City Trees

July/August 2015

City Trees is a premier publication focused on urban + community forestry. In each issue, you’ll learn how to best manage the trees in your community and more!

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26 City Trees Forklift Danceworks ( specializes in dances featuring people who don't consider themselves dancers—firefighters, baseball players, sanitation workers, and now, members of the City of Austin, Texas Urban Forestry Division. Staging a large-scale dance with the people and machinery of Urban Forestry was a natural fit for Forklift; they've already undertaken similar projects with the City's sanitation and power departments. Former City of Austin Urban Forester Angela Hanson initiat- ed the project with Forklift. On April 11th and 12th, 2015, under the canopy of a grand heritage pecan tree (Carya illinoinensis), Forklift premiered The Trees of Govalle for over 2,000 people. The free performance piece was more tied to place than some of Forklift's previous works. It was about the people of Urban Forestry, the work they do, and the trees they service, but it was also about a particular area of town: the Govalle neighborhod in East Austin, one of the city's oldest. It was fitting, then, that the dance took place in Govalle Park. Working closely with Urban Forestry employees, choreog- raphers Allison Orr and Krissie Marty utilized the move- ment and finesse of the arborists and their machinery to create a dance The Dance of Urban Forestry: Trees of Govalle Performance in Austin, Texas highlighting the skill, commitment, and elegance that is needed to keep Austin's green space healthy. Audience members learned about how to care for urban forests both during the performance and upon arrival, when they walked along a wooded path. During this walk, local arborists and volunteers from TreeFolks ( offered information about how to care for and maintain a healthy and vibrant urban forest. The performance was accompanied by original music directed by Graham Reynolds and produc- tion design by Stephen Pruitt. 2014 National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellow Manuel "Cowboy" Donley was a fea- tured musician in The Trees of Govalle. Donley is a Mexican- American singer, multi-in- strumentalist, bandleader, composer, and arranger who grew up in the Govalle neighborhood and got his start playing in East Austin. The project was made pos- sible by several dozen spon- sor-partners and by Kickstarter backers and matching donors. Photo: Leon Alesi Photo: Amitava Sarkar

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