Tree-mendous Volunteers

Volunteers are essential to the greening of San Francisco. Meet a few of the most dedicated people on our volunteer team — we call them our “Tree-mendous Volunteers.”


Sachin Ganpule

Sachin Ganpule — planting

When engineer Sachin Ganpule moved to San Francisco in the mid-90’s, he looked around for a way to get involved in community work and discovered Friends of the Urban Forest.

“Volunteer organizations get excited if you show up two or three times,” he says, so after helping out with a few plantings he became a Volunteer Planting Leader.

He has participated in more than 75 plantings, making sure all the trees get planted and everyone has fun doing it.

“I didn’t know much about trees when I started,” he says, “but I enjoyed the camaraderie and teamwork, and seeing streets and neighborhoods transformed. Whenever I drive down a street full of trees I helped plant, I feel happy.”

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Pam Nagle

Pam Nagle — planting

Landscape architect and ISA-certified arborist Pam Nagle has volunteered for Friends of the Urban Forest since 2002 when she helped us plant a Flowering Plum tree in front of her Bernal Heights home.

“I love planting trees because they improve streets instantly,” she said.

In addition to being a Planting Leader for our tree plantings, Pam also helps out with our sidewalk garden plantings, using her deep knowledge about which plants are best-suited for each location.

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Lisa Duncan (left) and girlfriend

Lisa Duncan — tree care

In the mid-90’s, Lisa and her girlfriend noticed that a favorite small street tree near her Nob Hill home was bent over, apparently damaged during St. Patrick’s Day revelry. They used duct tape to bandage it, then contacted Friends of the Urban Forest for advice. So began Lisa’s path to becoming one of FUF’s Emergency Tree Care volunteers, who are dispatched by FUF whenever a member of the public notifies us that a young street tree has an urgent problem.

“One thing I really enjoy about doing tree care is that people express gratitude that someone’s taking care of the trees,” Lisa said. “It’s heartwarming to know that other people love trees like I do.”

The Nob Hill tree that Lisa first rescued is now 20 feet tall and doing fine.

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Kori Dean

Kori Dean — tree care

Kori is a true jill-of-all-trades volunteer. She began volunteering at FUF in 2007 as a student intern in the Tree Care Department. Since then, she has led volunteer groups at plantings and tree care days, led several fabulous Tree Tours in her neighborhood, graduated from FUF’s Community Forester program, then returned to that program as a guest instructor for the Tree Identification class. She has gotten her ISA Arborist Certification to boot!

Her passion for trees shows in everything she does for FUF, and inspires those around her.

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Annette Pinto

Annette Pinto — outreach

The Crocker Amazon neighborhood, adjacent to San Bruno Mountain in southern San Francisco, received 45 new street trees in 2011 thanks to the outstanding efforts of neighborhood organizer Annette Pinto.

“There’s just so much more room for green,” Annette told us when we met her during our initial outreach.

She took time away from a busy schedule at her private practice to knock on doors, attend meetings and get neighbors signed up for trees.

“Your organization has been such a pleasure to work with. If I didn’t love my job so much, I’d be working at FUF,” she said.

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Michael Perez

Michael Perez — office

For more than five years, Michael organized project reports for planting managers. He also participated in many neighborhood tree plantings.

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Jan Heyneker

Jan Heyneker — other

Jan, a licensed general contractor who lives in the South Mission neighborhood, was the hero of the sidewalk garden planting that Friends of the Urban Forest completed at York and 26th streets in 2012. Jan and members of his crew spent a couple of full days cutting rebar and shaping and fitting perforated steel to make the “edging” (short fence) required for the perimeters of the gardens. For much of that time, they worked in soaking rain.

“It’s great to see an expanse of cement replaced with plants,” Jan says. “It’s an enhancement for the neighborhood. I hope it inspires people.”