Snapshots from Skidmore: ReLeaf 2016 Part I

IMG_0401
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.
IMG_0396
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!
IMG_0539
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.
IMG_0406
NYS DEC Urban Forestry Program Assistant Mary Martin did a fantastic job as conference facilitator/coordinator.
IMG_0353
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.
IMG_0367
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.
IMG_0408
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.
IMG_0563
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!

2015 Annual Council Report Now Available!

annual report 2015 From NYSUFC President David Moore: 

The Council’s 2015 Annual Report has been finalized and is ready for your review and distribution!

Our annual report serves many functions including:

  • Defining the Council’s mission and goals;

  • Illustrating how those mission and goals are pursued;

  • Measuring progress and quantifying accomplishments;

  • Re-capping all activities that took place in a year for the sake of creating a historic record; and

  • Creating a fact-filled deliverable that can be shared with constituents, stakeholders, partners, and policy-makers.

Many copies of this report have been printed and can be picked up at this week’s ReLeaf Conference in Saratoga Springs, but of course you can also download a digital copy yourself at any time. Please distribute far and wide to anyone who may be interested in hearing about the Council’s work!

Cheers,
David
david.moore@parks.nyc.gov

 

 

 

Gary Raffel: Get to Know Him!

IMG_9051 - Copy Arborist Gary Raffel (pron. “Rough-FELL”) is a NYSUFC Board member and small business owner based in Bloomfield, south of Rochester.

What lead you to arboriculture and urban forestry?
Gary Raffel: I grew up with an interest in the outdoors, including hunting and hiking, and from an early age wanted to become a forester. In high school, I did landscaping work for a friend’s start-up company and gravitated toward pruning trees and the thrill of climbing them to get a dead limb here or there. That turned into working for tree companies on summer breaks from Paul Smith’s College. Eventually, I decided to dual major at SUNY ESF in forestry and forest biology to integrate my desire to become a forester with my experience climbing and working in arboriculture.

While at ESF I took Paul Manyon’s tree pathology class and an entomology course and was hooked on the material and the desire to focus on individual trees. I worked for a summer in Pennsylvania marking timber and boundary lines for a consulting forestry company and I realized, though I loved the forest setting, I missed the thrill of climbing and focusing on the individual tree within the stand. It became clear to me that the real-world economics of timber stand management wasn’t always in accord with the textbook sustainable management practices I was so eager to implement. I also met too many foresters who had come to feel like the woods was a job site for them and they began to despise it. I wanted to keep the woods as a special place, one where I could always hike and hunt without feeling like I was on a job site. So from then on, I decided to focus my studies on arboriculture and urban forestry.

Read more…

Getting to Know Capital Roots and Sharon DiLorenzo

 

Sharon DiLorenzo and capital roots iii

Sharon DiLorenzo is a program manager for Capital Roots, whose vision for the future of the Capital Region is “where every person has access to fresh, affordable, healthy food.” The organization is also involved in urban forestry projects and partnerships. She has served multiple terms on the NYSUFC Board and will be presenting on the work of Capital Roots as part of the “Fruits of the Urban Forest” workshop on Saturday morning of the upcoming (July 14-16) conference in Saratoga Springs.

Read more…

Getting the Word Out: Advice for Writing about Urban Forestry

by Michelle Sutton, NYSUFC Blog & E-news Editor

yellowwood-flowers.jpg
Yellowwood (Cladrastis kentukea) in bloom. Michelle Sutton

Why Write?
My colleague Jeff Shimonski was the director of horticulture for Jungle Island in Miami, Florida for 39 years. He retired from that position in 2014 and now works as an urban forestry consultant. He also continues to write about horticulture for a variety of publications, including the Biscayne Times, for which he’s written 72 columns.

“Ever since I started working professionally in horticulture I always wanted to write articles for newspapers, magazines, and journals,” he says. “It was a big thrill for me to get published for the first time in an international journal.”

I remember that thrill, too. I’ve been freelance writing since 1998 and freelance editing since 2005. I can relate to both sides of the editor’s desk. I’ve been the writer whose submissions are rejected, and I’ve been the editor who had to do some polite rejecting. I have some thoughts to share based on my familiarity with both sides of the exchange.

Why write about urban forestry? First of all, our field needs more advocacy and visibility, in the form of online or print features, columns, and letters to the editor. The more publications we have a presence in—from small-town papers to national magazines and blogs—the more the field of urban forestry is elevated. You may also be motivated to write for the sheer pleasure and gratification of it, for a little extra money, to develop your writing ability, or to help promote your business. Sharing your expertise in a lively way is an effective form of marketing yourself, your company, or the nonprofit you’re involved with, while getting urban forestry out in the public eye.

Read more…

Saratoga Springs & Skidmore College: Seven Things to Anticipate

Saratoga Springs (Pop. ~ 28,000) is a magical kind of town, one that invites you to explore it on foot. There are many reasons you may wish to come early or stay after the ReLeaf Conference (July 14-16), taking place at Skidmore College, ends.

saratoga book cover*Skidmore College is a 10-minute walk to the very walkable city of Saratoga Springs, where horticulture has a longstanding and elevated station among the beautiful and historic buildings (see especially, Congress Park). A book was written about the horticultural history of Saratoga Springs called Saratoga in Bloom: 150 Years of Glorious Gardens by Janet Loughrey. You can see an article about the book and author here.

*Saratogians loves their urban forest. The City and the nonprofit Sustainable Saratoga Urban Forestry Project partner to get big things done. From the Urban Forestry Project website: “Sustainable Saratoga’s Urban Forestry Project (UFP) gained visibility during 2012 by deploying 125 volunteers to inventory more than 5600 street and park trees in Saratoga Springs. The City used our inventory to shape its first-ever Urban Forest Master Plan, funded by a DEC grant. The City invited the UFP to partner with it during the process of drafting the plan, which was adopted by the city council on May 21, 2013. The UFP quickly broadened its focus beyond the inventory, and now works on many fronts, educating about and advocating for the “preservation and expansion” of our urban forest. In 2014, we partnered with Saratoga Springboard and the City’s DPW to organize Tree Toga, a [now annual] Arbor Day tree planting initiative and a festival on Henry Street.”

Read more…

NYC Arbor Day Project, with Youth Growing & Planting 234 Trees

 

Magella Owen and Rajesh from HS of American Studies at Lehman College. by Anthony Thoman
Students from the High School of American Studies at Lehman College in the Bronx plant an evergreen on campus. The students are left to right: Magella Sheehan, Owen McFadzean, and Rajesh Persad. Photo by Anthony Thoman

Due to spring holidays, schools in New York City adopted May 6th as NYC Arbor Day. On that Friday last spring, most of the 59 participating schools planted their trees, which included flowering dogwoods, redbuds, wild cherries, maples, Colorado spruces, red oaks, black walnuts, river birches, honey locusts and black pines. Also planting were Urban Park Rangers at Inwood Hill Park, which is part of NYC Parks & Recreation.

planting Sophia
Kindergartners in Pat Evens’s class at PS 174 in Queens plant a redbud tree they named Sophia. Photo by Pat Evens

The total number of trees planted was 234, which had been grown to size and carefully tended by students and teachers at John Bowne High School in Flushing, Queens. Students at Bowne participate in the Plant Science and Animal Science programs at this high school. The tree nursery is part of a small farm that is also home to animals, greenhouses, an orchard, and vegetable planting beds.

Read more…

Karen Emmerich Reflects on Municipal Forestry Institute Experience

RELEAF 221
Karen Emmerich

Environmental consultant Karen Emmerich serves on the NYSUFC Board, on the Region 3 ReLeaf Committee, and as Tree Commission Chair for the Town of Warwick. Last February, the Council provided a partial scholarship for Karen to attend the Municipal Forestry Institute (MFI), a weeklong leadership training for urban forestry professionals and their affiliates.

MFI_logo no year“Without hesitation, I would encourage anybody who is in the urban forestry field to attend MFI,” she says. “Do whatever you have to do to get there! I found it so incredibly valuable.” She says the leadership skill building and the networking were the most meaningful to her. She especially urges young people to go, to get the benefits of MFI early in their career. More about Karen’s MFI experience later.

Read more…

Flood Damage to Trees after Hurricane Sandy: Lessons and Surprises

Robert Simpson public domain
Section of Long Island following Hurricane Sandy photographed by U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Rob Simpson. Photo in the public domain.

by Michelle Sutton

The 2016 Atlantic Ocean hurricane season officially began June 1, with meteorologists offering varying opinions about how much activity we in the eastern U.S. will see. Hurricane Sandy (October 2012) savaged tree populations with both high winds and flooding. Sandy brought one storm surge of salt water that retreated with the same day’s tides. What were some of the impacts and lessons learned? We hear from a veteran arborist on Long Island and from a former NYC urban forester.

What are the major reasons flooding is so punishing for trees? Dr. Kamran Abdollahi, professor of forest ecophysiology in the urban forestry program at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, explains that flooding fills soil pores, denying tree roots access to the oxygen they need for respiration and water and nutrient uptake. Dr. Abdollahi says, “In the urban environment where soils are already compacted by human activities, flooding exacerbates compaction and its negative effects. Flooding can also negatively affect root anchoring and tree stability.”

Long Island
Arborist Joel Greifenberger is the owner of Valley Tree and Landscape in Long Beach, Long Island. Valley has planted more than 25,000 trees for NYC in over 25 years. Greifenberger says that on Long Beach, Hurricane Sandy brought several feet of salt water on land, “bay to ocean,” for about 12 hours. That brief flooding event left dramatic damage to the region’s trees, with some surprising victims.

Read more…