NYSUFC Partners with NYSDEC to Award 2017 Arbor Day Project Grants

Photo by Pat Evens
Photo by Pat Evens

For the third consecutive year, the New York State Urban Forestry Council has partnered with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation as the administrative and award mechanism for community Arbor Day grants (once known as “Quick Start” grants), providing a total of $10,000 in grant monies to conduct an Arbor Day tree planting program and ceremony. These grants may be up to $1,000 for communities to conduct a tree planting event on their Arbor Day. Applications are reviewed by a committee of Council board members by means of a competitive ranking review once the communities meet the grant requirements.

In 2015, 12 communities applied, and all 12 communities received a grant. In 2016, 35 communities applied, and 13 were granted funding. For 2017, 18 communities applied to the Council and the committee was able to award $10,810 in grant monies this year to 12 worthy communities.

Our congratulations to the communities that were selected for grants this year: the towns of Fishkill, Mt. Hope, Rush, and Grand Island; the villages of Lewiston, Port Chester, Champlain, Nunda, Attica, Fair Haven, and Cambridge; and the City of Niagara Falls. We look forward to doing blog posts about their successful Arbor Day celebrations and planting events.

Please congratulate anyone you know from those communities on their success and continue to encourage other communities to apply for the grant next year. Just remind them that they can’t already be a grant recipient, an Arbor Day Foundation Tree City USA, or have any parts of the process to become a Tree City (such as a tree inventory or a management plan). This is because the Arbor Day grants are meant to help inexperienced communities begin to get involved in the exciting world of urban forestry! And please don’t forget to thank our partners at the DEC for sharing this opportunity with the Council. We really do appreciate their support and trust. Enjoy the green all summer! —Brian Skinner, Council Vice President 

Another Joyful Tree City/Tree Campus/Tree Line USA Awards Event

Beacon Tree City USA
Celebrating Beacon’s 20th year as a Tree City USA! (from left) NYSDEC Urban Forestry Program Assistant Mary Martin, City of Beacon Highway Superintendent Reuben Simmons Jr., DEC Region 3 Senior Forester George Profous, and NYSDEC Urban Forestry Partnerships Coordinator Sally Kellogg.

For the NYS urban and community forestry community, the annual Tree City/Tree Campus/Tree Line USA awards ceremony is always something delightful to look forward to in the last throes of winter. In 2017 it was held on March 30 in Albany and honored 115 Tree Cities statewide, 22 Tree Campuses, and 5 Tree Line Utilities. More than 130 people  from all 9 DEC regions attended, making it the most attended awards celebration yet.

Thank you to NYSDEC Urban Forestry Partnerships Coordinator Sally Kellogg for her help with this pictorial of highlights from the event. 

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The Red Hook Way: Town & Village Urban Forest Management Plans

Village Green and the Red Hook Town Tree Commission are pleased to share these urban forest management plans. Longtime Red Hook environmental advocate Brenda Cagle shares some background with us. 

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The Town of Red Hook Forestry Management Plan is an example of a volunteer-created plan for a small community (pop. 8240). The Red Hook Town Tree Commission created the plan in 2013 after the completion of a street tree inventory conducted by the Hudson Valley Specialized Weekday Arborist Team (SWAT) and funded by a NYSDEC Cost-Share Grant. This plan is very readable and informative. Colorful and inspiring pictures are sprinkled throughout and keep the reader’s attention. In addition to guidelines for budgeting, planting, maintenance and outreach, the plan includes the entire street tree inventory, a master tree list, tree planting instructions, and a resource page.

Red Hook Village cover

The Village of Red Hook Forestry Management Plan (2004) is an another example of a volunteer-created plan for a small community (pop. 1961). In September, 2003, a street tree inventory was conducted by what was then called the Cornell Community Forestry Outreach Team. Village Green, the Village of Red Hook’s tree committee, created the forestry management plan the following spring. Some of the inventory findings—such as the lack of species diversity and the need for immediate maintenance or professional consultation—formed the basis of the plan. The Village used the plan to prioritize tree maintenance work and make informed planting choices. A second street tree inventory, funded by NYSDEC Cost-Share Grant dollars, was conducted in 2009. The results showed greater species diversity and lower maintenance needs, illustrating the value of having and plan and following it. This Village of Red Hook Plan would be most useful to those who have recently completed an inventory.

 

 

 

Opportunity to Stop the Spread of Oak Wilt

In this post, NYSDEC Division of Lands and Forests-Forest Health Oak Wilt Operations Coordinator Jennifer Kotary shares a simple way to prevent the spread of oak wilt.

 

The connection between forest health and urban forestry is apparent in the management of oak wilt, a serious disease that kills thousands of trees per year. NYSDEC Forest Health has adopted a rapid response to this disease in order to prevent the establishment of oak wilt. This rapid response seeks to prevent the need to spend millions of dollars a year to control oak wilt and to prevent the loss of millions of dollars in oak wood sales in the state. Management is also critical to protect the intrinsic value of trees in urban forests, as trees improve everyone’s quality of life.

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Saratoga Tree Nursery Annual Tree and Shrub Seedling Sale

Pine trees are among the Saratoga Tree Nursery’s offerings. Photo by Larry Decker

DEC’s Tree Nursery Offers Variety of Seedlings to Create Effective Windbreaks and Snow Fences

More than 50 species of trees and shrubs from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) Saratoga Tree Nursery are now available to public and private landowners and schools, DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today. Winter winds often cause blowing and drifting snow that can create hazardous road conditions, reduced visibility and other safety issues. Strong, cold winds may also reduce home heating efficiency, increase winter energy bills, and even impact unsheltered livestock herds. By planting rows of trees and shrubs at right angles to prevailing winds, an effective natural windbreak can be created.

“Living windbreaks can improve road conditions, protect livestock, create wildlife habitat, and save New Yorkers money on their utility bills,” Commissioner Seggos said. “DEC’s state tree nursery has a variety of seedling species for creating windbreaks. I encourage all New Yorkers to take advantage of this great resource and to work with our foresters and experts at the nursery to maximize the conservation benefits of your plantings.”

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Schools Eligible for Free Tree Seedlings – Apps due March 31

Photo by Pat Evens
Photo by Pat Evens

Schools Can Complete Conservation Planting for Free

Schools across New York are eligible to receive free seedlings for spring planting through the DEC School Seedling Program, which provides 50 tree seedlings or a mixed packet of 30 wildlife shrubs to any public or private school that would like to participate. The seedlings can be planted on school grounds or other community spaces, and offer teachers a great resource to enhance environmental lessons.

Applications to participate are available at DEC’s School Seedling Program page, by contacting the Saratoga Tree Nursery at (518) 581-1439, or by contacting the nearest DEC regional forestry office to request a “School Seedlings” brochure, which contains all the information necessary to place an order. Applications must be received at the nursery by March 31, 2017.

Round 13 Cost-Share Grants! Application Period,Webinar,Case Studies

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Baldcypress grove in Buffalo’s Forest Lawn Cemetery. Photo by Michelle Sutton

Round 13 of the NYSDEC Urban Forestry Grants Program was announced on December 22, 2016. NYSDEC Commissioner Basil Seggos has announced the availability of $2.3 million for Round 13. Applications are due by March 1, 2017.

These are the four categories: · Tree inventory · Tree management plan · Tree planting · Tree maintenance

Awards range from $11,000 to $75,000, depending on municipal population. Municipalities with populations of 65,000 or greater are eligible for grants up to $75,000. Towns with populations less than 65,000 are able to apply for up to $50,000. For inventory and management plan grants, no match is required. For planting and maintenance grants, there is a required 25% match.

These grants are made available through the Environmental Protection Fund to municipalities, nonprofits, soil and water conservation districts, school districts, community colleges, Indian nations or tribes, public benefit corporations, and public authorities.

A free webinar about the grant application process will be offered on Thursday, January 5th at 2 p.m. Registration is required.

To see the instructions and application, Go to the NYS Grants Gateway then go to Browse Opportunities > DEC > 2016 Urban and Community Forestry Grants Program (Round 13)- Tree Planting or Tree Maintenance Projects.

On our NYSUFC blog you can see examples of what the following municipalities and other entities did with their past cost-share grant dollars, excerpts from their application narratives, and advice they have to offer to new applicants:

Fayetteville
ReTree Schenectady
Norwich
Trees NY
Red Hook
Buffalo
Scottsville
Nyack

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Getting to Know Trees for Tribs …

… with Trees for Tribs Coordinator Sarah Walsh

Trees for Tribs, as in tributaries, is a Department of Environmental Conservation program replanting New York’s streams. The program began in 2007 in the Hudson River Estuary and has since expanded statewide, working with partners across the state to plant native trees and shrubs for improved wildlife habitat, water quality, and storm resiliency.

The program works with private landowners, municipalities, schools, and conservation organizations, providing technical assistance, low- to no-cost native trees and shrubs, and tree tubes for planting sites. The program currently has coordinators on the ground in six watersheds (Champlain, Mohawk, Hudson Estuary, Croton, Upper Susquehanna, and lower Genesee). Trees for Tribs works with other organizations outside of these watersheds to coordinate projects on the ground.

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Town of Ellington’s Grant-Funded 2016 Arbor Day Celebration

 

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DEC Forester Jeff Brockelbank taught Ellington families proper tree planting techniques.

Former Town of Ellington Councilwoman Tamara Miles led the Town’s Recreation Committee efforts to secure an Arbor Day grant from the NYSUFC and to host a lively Arbor Day celebration on April 30, 2016.

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First, the Jamestown Audubon Society presented “Cavity Nesting Birds,” a talk connecting birds to native trees in the area. Then, DEC Forester Jeff Brockelbank led the community in a proper tree planting demo, and helped the residents plant a Kentucky coffeetree (Cladrastis kentukea) and two redbuds (Cercis canadensis). He also taught them about young tree pruning and proper mulching techniques. Master Gardener Carol Lorenc then presented on native plants and how to avoid invasive plants. All members of the Town Board were present to hand out native tree seedlings to community members.

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NYSDEC Slows Southern Pine Beetle’s Movement Across Long Island

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DEC’s Molly Hassett conducts an aerial survey of Southern Pine Beetle damage to pines on Long Island. Photos Courtesy Molly Hassett and DEC

Molly Hassett is the Southern Pine Beetle (SPB) Response Program Assistant for NYSDEC’s Forest Health section. She provided this report on the pest, which can devastate pines from New Jersey to Florida to Texas to Illinois.

But first, a note about an upcoming grant opportunity. NYSDEC Urban Forestry Coordinator Mary Kramarchyk says, “The DEC’s forest health section is a great partner to us in urban forestry. We collaborate and assist New York’s communities by sharing each other’s information and resources. Those Long Island communities affected by the southern pine beetle may benefit from the next round of urban forestry grants, especially if they missed the SPB grants. Inventory, planning, planting, and maintenance funds will be available this fall.

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Southern pine beetles are said to look like chocolate sprinkles. It’s just 3 mm long. Photo by Molly Hassett
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Southern pine beetles attempt to enter the tree through a “pitch tube” — a resin mass that the tree produces to try to defend itself against further attack.

Southern pine beetle was first found on Long Island, New York in October 2014. Since then, the beetle has killed thousands of pitch pine trees on Long Island. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) continues working to slow the beetle. DEC monitors southern pine beetle with traps, aerial surveys, and ground surveys.

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