The Nature Conservancy’s Bill Toomey: Healthy Trees, Healthy Cities

bill-toomeyWe are excited that the Nature Conservancy’s Bill Toomey will be our Conference keynote speaker at Hoffstra later this month (register here!). Bill oversees the Healthy Trees, Healthy Cities project of the Nature Conservancy. Healthy Trees, Healthy Cities is an initiative of The Nature Conservancy with programs currently running in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and Tennessee.

Bill is currently the Director of Forest Health Protection working as part of the Nature Conservancy’s North American Forest Priority and the Conservancy’s Urban Conservation Strategies Initiative. Most recently, Bill served as the Executive Director of the Highstead Foundation, a conservation non-profit based in Connecticut, which advanced forest conservation work throughout New England. Prior to that he worked for The Nature Conservancy for 10 years in the Connecticut and Massachusetts Chapters where he held positions as stewardship ecologist, landscape project director, and major gift fundraiser. He has also worked for the City of San Jose, California where he managed the residential recycling and composting program. Bill holds a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Fairfield University and a master’s degree in Soil Science and Ecology from North Carolina State University. Bill is also an ISA certified Arborist and is a member of the CT Urban Forest Council.

Here’s a link to a great interview the Conservancy did with Bill about his background and the Healthy Trees, Healthy Cities initiative, and here’s an excellent video about the Nature Conservancy’s Urban Strategies:

From the Healthy Trees… site:

Healthy Trees, Healthy Cities is improving the health of America’s trees by engaging people in hands-on tree care and inspiring a new generation of environmental stewards. How do we do it?

We start with:

  • Assessing urban forest health to inform tree planting and management;
  • Training volunteers in tree stewardship and tree health monitoring;
  • Engaging youth and the public;
  • Raising awareness about the importance of trees and what people can do to keep trees healthy through education and outreach; and
  • Working with local partners to ensure the successful implementation of the program.

Cross-Pollinating Urban Forestry

On March 4, NYSUFC President Andy Hillman attended the Alliance for Community Trees (ACTrees) first-ever Urban Forest Council Steering Committee meeting. The other participating state councils were from NC, PA, WI, CO, and CA. Hillman says, “The meeting affirmed for me that our Council is part of a larger urban forestry movement that could benefit from more cross-pollination and sharing of ideas.”

In that spirit, it seems fitting that as our own NYSUFC blog launches, we check out the blogs and websites of other state urban forest councils. What are some of the most interesting and innovative things they are doing? 

Georgia Urban Forest Council | Sustaining Georgia’s green legacy by helping communities grow healthy trees. The Georgia Urban Forest Council has a well-developed, easy-to-navigate website with a blog on the home page. They have a Georgia ReLeaf “Donate” button right on the home page. Other nice touches: There is a tab that links to the American Grove blog, and a tab that goes to extensive pages on tree care.

Read more…