From Brian Skinner, Council Treasurer and Arbor Day Grant Program Chair
The NYS Urban Forestry Council Arbor Day Grant Program Committee, in conjunction with the NYSDEC, is pleased to announce the winners of the 2018 grants. There was significant competition this year, with 26 applications from across New York State submitted and 13 communities eventually selected to receive grants of $400-$1,000 to conduct a first-time community celebration of Arbor Day.
The Villages of Albion, Bainbridge, Freeville, Lima, and Liverpool; the Towns of East Bloomfield, Hastings, New Windsor, North Collins, and Plattsburgh; and the cities of Gloversville and Sherrill were selected to receive grants in support of new Arbor Day programs as presented and described in their applications. Congrats to these communities!
As the volunteer coordinator for the NYSDEC Urban Forestry Program, I do a lot. My job duties vary throughout the year, ranging from planning ReLeaf workshops to creating theme and lesson plans for the 5th Grade Arbor Day Poster Contest. Reviewing Tree City USA applications is one of my favorite parts of my job; it’s so much fun to see how different communities across the state get creative with how they celebrate Arbor Day.
Many of my favorite memories from growing up include being outdoors with my friends and family. Those memories, coupled with my fascination for rocks, led to me study Environmental Science at SUNY Albany. I was positive I was in the right field, but I was at a loss for what I wanted to do after college. I spent my winter breaks of junior and senior year in Ecuador with an organization called Global Student Embassy. We worked on reforestation and local sustainability projects—experiences that helped ignite a passion for working with communities and trees.
Last month, NYC Parks First Deputy Commissioner Liam Kavanagh came and spoke with the Council Board at their meeting at the NYSDEC Region 2 office on Long Island. Commissioner Kavanagh discussed three national, big-picture urban forestry projects with the Board: the Ten-Year Urban Forestry Action Plan, a report on the Impact of Urban and Community Forestry Federal Grants, and the Urban Forestry Toolkit. Let’s look at each one.
1) The Ten-Year Urban Forestry Action Plan (2016-2026) was developed by and for the urban forestry community. It was funded by the US Forest Service and developed by the National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council (NUCFAC)* with extensive input from stakeholders. You can read an interesting interview with Liam Kavanagh about the Plan here.
The Plan’s purpose is to expand awareness of the benefits that our urban forests, including green infrastructure, provide to communities throughout the nation, and increase investments in these urban forest resources for the benefit of current and future generations.
Some topics really hold up … with nearly 1400 views, this was the top viewed blog post in 2017–even though it originally appeared in 2015! Former NYC Director of Street Tree Planting Matt Stephens and NYSUFCEditor Michelle Sutton coauthored this story questioning commonly held beliefs about “fall hazards,” mostly as it applies to B&B trees, but they also discuss the interaction of the fall season with other production methods, like bare root. Nina Bassuk helped craft the section called “The Five Branches of Transplanting Success,” which will be of interest to anyone planting trees.
Funding Will Help Support Tree Planting and Other Urban Forestry Projects Statewide
Read on to find out about the awardees and their projects
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced grant awards totaling $2.3 million for urban forestry projects in communities across New York. The Urban Forestry grants are funded through the state Environmental Protection Fund and are part of New York’s ongoing initiatives to address invasive species, climate change and environmental justice.
“These investments will help improve the quality of life in New York neighborhoods by supporting the replacement of trees impacted by invasive pests,” Governor Cuomo said. “Every New Yorker deserves access to clean air, and through these urban forestry grants, we are promoting the benefits of planting new trees to support a better, healthier New York for all.”
Grants were made available to municipalities, public benefit corporations, public authorities, school districts, soil and water conservation districts, community colleges, not-for-profit organizations, and Indian Nations. Awards range from $11,000 to $75,000, depending on municipal population. Tree inventories and community forestry management plans have no match. Tree planting and maintenance projects have a 25 percent match.
Above: 2017 Arbor Day Poster, Photo by Brad Wenskoski
Each year the public is invited to submit photography and/or artwork to be considered for the NYS Arbor Day Poster. It is a long time tradition and posters have become collectors’ items for many. NYSDEC will print 100,000 posters for distribution to the 3,500 NYS schools, the NYS Fair, and other venues. The winning artist will be honored at the annual state Arbor Day celebration.
Artwork and photography is now being accepted for the 2018 NYS Arbor Day Poster Contest. To submit your photography and/or artwork please complete artist information form and send it with your artwork attached to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Submissions must be received by December 31st, 2017. Only photographs taken in New York State will be accepted. If your photograph features any distinguishable persons, a model consent form (PDF, 113 KB) must be included with your submission. Please submit images with a resolution of 300 dpi or higher.
Each year the public is invited to submit photography and/or artwork to be considered for the State Arbor Day Poster. It is a long time tradition and posters have become collectors’ items for many. We will print 100,000 posters for distribution to the 3,500 NYS schools, the NYS Fair and other venues. The winning artist will be honored at the annual state Arbor Day celebration.
Submissions must be received by December 31st, 2017. Only photographs taken in New York State will be accepted. If your photograph features any distinguishable persons, a model consent form must be included with your submission. Please submit images with a resolution of 300 dpi or higher.
Please tell us about your internship experience, including anything surprising. Abigail Mahoney: I began the Urban and Community Forestry internship at NYSDEC shortly after completing my junior year at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) in the environmental policy, planning, and law program. As someone who is not specifically a forestry student, I had hoped this internship would expose me to new concepts and varying points of view while appealing to my existing interests.
The Council’s 2016 Annual Report is now available! Please help us circulate this document that tells the story of the NYSUFC’s many accomplishments in 2016.
Our annual report serves many functions including defining mission and enumerating goals and then showing how those have been pursued and achieved. It creates a historic record for the Council and is a fact-filled, handsomely designed and illustrated deliverable that can be shared with constituents, stakeholders, partners, and policy-makers.
Please distribute far and wide to anyone who may be interested in hearing about the Council’s work!
Council Board Member Mike DeMarco attended the 2017 Municipal Forestry Institute (MFI) on scholarship from the Council and NYSDEC. MFI is an immersive, weeklong leadership training for urban forestry professionals. Here, we learn about DeMarco’s takeaways from MFI, his current position, and his work and educational background.
DeMarco says, “I would like to give a big shout out and thank you to the New York State Urban Forestry Council and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Without the support and positive push from members of these organizations, I would not have been able to take part in MFI 2017.”
Mike DeMarco: Prior to any thought of a career in urban forestry, I spent most of my early and mid-20’s following an obsession with creating music and working as a master control operator at WWNY- TV7, a local news station in my hometown of Watertown, NY. After a few years of work in TV, I felt that something was missing in my life—that is, until 2008 when I found Tree Watertown (Watertown’s Street Tree Advisory Board). I began attending meetings and quickly discovered my love for the urban forest.
Before I knew it, I was being mentored by two individuals that have since played a huge part in my journey. They encouraged me to pursue higher education and in the fall of 2012, I graduated from SUNY-ESF with a BS in Natural Resource Management and a minor in Urban Forestry.