Intelligent Trees Film Screening

Join us Wednesday, September 27 at 5 PM at Sunset Center for this ground breaking 45-minute film presented by local biologist Nikki Nedeff. German foresterer Peter Wohlleben, author of The Hidden Life of Trees, and forest ecologist Suzanne Simard, show how trees communicate and care for one another.

Enjoy wine, snacks and the best organic popcorn donated by LesserEvil Healthy Brands (official snack food of Wanderlust). Free and open to the public.

Tree Walk a Success!

On Saturday, September 9, we had a very informative and entertaining tree walk with Sairus Patel who usually gives tree tours on Stanford's campus.


Carmel Tree Walks
Led by Sairus Patel

Saturday, September 9
10:00 AM & 1:00 PM
$20 per person, free to members

Reserve early for this popular event!

Sairus Patel is a board member of Pacific Horticulture and former board member of Canopy in Palo Alto, CA. He has been a guest lecturer at Stanford University where he has led tree walks there for various educational programs. He has also revised and expanded the Trees of Stanford online project.

SAIRUS PATEL - Carmel Tree Walks.jpg


Since 1971, this annual Tree Survey provides Carmel's Forestry Department with useful data to manage our forest.

We need 40 people in two-person teams to cover two city blocks. Each team will count, measure and identify each tree in the public right-of-way.

Surveys can take approximately two hours. You'll have a month to do it on your own time.

Thursday, October 27 at 4:00 PM
Chapman Room at Sunset Center

At the meeting, you'll receive your block assignment, equipment and a partner (if you don't already have one). Please indicate if you have a partner or need to be paired with someone.

To participate, please call 831-760-0160 or email


Dr. Matt Ritter will lead two of our popular Tree Walks on Saturday, July 9 at 10:00 AM & 1:00 PM. The walks are approximately 1.5 hours and covers a few blocks within downtown Carmel.

To RSVP, email Please send the names of attendees and your first and second time preference. Free to members, $20 for non-members. To become a member, click here. Reserve early for this popular event as space is limited!

A fascinating and entertaining speaker, Dr. Ritter is the author of A Californian's Guide to the Trees among Us. Dr. Ritter is a botany professor in the Biology Department at Cal Poly, SLO, Director of the Cal Poly Plant Conservatory, Chair of the City of San Luis Obispo Tree Committee, and editor-in-chief of California Botanical Society’s Madroño. He holds a Ph.D. in plant developmental biology from UC San Diego.

The BIG Trees Among Us

The author of A Californian's Guide to the Trees among Us, Dr. Matt Ritter will be speaking on The BIG Trees Among Us on Wednesday, June 8 at 7 PM at Sunset Center's Carpenter Hall. A witty and engaging speaker, Dr. Ritter is a botany professor in the Biology Department at Cal Poly and leader of our popular Tree Walks.



"The urbanized forest is the city's largest, most visible, and most important natural resource."Carmel-by-the-Sea's Forest Management Plan (FMP)

The trees that collectively form our forest make Carmel a better place to live - both in terms of aesthetics and quality of life. Trees frame our views, are home to a variety of birds and animals, filter our air, and shelter us from the winds. Studies show that people are happier and healthier in a green environment. Our urban forest is the very thing that makes our village unique and welcoming to residents and visitors alike.

Each tree is unique and should be protected as if the entire forest depended on it, because it does. When permits are granted for development of homes, every tree on that property must be preserved or replaced. In 2014, 114 permits were granted to remove trees on private property, but only 49 were required to be replaced. There has also been no follow up to ensure those trees have been planted and are healthy.

Loss of tree canopy of Monte Verde between 7th & 8th.

Loss of tree canopy of Monte Verde between 7th & 8th.

The City Forester estimated over 170 public trees were lost in 2015, in addition to a 7-year back log. In 2014, 142 trees were removed with only 39 replaced. Simply put, Carmel's trees are in trouble. Development, disease, drought are the main culprits, but neglect, lack of resources for management and code enforcement are also to blame. Climate change will also have an impact, with higher temperatures affecting the moisture rich fog that our forest depends on.

Walk down any Carmel-by-the-Sea street and you will witness trees that are struggling to survive or are no longer there.  Whole blocks that were once graced by towering pines and cypress are now just sparsely dotted with trees. Fortunately, there is now enthusiasm from the City Council to fully implement and fund the FMP. Will they move ahead and replenish and care for the forest in the very near future? It is getting late. Our forest is losing and we cannot afford to wait.

Written by Robert Shuler