Urban Forest Ecosystem Research is the scientific exploration into the services trees provide to ecosystems, the urban environment, and humans. In 2004, Urban Releaf expanded it’s activities to encompass scientific research. Since then, it has completed four studies related to air quality, water conservation, and the socio-economic benefits of trees.
UFEST focuses on civic-oriented character development and environmental stewardship training of local youth through project-based experiential education. UFEST is designed to cultivate leadership, skills and talents of students and staff as general specialists in urban forestry and arboriculture for the Oakland community. Youth are involved in planning and coordinating forest stewardship projects (i.e. tree planting, long term care, maintenance, and monitoring) in public spaces throughout the city. UFEST works closely with schools to incorporate 12 modules consisting of lectures and hands-on activities related to urban forestry into the curriculum.
In additional to training staff members, UFEST aims to increase general awareness and knowledge of ecological, environmental and human benefits of trees in our urban community. Interns with the UFEST program provide seminars and workshops to primary and secondary schools, community based organizations, environmental justice groups, public health organizations and an array of other civic groups. We aim to engage residents to actively participate in environmental stewardship and take pride in the care and wellbeing of their community.