a woman is trimming a tree with a pair of gloves

We Love Our Volunteers! Spotlight: Phyllis Fung

Clean Water, Strong Communities!

It takes a community of people to grow a community of trees. As another wonderful tree planting season draws to a close, Blue Water Baltimore celebrates the strong communities that work hard to clean our waterways. Check out the following spotlights to learn about some of our most dedicated partners and volunteers.

Phyllis Fung

Phyllis doesn’t plant trees; she prunes them. Phyllis is a longtime BWB volunteer and a certified Baltimore TreeKeeper but our staff know not to expect her to show up to events during planting or watering season. She has single-minded determination and unmatched passion when it comes to our winter tree pruning parties! Over the years, she has invested in her own set up sharp tools and now shoes up to events ready to lead groups of volunteers in proper pruning techniques.

Learn more about what it’s like to volunteer with Blue Water Baltimore through our Q & A with Phyllis below.

Phyllis with a pile of branches after ‘limbing up’ street trees in the East Baltimore neighborhood of Oliver to improve clearance for pedestrians!

1. What do you enjoy most about volunteering with Blue Water Baltimore?

I love sharing my love of pruning with other volunteers.

2. Do you have a favorite memory of a BWB event?

Former BWB staff member Myesha and I were pruning a young willow oak in the southeast neighborhood of Greektown. She was holding the pole pruner and I was pulling on the rope to make the cut when suddenly the tree snapped in half. We looked at each other horrified and we were like, “Oh no! We killed the tree!” I yelled for Ted (a staff member from TreeBaltimore) down the block for his assistance. Then Myesha looked more closely and said, “I think that tree was dead.” Sure enough, it was already dead before we started pruning. Phew!

3. What is your favorite type of tree?


4. What do you do when you’re not planting trees with us?

Pole pruners are great for hard-to-reach cuts. Remember, safety never takes a holiday! TreeKeepers always keep two feet on the ground while working.

I read books, tend my roof deck container garden, and take pastry walks.

5. What motivates you to keep coming back?

Pruning is so rewarding because there are tangible results: You can see what you’ve done and you can come back and see how the tree has progressed.


“Blue Water is a great organization!” – Phyllis Fung


If you’re considering getting involved in volunteering, the TreeKeepers city stewardship program (via TreeBaltimore) is a great way to start learning more about trees and ways to stay engaged.


This blog will be updated weekly with additional volunteer spotlights!

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