mirage Golf Resort & Spa charges a resort fee. The Resort fee will be reduced at check-in to $20.00 per night. Parking is complimentary unless using the valet service.


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