Remembering Brian Skinner

Brian at left with his children Melissa, Tracy, Kevin, and Brianne and six of his eight grandkids. Brian’s wife Diane took the photo.

If you haven’t had a chance to send in a reflection, editor Michelle will be happy to add it. Please send to editor@nysufc.org. 

There are two rich profiles of Brian on the blog that you might like to visit. A popular profile from 2014, and Brian’s reflections on his career from the time of his semi-retirement from National Grid. There’s also a post about Brian receiving the first-ever Heartwood Award for service to the Council. 

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Mary Martin’s Career Change within DEC

Urban Forestry Volunteer Coordinator Mary Martin has taken another position within DEC.
 
She says, “I was offered a civil service position with the Division of Water in the Floodplain Management section. I will be assisting communities statewide in adhering to FEMA standards to become or remain eligible in the National Flood Insurance Program. It is a completely different program, however there are some parallels with the Urban Forestry Program in terms of federal funding, educational workshops, and outreach opportunities. I just started last Thursday, so I’m still learning.”
 
Congrats to you, Mary. You have been such an asset to the DEC Urban Forestry program. We will miss you, but we know you will go far in your career, and we are cheering you on! 

Pictorial: Honoring Brian Skinner, Remembering Pat Tobin

 

Following a tree planting in his honor, Brian Skinner’s friends and colleagues gave him a bucket truck salute. Among the speakers were Jim Maloney from National Grid, Rich Nelson from the New York State Arborists, and Council Secretary Steve Harris. Photo by Sally Kellogg/DEC

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A Tribute to Our Friend Pat Tobin

Pat Tobin in 2014 accepting Tree City USA recognition for Fayetteville, which has been a Tree City USA for nearly 20 years, thanks in no small part to Pat’s efforts. With Pat is NYSDEC Urban Forestry Partnerships Coordinator Sally Kellogg.

Beloved Council Past President (2006-2009) and longtime Council stalwart friend Pat Tobin died unexpectedly on September 1, 2018 in her home in Fayetteville. Pat was born and raised in the Eastwood neighborhood of Syracuse, graduating from Eastwood High School and continued her education, receiving a BA from Syracuse University. She remained a lifelong SU sports fan, cheering the football team on her last evening!

Pat spent 40 years at Niagara Mohawk as an IT programmer. After her retirement, Pat became a super-volunteer, helping out with numerous causes, most especially the urban forest by way of the Council and the Fayetteville Tree Commission. Pat was also an active member of Immaculate Conception Church in Fayetteville. 

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Saying Goodbye to the Council’s Beloved Pat Tobin

Longtime Council stalwart and unfailingly kind and gentle Pat Tobin died peacefully in her sleep at her home in Fayetteville on Saturday, September 1, 2018.

“Although she had some health issues, her death did come as a shock to the family. We wanted to reach out to the NYSUFC as soon as possible, because we know she was a great friend and mentor to so many in your organization. As you know, she took great joy in her work. We her family relished hearing all the latest ‘tree news’ and were so proud of her accomplishments both with the local tree commission and with your organization. Pat is survived by her brother Leo and sister-in-law Kathy Tobin of Canastota, and numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews, and, of course, friends.” –Regina Plunkett Dowling (wife of Pat’s nephew Sean Dowling)

We would like to do a tribute to Pat on the blog. To that end, kindly send your remembrances, pictures, and anecdotes to editor Michelle Sutton at editor@nysufc.org. Thank you.

Here are the details for Pat Tobin’s services.
Saturday, September 8, 2018
8:30-9:45am  Wake
10:00-11:00am Funeral Mass (followed by burial at St Mary’s Cemetery)
Immaculate Conception Church, 400 Salt Springs Rd, Fayetteville, NY
Funeral arrangements are being handled by the Schepp Family Funeral Home.

Thirteen NY Communities Awarded 2018 Arbor Day Grants

Magella Owen and Rajesh from HS of American Studies at Lehman College. by Anthony Thoman
photo Anthony Thoman

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! 

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Getting to Know the DEC Urban Forestry Program’s Mary Martin

 

Mary ADKS
Mary Martin in the Adirondacks

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. 

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NYC Parks’ Liam Kavanagh Brings Big-Picture Discussion to Council Board

Liam Kavanaugh
NYC Parks Commissioner Liam Kavanagh. Photo by Michelle Sutton, from 2016 SMA Conference 2016

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.

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Top Seven Blog Posts of 2017

bb-trees-on-truck-matthew-stephens

#1 Transplanting and a Deeper Look at “Fall Hazards”

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 NYSUFC Editor 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. 

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