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NYSDEC Urban Forestry Intern Jennifer Kotary: Get to Know Her!

Jennifer KotaryIn 2016, NYSDEC Urban Forestry Program Coordinator Mary Kramarchyk mentored her second summer intern, Jennifer Kotary. “The goal of the internship is to expose and recruit forestry students into the world of urban forestry,” Kramarchyk says. “Jennifer’s excellent technical and communication skills helped her fit right into DEC’s program. She was thrown into and completed real work—and “extra” activities so meaningful to the success of the program—that, without her, we would not have been able to accomplish.”

Jennifer Kotary:
Two days after my graduation (’16) from SUNY ESF’s Ranger School, I began at NYSDEC via the Research Foundation in the Urban and Community Forestry summer internship. A connection with Mary Kramarchyk at the New York Society of American Foresters Annual Meeting was the beginning to an internship opportunity to better my understanding of what urban forestry is in action. Now that this internship comes to a close, I realize that as urban forestry initiates and sustains connection between community and the environment, my internship has connected me to a critical passion of mine which includes all things trees.

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ESF Ranger School Graduation, where Jennifer celebrates her proudest moment with Director Dr. Michael Bridgen. Photo by June McWarf

People. Urban forestry has connected me to people. I am so thankful to Mary Kramarchyk, Mary Martin, and Sally Kellogg who took me under their wing and amazed me with their adaptive ability to joyfully get done a plethora of responsibilities for the state program. Via statewide ReLeaf meetings, I witnessed the individual personalities of ReLeaf committees flourishing in each New York region. Exposure to NYS DEC’s Bureau of Lands and Forests and the great group of people assisting in statewide forestry is continually inspiring. Lastly, I met an impressive slew of tree-related individuals via the summer’s ReLeaf Conference at Skidmore College.

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Rochester’s Urban Forest Master Plan

Rochester UFMPCalling all Master Plans! Rochester City Forester and NYSUFC Executive Committee Member Brian Liberti shares the following intro from the most recent Rochester Urban Forest Master Plan. You can also see Ithaca’s Urban Forest Master Plan here.

We’d like to collect as many UF Master Plans from around the State as possible, so that communities can learn from one another. Please send yours to editor@nysufc.org.  

One of the most distinguishing characteristics of Rochester, New York, is its forest of trees. There are numerous tree-filled parks, and practically every avenue and street in the city is lined with trees. Even the city’s cemeteries, so often barren fields of funerary monuments, are veritable forests.

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WNY CommuniTREE Stewardship Program Completes Inaugural Training

Inaugural group of WNY CommuniTREE Stewards in spring of 2016. Photo by John Choczynski
Inaugural group of WNY CommuniTREE Stewards in spring of 2016. Photo by John Choczynski

By Lori Brockelbank, NYSUFC Treasurer and Certified Arborist/Municipal Specialist, Wendel Companies

The first-ever Western NY CommuniTREE Stewardship Program instruction has come to a close for most of the participants, but the learning and experience continues. You can read more about the program’s mission and partners on this earlier blog post. Out of the 20 people that initially signed up for the course, 13 completed the classroom requirements.

At the conclusion of the classroom sessions, I will admit I had my doubts about whether the students had truly received enough training to go out on their own. I know personally I learn more when I get my hands dirty and I am in the field applying the classroom instruction. A few of the students expressed the same concerns; for this reason each student is required to volunteer 10 hours of supervised field time doing tree planting and/or small tree pruning in a variety of places throughout the City of Buffalo. This field work is a great chance for students to get further coaching and ask questions.

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Bronx River Alliance & Partners to Restore Bronx River Forest

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The beautiful 23-mile Bronx River. Photo Courtesy Natural Areas Conservancy

This story comes to us from Bronx River Alliance Deputy Director Maggie Greenfield and Natural Areas Conservancy Communications and Public Outreach Manager Nicole Brownstein. 

The Bronx River has seen its fair share of history. It was first called the Aquehung, or “River of High Bluffs” by the local Native Americans. Two tribes, the Weckquaesgeek and Siwanoy, drank the river’s water, fished along its banks, and hunted in the surrounding woods. The river also held a spiritual significance for them and was a place for ritual baths each year. Jonas Bronck arrived in 1639, brokered a deal with the Native Americans for 500 acres along the river, and turned it into farmland.

Mills sprang up along the river, harnessing its energy and using it as a natural flowing sewer system. As the manufacturing industry fell into decline and the mills began to disappear, the river remained a dumping site for the surrounding communities. This was before we fully knew or cared about the effects of industrial and residential waste dumping.

It wasn’t until the environmental movement picked up in the mid-1970s that the restoration process began along the 23-mile river. In the late 1990s, the Bronx River Working Group was founded, with more than 60 community organizations and businesses combining efforts to orchestrate work along the river. The spirit of this effort led to the creation of the Bronx River Alliance, a group dedicated to restoring the waterway. When they began their work, these activists found objects as bizarre as refrigerators, tires, and even a wine press in the river. Today the river’s health is returning, evidenced by the long-awaited appearance of river herring, American eel, eastern oyster, and beavers. But our work is not yet done.

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More ReLeaf Reflections

Kate Littlefield
Kate Littlefield

I am a full-time graduate student in the SUNY ESF Landscape Architecture Department, but I am currently working as a summer aide within the City of Syracuse Urban Forestry Department. Most of my job entails working out in the field performing inspections and inventory and writing up pruning
prescriptions for both mature and newly planted trees.

The Skidmore ReLeaf conference was the first of its kind that I have attended. I never knew how tightly knit the NYS urban forestry community was. Everyone was very supportive and curious of the work others have done, and there was a constant level of excitement present in all of the interactions I witnessed.

The presentations were all very interesting and many of them demonstrated the effectiveness of various tools and practices within the profession. For example, I learned that vegetation management through the use of a fire regime has been effective and even approved as a management practice in designated places within an area as densely populated as the Albany-Colonie region. Specific examples like this can put a positive spin on the use of fire as a management technique and hopefully educate the greater public about the benefits that controlled burns have on our forest and urban forest ecosystems. —Kate Littlefield 

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More Skidmore ReLeaf!

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Hanging out at the portable sawmill demo: front left to right: East Fishkill Beautification Director Lori Brengalmann, DEC State Urban Forestry Coordinator Mary Kramarchyk, NYC Forester Danielle Gift. rear left to right: DEC Forester Gary Koplun, DEC Urban Forestry Partnerships Coordinator Sally Kellogg, Schichtel’s Nursery Sales Manager Jim Kisker. Photo by Suzie Alvey
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CCE Nassau County’s Horticulture Assistant K.C. Alvey (left), Urban Forestry Educator Nick Bates, and Horticulture Assistant Addie Cappello. They presented a talk on Friday morning about the ALB Reforestation Project on Long Island. Photo by Suzie Alvey
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Students like Shadrach Mckinney (third from left) and and longtime Council members like Ann Stevens (left) and Pat Tobin (second from left) mixed and mingled at the portable sawmill demo on Friday night. Photo by Suzie Alvey
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K.C. Alvey at left with CCE Onondaga Urban Forestry Educators Justin Kwiatkowski and Clare Carney, who both work with the Save the Rain tree planting program. Photo by Suzie Alvey
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Historian and photographer Suzie Alvey (left), arborist Dana Murch (center), and geologist and environmental advocate Robert Alvey. At ReLeaf 2014 on Long Island, Rob gave a tour of the Garden City Bird Sanctuary that he founded 21 years ago along with the Alvey Arboretum. All three of Suzie and Rob’s daughters are involved in urban forestry or conservation. Photo by K.C. Alvey
Friday night picnic Suzie Alvey
The Friday night picnic at Skidmore ReLeaf was held indoors until the thunderstorm passed. Photo by Suzie Alvey
Gary Raffel on Tree Radar Suzie Alvey
Arborist Gary Raffel participated in the Tools of the Trade workshop, teaching about Tree Radar. 
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Friday night picnic, with new Council board member & NYC Forester Mike DeMarco at left. Photo by Suzie Alvey

 

ReLeaf 2016 Reflections

Did you know that scholarships toward registration for the annual ReLeaf conference are available through the DEC for qualified applicants? These folks received awards this year.

IMG_0413Dewitt’s Nicholas Quilty-Koval:

The Releaf Conference was fantastic. It was a great experience and I was able to talk to many great people who encouraged me to pursue my goal of a career in urban planning.

In my community I have the opportunity to go door-to-door and talk to people about receiving a free tree. I am involved in the Save The Rain program for the Town of Dewitt. This program works with OEC (Onondaga Earth Corps) in an attempt to educate the nearby community about the benefits of trees as well as saving the rain. Our goal is to plant trees in the local area in order to do things such as decrease the amount of flooding, improve the air quality, and improve the appearance of the neighborhoods. I am also involved in the Town’s attempt to save ash trees that have been impacted by emerald ash borer. I have marked trees for removal as well as treatment. I also work with database software to help track the trees in our area.

Every aspect of the conference gave me insight into new topics and I learned a lot. It also connected ideas that I had originally been exposed to in my first year at college. There are many great takeaways that I received from the conference; the biggest one came from the Urban Wood Utilization talks with Jim Maloney and Tom Derby. I learned that we should not grind up ash and other trees into mulch, but instead should try to make them into something more useful and high-value, from a bench to a turkey call. Doing this would allow for more revenue from the tree and more meaningful products. I learned that marketing is a big key to the success of this idea of reusing the wood from urban trees.

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ReLeaf 2016 at Skidmore: Snapshots Part II

SUNY ESF grads gathered at Skidmore 2016 ReLeaf conference for a group photo, with ESF President Emeritus Neil Murphy at center. Photo by Mary Martin
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Portable sawmill demo by Mid-Hudson Forest Products. Photo by Suzie Alvey
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Board members Karen Arent (left), a landscape architect from Goshen, and Karen Emmerich, an environmental consultant from Warwick.
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Arborist Stew Leonard of Tree Care by Stan Hunt demonstrated microinjection applications.
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ArborJet Mid-Atlantic Technical Manager Trent Dicks demonstrated microinjection techniques as well.
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NYS DEC Saratoga Tree Nursery’s Brian Phillips gave a terrific tour of the facility. Founded in 1911, the nursery produces 1.5 million seedlings representing over 50 species annually.
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At the Saratoga Tree Nursery, Brian Phillips gave us a fascinating look inside the seed processing facility.
Pine cones at the Saratoga Tree Nursery seed processing center.
Pine cones at the Saratoga Tree Nursery seed processing facility.
At the Saratoga Tree Nursery, rooted cuttings from the Balmville tree that had to be taken down last August. The Balmville tree legacy lives on!
At the Saratoga Tree Nursery, we got to see rooted cuttings from the Balmville tree that had to be taken down last August. The Balmville tree legacy lives on!
Welcome to new board member Mark Beamish, who is manager of vegetation management for Orange & Rockland Utilities.
Welcome to new board member Mark Beamish, who is manager of vegetation management for Orange & Rockland Utilities.
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Welcome also to new board member Jeffrey Bell, lead analyst vegetation manager for NYSEG.
Public art installations abound at Skidmore, where "Creative Thought Matters."
Public art installations abound at Skidmore, where “Creative Thought Matters.”

Snapshots from Skidmore: ReLeaf 2016 Part I

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DEC U&CF Intern and Council Board Member Jennifer Kotary (left) served on the planning committee for the conference and she and Filomena Riganti, senior project manager for the New York Restoration Project, registered and welcomed attendees.
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Right this way! The conference at Skidmore in Saratoga Springs was organized by DEC Regions 4 and 5 ReLeaf Committees. The conference was last held at Skidmore in 2007. Kudos to the regional committees for a superb program!
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The conference was held at Skidmore, which recently attained its Tree Campus USA status. For their tireless efforts on the ReLeaf Conference and throughout the year, many thanks to State U&CF Coordinator Mary Kramarchyk and to Sally Kellogg, who was recently promoted to Urban Forestry Partnerships Coordinator. Thank you also to super-on-top-of-things Council Executive Secretary Liana Gooding.
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NYS DEC Urban Forestry Program Assistant Mary Martin did a fantastic job as conference facilitator/coordinator.
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Council President and NYC Parks Bronx/Staten Island Senior Forester David Moore (left) skillfully facilitated the Board and Member meetings, bringing his characteristic diplomacy and positive energy to the table.
Marquise Brown-Thornton (left) and Shadrach McKinney of the Onondaga Youth Corps came to ReLeaf for the first time.
Marquise Brown-Thornton (left) and Shadrach McKinney of the Onondaga Earth Corps attended ReLeaf for the first time.
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Council Vice President Brian Skinner (left) and Board Members Brenda Cagle of Red Hook and Pat Tobin of Fayetteville toasted the start of a new ReLeaf conference.
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Council Treasurer Lori Brockelbank (left) of Wendel Companies and Board Member Rachel Holmes, coordinator of The Nature Conservancy’s Healthy Trees, Healthy Cities (HTHC) Initiative.
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NYC Parks Forester Jeremy Law attended ReLeaf for the first time. His graduate research at Columbia involved the insect diversity of green roofs in the five boroughs of NYC.
Beautiful Skidmore after a real stomper of a rainstorm.
Beautiful Skidmore after a real stomper of a thunder shower.

More to come!