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UHI Produces Plan for a Sustainable National Mall Treescape

Barb Neal (left), Bryan Denig, and Nina Bassuk on the National Mall.

In hot and steamy June of 2017, a team of researchers and arborists from Cornell University’s Urban Horticulture Institute (UHI), headed up by UHI Director Nina Bassuk, worked dawn to dusk evaluating the condition of the American elms and soils on the National Mall in Washington DC. This iconic landscape is often referred to as “America’s Front Lawn,” and the National Mall turf grass was fully renovated between 2010 and 2016, involving infrastructure upgrades, at a cost of $40 million dollars. Now, UHI hopes the Mall trees will get the same level of attention.

Bassuk and then-graduate student Yoshiki Harada worked together on soil evaluation, taking 108 soil samples back to Cornell, while ISA Board Certified Master Arborist Barbara Neal and UHI Visiting Fellow Bryan Denig performed an ISA Level 2 evaluation of the National Mall’s 550 trees. Bassuk and team also used ground penetration radar on a sample of 16 of the trees to find out precisely where the roots are.

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David Moore Wins Arbor Day Foundation Trailblazer Award

Congratulations, David! You are indeed a Trailblazer and very much worthy of this recognition. All best from your many friends at the NYSUFC.

The Council is jubilant that Past President David Moore has won the Arbor Day Foundation (ADF) Trailblazer Award, given to a professional under 35 who has made exceptional contributions to arboriculture and/or urban forestry. A video about David’s work is in the making (and we’ll share here on the blog as soon as it’s available). From the ADF press release:

“The title of Senior Tree Supervisor at the City of Oakland, California, belies David Moore’s age and accomplishments. During his tenure at New York City Parks, David developed a sophisticated system of tree procurement that is a model for urban foresters across the country, and he served as co-chair of the MillionTreesNYC committee. He also served as president of the New York State Urban Forestry Council from 2015-17, where he was highly regarded for his organizational and leadership skills.”

The Trailblazer Award description: “This award recognizes an individual under the age of 35 who has demonstrated leadership in forestry, community forestry, research, or tree care during the past five years. The Award winner will exhibit a collaborative spirit that inspires others to give their time, effort, and resources to improve our understanding of trees, tree planting, or tree care.”

CONGRATS, DAVID!!

Report on Forested Natural Areas in American Cities

In March 2019, the Natural Areas Conservancy, the Trust for Public Land, and Yale School for Forestry and Environmental Studies released “Untapped Common Ground: The Care of Forested Natural Areas in American Cities.” This report is based on a survey of 125 organizations in 110 cities and how they manage their forests.

There’s a lot more nature in cities than people think! Urban natural areas represent 1.7 million acres but often don’t receive the investment, recognition, or care they deserve.

Read the full report.

Urban forested natural areas can be a tool to achieve cities’ resiliency, climate change, and public health goals. More Americans are moving into cities, and for many, these places represent their best access to nature. The time to invest in urban nature is now.

What’s Next?

The Natural Areas Conservancy and its partners will convene representatives from a select number of cities from across the country for workshops in fall 2019. Next year, they’ll publish case studies on how cities manage their forest natural areas. Check this page for updates on the project.

What are Urban Forested Natural Areas?

The term “urban forest” refers to all trees within a city including street trees, landscaped trees, private property, and forested natural areas. Forested natural areas are distinct from street and park trees in their size, biodiversity, and how they’re managed. They are important native habitats, and are the “woods” in cities.

 

Joyful 2019 Urban Forestry Awards Celebration

Along with showing their support and helping to accept Syracuse’s Tree City USA Award, a team from Onondaga Earth Corps (OEC) shared recent OEC achievements with the audience. From left to right: Syracuse City Arborist Stephen Harris, OEC Crew Leader Shadrach McKinney, Crew Leader Taveon Stenson, Program Coordinator Meqdad Ali (in front), Office Manager Yvonne Chu, OEC Founder Eli MacDonald, and Crew Leader Maurice Harris. Syracuse has been a Tree City USA for more than 29 years. Photos Courtesy NYSDEC

On March 21 in Albany, NYSDEC and community leaders celebrated the commitment of NYS Tree Cities, Tree Line Utilities, and Tree Campuses to our collective urban and community forest. Six New York communities became Tree Cities USA for the first time in 2018: Canton, Lakewood, Middletown, Niskayuna, Orangetown, and Sackets Harbor. To learn more about becoming a Tree City USA, Tree Line USA, or Tree Campus USA, see the Arbor Day Foundation website. The ceremony also honored the winner of the 2019 Arbor Day poster contest.

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Danielle Gift on What the Partners in Community Forestry Conference Means to Her

NYC Parks Tree Preservation Senior Project Manager Danielle Gift reflects here on her experiences attending the Partners in Community Forestry (“Partners”) Conference, which includes the affiliated Society of Municipal Arborists (SMA) Conference. The next Partners will take place November 20-21, 2019 in Cleveland, just after the SMA Conference November 18-19. Partners is organized by the Arbor Day Foundation.

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Kateri Savory on Her MFI Experience

Kateri Savory

Council member Kateri Savory is the Davey Resource Group Project Manager for the Asian Longhorned Beetle Eradication Program in NYC. Kateri received scholarship funding from the Council toward attending the 2019 Municipal Forestry Institute, which took place in Silverton, Oregon.

Can you tell us about your job background and education?
Kateri Savory: I’ve always loved being outside, and beaches and rainforests are my favorite places. However, the forest, much less an urban forest, wasn’t where I thought I would find myself working.

Before changing fields, I was a district manager in retail where I enjoyed training teams and using my creativity to revamp stores. Constant goal attainment made the long hours satisfactory for a while, but I wanted to spend energy on something that would help others and feed my soul.

I studied Permaculture courses online through Cornell University and then pursued a degree in Ornamental Horticulture from Bronx Community College, which included courses with the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG). The array of adult education classes offered by NYBG were way too interesting for me to pass over, so I took any class that would teach me about gardening, biology, arboriculture, design, etc. I received a Certificate in Gardening and spent much time interning with NYBG, which gave me invaluable skills and knowledge.

I began working with Davey Resource Group in 2015 as an Inventory Arborist. I’ve had the opportunity to assist with various projects including tree inventories, pollinator garden creation, and invasive species management. Since then I became an ISA Certified Arborist and attained the Tree Risk Assessment Qualification (TRAQ).

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NYSUFC 2018 Annual Report: Accomplishments, Connections, and Memories

The Council’s 2018 Annual Report, professionally designed by Council Website Manager and Graphic Designer Sarah Gugercin, is now available! It is dedicated to the memories of Pat Tobin and Brian Skinner, and it honors the contributions of Mary Kramarchyk, Sally Kellogg, and Mary Martin, who have moved on to new professional opportunities.

The Annual Report is filled with upbeat images from 2018 conferences, workshops, tree planting events, and Arbor Day celebrations. Have a look, and please share with anyone who may be interested in hearing about the Council’s work and the phenomenal people around New York State who power that work.

Getting to Know Onondaga Earth Corps Director Greg Michel

Greg Michel (at left) went with a team of Onondaga Earth Corps staff and advanced crew members–Nick, Amanda, Taveon, and Tyrell–to the 2018 Partners in Urban Forestry Conference in Irvine, California.

Over the years, Onondaga Earth Corps (OEC) and the Council have partnered in various fruitful ways. OEC Director Greg Michel (pron. “Michael”) recently joined the Council Board; we wanted to get to know him and OEC better. A Council Blog post about the work of OEC can be seen here.

Greg Michel was born in Boston, then raised in Houston for a decade before his family moved to upstate NY when he was 12. He spent a gap year between high school and college in Japan as a Rotary Exchange Student, establishing an abiding interest in Japanese culture. After high school he attended Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio where he majored in International Studies with a regional focus on Japan and wrote his undergraduate thesis on “The Role of Japanese Identity in Cross-Cultural Communication.”

Michel then went to Tokyo Gakugei University to study International and Environmental Education at the graduate level, writing his thesis on “Impact of Global Connections on Place-Based Environmental Education,” and earning his master’s degree in 2001. 

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