BoD Elections and Tree Canopy Discussion Highlight Annual Meeting

Four members were elected to the Historic Old Northeast Neighborhood Association (HONNA) Board of Directors Monday evening, November 14. The latest members include Sarah Conrad, 17th Ave NE; Nick Bell, 14th Ave NE; Robin Reed, 16th Ave NE and Kerry Converse, 28th Ave NE. One-third of the 13-member Board is elected each year to serve 3-year terms. Robin and Nick were current members and were re-elected while Sarah and Kerry will be new board members. 

The meeting’s guest speaker, Dean Hay, Urban Forester and Sustainability Coordinator for St. Petersburg, discussed the Urban Forestry Committee’s new Citizen Forester program. Dean moved to St. Pete in January from Detroit and the Citizen Forester program was launched with his hiring. 

The program has two components – social and service to the community. Citizen Foresters is a group of volunteers that assist the city with natural resources service projects and gather to meet likeminded residents to share new experiences like tree planting, tree inventory and panel discussions with local experts. A significant service component is composing a city-wide tree inventory, resulting in a tree map accessible on the city’s website

 Residents can take an active role in mapping their neighborhoods. The mapping not only helps the city understand how many trees there are, but other important information such as age of the city’s canopy, various species, health, and biodiversity of the landscape. The results help the city better manage our trees and maximize the important benefits of a healthy tree canopy. 

The Citizen Forester program’s social component includes get-togethers every other month that allows the program’s members to catch up on the program’s progress and discuss the issues facing the city’s treescape. The Citizen Forester Holiday Social Event is coming up in early December.  

For more information about the Holiday Social and how to get involved in the Citizen Forester program, email Dean at

Board members also presented updates. Doug O’Dowd reported 105 pounds of trash were collected at the recent neighborhood cleanup in North Shore Park. Kerry Converse reminded attendees of an important zoning commission meeting December 7 at City Hall. A developer is attempting to tear down an historic home as part of a development on 4th Street N at 28th and 29th Avenues N. Residents near the development as well as HONNA are adamantly opposed to the special exception being sought by the developer. ONE residents are urged to attend the December meeting at City Hall. Nick Bell gave an update on the many HONNA events on the horizon, including the Candlelight Tour, association holiday party, and the Art in the Garden Tour next spring. Information on these and other HONNA-sponsored activities can be found at