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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UCF Federal Appropriations Increase in FY19

February 20, 2019

Here’s an encouraging update from the National Association of State Foresters (NASF) on the status of FY19 federal funding for forests, via the U.S. Forest Service, including urban and community forestry (UFC). This is the funding that critically supports statewide UCF efforts such as those of the NYSDEC UCF program.

Support for UCF nationally is up $1 million from FY18, a validation of Congress’s support for programs like our state’s. The full press release follows. Council members: let’s continue to raise UCF awareness among our representatives at every level as work begins on advocating for federal funding for FY2020. 

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TREE Fund Awardees for Urban Forestry Research

A glimpse into upcoming urban forestry research: Why have a tiny percentage of ash trees survived EAB? How can LIDAR be used to improve urban forest management? How do mycorrhizae help young trees access soil moisture? Why do seemingly healthy trees fail, unpredictably impacting power lines, and how can better failure models be developed?

TREE Fund raises these funds through its annual Tour des Trees epic bike ride. It’s not too late to register to ride in the 2019 Tour des Trees or to sponsor a rider. This year’s ride is in Kentucky and Tennessee, Sept 16-20. 

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Study Findings: Front & Backyard Vegetation in Urban Forest

“Backyards are very important,” says coauthor Dexter Locke. New insights from research on “Urban form, architecture, and the structure of front and backyard vegetation,” by Alessandro Ossolaa, Dexter Locke,
Brenda Linc, and Emily Minord in the Journal of Landscape and Urban Planning. 185 (2019) 141–157

ABSTRACT
Residential yards comprise most land and green space across cities. Despite yards being ubiquitous, little comprehensive information exists on how vegetation varies between front and backyards. This hinders our ability to optimize greening interventions on private urban land.

We devised an accurate GIS algorithm to locate and classify front and backyards within residential landscapes. By applying this method to the greater Boston area, we measured vegetation structure (i.e., canopy cover, height and volume) of front and backyards with LiDAR and multispectral imagery. We further investigated relationships between urban form, architectural style, socio-economics, and the structure of front and backyard vegetation across Boston’s residential landscapes. 

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Remembering a Titan of Urban Forestry: Ed Drabek

Edwin S. (Ed) Drabek

Feb. 18, 1934 – Jan. 22, 2019

Some factual information for this post is excerpted from Mr. Drabek’s obituary, written by Dale Anderson for The Buffalo News.

Ed Drabek leaves a legacy of nearly 60 years of service to Buffalo’s urban forest and community and to our wider field of urban forestry. Drabek joined the Buffalo Parks Department Forestry Division 1962 as assistant city forester and was promoted to city forester in 1968.

In the early years, his career was consumed by managing the ravages of Dutch elm disease, removing elms and beginning to restock the Buffalo city forest with a wider variety of urban-tolerant species. It’s estimated that Drabek oversaw the removal of about 95,000 mature elms, but then supervised the planting of 75,000 trees—with sustainable biodiversity in mind. 

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Watertown’s Urban Arboretum Gets New Name, Signage, and Interpretation

Mike DeMarco took these ethereal photos while checking on young trees after work; one of them appeared on the cover (below) of City Trees, the magazine of the Society of Municipal Arborists.

Michael J. (Mike) DeMarco is a City of Watertown Planner through the Office of Planning & Community Development. Mike is also a Council Board Member, an ISA Certified Arborist, and a 2017 Municipal Forestry Institute (MFI) graduate. These stunning winter scenes from his Instagram page prompted us to ask him about Watertown’s Washington Street Arboretum, soon to be renamed the Downtown Arboretum.

Mike DeMarco:
The pictures were taken in front of the Roswell P. Flower Memorial Library, along Washington Street within the City’s Downtown Arboretum. In the foreground of these two night-time photos are ‘Glenleven’ littleleaf lindens (Tilia cordata), a sugar maple (Acer saccharum), a ‘Summit’ green ash (Fraxinus pensylvanica), a ‘Red Sunset’ red maple (A. rubrum ‘Red Sunset’) and a saucer magnolia (Magnoliasoulangeana). In the background of the pics are some of the more unique and historic trees found within the arboretum (read on!)  

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