USFS Climate Change Specialist Leslie Brandt Coming to ReLeaf 2019

We are most fortunate to have USFS Climate Change Specialist Dr. Leslie Brandt as the 2019 ReLeaf Conference Friday morning plenary speaker and leader of a workshop later that morning.

In the plenary she will discuss “Assessing Climate Change Vulnerability of Urban Forest and Natural Ecosystems in the Mid-Atlantic Region” and in the workshop, she zooms in on NY with “Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Strategies for New York’s Trees.”

To get background on Leslie’s work with her climate change cohorts, you can see a superb infographic here about the findings of the team studying the vulnerability of the tree species in the urban forests of greater Chicago. The full paper about this study is here.

The vulnerability case studies presented are most interesting. For example, find out why the Village of Riverside’s urban forest is Low-Moderately Vulnerable to climate change effects, while the City of Lake Forest is Moderately Vulnerable, while the Glencoe Park Distrist is Moderate to Highly Vulnerable. What can we do to make moderate to highly vulnerable urban forests in New York more resilient?

Renowned Climate Change Journalist Andrew Revkin Speaking at ReLeaf 2019

Andrew Revkin reported for The New York Times in 2003 from a research camp set up on sea ice drifting near the North Pole. Scientists erected the sign, then added “was” as currents were pushing the ice several miles a day. Photo by Peter West for the National Science Foundation. Photo in Public Domain

At ReLeaf 2019 (July 18-20), Saturday’s keynote speaker will be award-winning climate change journalist and Hudson Valley resident Andrew Revkin on “Forest Lessons in a Changing Climate.” The following bio for Andrew was originally published by ProPublica.

Andrew Revkin is the senior reporter for climate and related issues at ProPublica. He joined the newsroom in December 2016, after 21 years of writing for The New York Times, most recently through his Dot Earth blog for the Opinion section, and six years teaching at Pace University.

Revkin began writing on climate change in the 1980s. In the mid 2000s, he exposed political suppression of climate findings at NASA and editing of federal climate reports by political appointees with ties to the petroleum industry. He was the first Times reporter to file stories and photos from the sea ice around the North Pole.

Revkin has won most of the top awards in science journalism, along with a Guggenheim Fellowship, Columbia University’s John Chancellor Award for sustained journalistic excellence and an Investigative Reporters & Editors Award.

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Board Member Danielle Gift on ReLeaf 2018 & Her New Position

Council Board Member Danielle Gift with a Parrotia persica on the RIT campus. Photo by Michelle Sutton

Danielle Gift received a scholarship from the New York City/Region 2 ReLeaf Committee, of which she is an active member, to pay for ReLeaf registration and lodging. Get involved with your region’s ReLeaf Committee

Danielle Gift: 

“This year’s Annual New York ReLeaf Conference was one of my favorites to date! The Region 8 committee did a fantastic job of providing a great mix of workshops and field tours on a variety of topics, and all of the speakers were incredible engaging and knowledgeable.

At NYC Parks I’ve recently transitioned from Manager of Special Urban Forestry Projects to Tree Preservation Senior Project Manager. Although many of my special projects came with me to this new position, I now have a stronger focus on tree presentation, and this conference had something important and applicable in each session. It was exciting for me to see these workshops through a different lens—the tree preservation lens. With that in mind, there were three highlights for me: the Keynote on New York Tree Law, the picnic at Olmsted-designed Genesee Valley Park, and the Saturday Service Project, which focused on a Trees for Tribs restoration site in an area hit hard by Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). 

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ReLeaf 2018 at RIT, Part V: Learning from the Best

These are just some of the talented professionals who presented talks and workshops at ReLeaf 2018. You can see the full program here

NY Natural Heritage Program Ecologist Julie Lundgren served on the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid panel following the superb documentary about HWA: www.youtube.com/watch?v=AupnMjYaI0Q Photo by Michelle Sutton
Cornell Extension Associate Mark Whitmore (left) features prominently in the HWA documentary and served on the panel afterwards. Here, he is introducing silver flies that predate on HWA to hemlocks with students Ky Barnett and Tracy Yardley. Photo Cornell Chronicle
Hilary Mosher is the Finger Lakes Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISM) Program Coordinator. She served on the HWA panel with Julie Lundgren and Mark Whitmore.

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ReLeaf 2018 at RIT, Part IV: Networking & Advocacy

Council President Karen Emmerich (at left) has nurtured the spirit of advocacy required in these times to keep urban and community forestry properly funded. Here, conferees send postcards to legislators about why UCF funding is so vital. All photos by Michelle Sutton
ReLeafers had fabulous weather for their tour of Rochester’s iconic Mount Hope Cemetery.
The Council Members Reception on Thursday evening came with complimentary drinks and catered eats.

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ReLeaf 2018 at RIT, Part III: Sustainability Tour

RIT Sustainability Initiatives Manager Harshita Sood (far right, front) gave a phenomenal tour of the campus through the lens of sustainability. Here, the tour group just passed through the heart of the quad, underlain with geothermal tech. The campus has very popular low-tech programs, too, like “Goodbye, Good Buy,” in which incoming students can inexpensively purchase furniture and other items left behind by the previous spring’s graduating students. All photos by Michelle Sutton
Welcome to RIT’s Golisano Institute for Sustainability, home to biofuels, fuel cells, and smart building test beds; NanoPower and sustainable manufacturing labs; the Center for Remanufacturing and Resource Recovery; and much, much more. rit.edu/gis

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ReLeaf 2018 at RIT, Part I: Faces of NYS Urban & Community Forestry

Onondaga Earth Corps folks at the Friday night picnic. OEC Director and new Council Board Member Greg Michel is at front left. All photos by Michelle Sutton
NYC Parks Foresters Leanna Kirschen (left) and Ariane Trani
Claire and Ryan Burkum of Burkum Plant Health and Tree Care attended ReLeaf for the first time. Claire is a biologist and pest diagnostician and Ryan is a certified arborist.

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Rochester ReLeaf: RIT, Our Extraordinary Campus Host

Our campus host for Rochester ReLeaf 2018 is the world-renowned Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). RIT is a privately endowed, coeducational university with nine colleges emphasizing career education and experiential learning.

  • RIT was founded in 1829! How is this possible, you say? You can read the history here.
  • The RIT campus occupies 1,300 acres in suburban Rochester, which is the third-largest city in New York State. RIT also has international locations in China, Croatia, Dubai, and Kosovo.
  • The student body consists of approximately 15,700 undergraduate and 3,250 graduate students. Students from across the United States and from over 100 countries attend RIT. Nearly 3,500 students from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds are enrolled on the main campus along with more than 2,700 international students. An additional 2,200 students are enrolled at RIT’s international locations.
  • Women were welcomed at RIT decades before other colleges even considered co-education.
  • RIT is the third largest producer of undergraduate STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) degrees among all private universities in the nation.
  • The Institute’s programs ranking in the top 10 nationally are in the following areas: computing security, film and animation, fine arts (glass, metals and jewelry design), industrial design, online MBA, photography, and video game design.
  • RIT has award-winning programs in a host of uncommon disciplines: sustainability, medical illustration, microelectronic engineering, packaging science, museum studies, American sign language/English interpretation, and diagnostic medical sonography.
  • RIT is home to the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID), the world’s first and largest technological college for students who are deaf or hard of hearing. President Lyndon Johnson and Congress established NTID in 1968.
  • One of the world’s greenest universities, RIT has two LEED platinum buildings and several LEED gold level buildings. RIT is home to the Golisano Institute for Sustainability and a massive 2-megawatt, 6.5-acre solar energy farm—among the largest for any New York college.

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Rochester ReLeaf Keynote: New York Tree Law

The Friday morning keynote address for Rochester ReLeaf will be given by Laura E. Ayers, Esq., who specializes in property matters all over the State. One of her firm’s specialties is adjoining landowner disputes that involve tree ownership and maintenance. In this hour keynote, Laura will present on interesting facets of New York Tree Law pertinent to those of us involved in urban and community forestry.