Hudson Valley ReLeaf Workshop Went Back to Basics

Tree planting Millbrook Oct 12 2017
Planting a ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) in Millbrook. Photo by Karen Emmerich

On Thursday, October 12, 2017 Hudson Valley ReLeaf and NYSDEC held a workshop called “Back to Basics” hosted at CCE Dutchess County in Millbrook. Sessions were given on tree biology, tree planting specifications, young tree pruning, and insects and diseases impacting forest health. Four esteemed professionals led the sessions: NYSDEC’s Jason Denham, CCE Nassau County’s Vinnie Drzewucki, the New York Tree Trust’s James Kaechele, and NYSDEC Region 3 Senior Forester George Profous. The day culminated in the planting of a ginkgo tree in downtown Millbrook as part of a tree planting demo conducted by Profous. All this for $25! Keep an eye out for ReLeaf workshops in your area.

Hudson Valley ReLeaf is part of a statewide program managed by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Bureau of Private Land Services. Funding is provided by the Urban and Community Forestry Program. Volunteer members of Hudson Valley ReLeaf include interested citizens, forestry professionals, representatives of environmental non-profits, and government officials.

Queens Botanical Garden Tour at ReLeaf

Queens BG green roof Harriet Grimm
ReLeafers toured the green roof at Queens Botanical Garden. From QBG website: “The semi-intensive, 8,000-square-foot green roof with six inches of growing medium is planted with mostly native species that require minimal artificial watering and provide much-needed habitat for humans, birds, and insects.” Photo by Harriet Grimm

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Located at the northeast corner of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Flushing, QBG evolved from the five-acre “Gardens on Parade” exhibit showcased at the 1939-1940 New York World’s Fair. Officially opening as “The Queens Botanical Garden Society” in 1946 after local residents saved and expanded the original exhibit, the Garden remained at the original World’s Fair site until 1961, when it was moved to its current location on Main Street in Flushing. Among the original plantings taken from the 1939 site are two blue atlas cedars that frame the iconic tree gate sculpture at the Garden’s Main Street entrance today. QBG has become a 39-acre oasis in one of New York City’s most bustling and diverse neighborhoods.

-From QBG website

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Countdown to ReLeaf! In Queens, at St. John’s, July 13-15

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It’s not too late to register for ReLeaf 2017!
Queensboro bridge
There’s a fantastic blog post about Queens on the New York Habitat blog. “While not as flashy as the skyscrapers of Manhattan, Queens boasts many beautiful landmarks. The Queensboro Bridge is a true icon, and connects Midtown Manhattan to Long Island City in Queens.”

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NYSDEC Urban Forestry Intern Jennifer Kotary: Get to Know Her!

Jennifer KotaryIn 2016, NYSDEC Urban Forestry Program Coordinator Mary Kramarchyk mentored her second summer intern, Jennifer Kotary. “The goal of the internship is to expose and recruit forestry students into the world of urban forestry,” Kramarchyk says. “Jennifer’s excellent technical and communication skills helped her fit right into DEC’s program. She was thrown into and completed real work—and “extra” activities so meaningful to the success of the program—that, without her, we would not have been able to accomplish.”

Jennifer Kotary:
Two days after my graduation (’16) from SUNY ESF’s Ranger School, I began at NYSDEC via the Research Foundation in the Urban and Community Forestry summer internship. A connection with Mary Kramarchyk at the New York Society of American Foresters Annual Meeting was the beginning to an internship opportunity to better my understanding of what urban forestry is in action. Now that this internship comes to a close, I realize that as urban forestry initiates and sustains connection between community and the environment, my internship has connected me to a critical passion of mine which includes all things trees.

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ESF Ranger School Graduation, where Jennifer celebrates her proudest moment with Director Dr. Michael Bridgen. Photo by June McWarf

People. Urban forestry has connected me to people. I am so thankful to Mary Kramarchyk, Mary Martin, and Sally Kellogg who took me under their wing and amazed me with their adaptive ability to joyfully get done a plethora of responsibilities for the state program. Via statewide ReLeaf meetings, I witnessed the individual personalities of ReLeaf committees flourishing in each New York region. Exposure to NYS DEC’s Bureau of Lands and Forests and the great group of people assisting in statewide forestry is continually inspiring. Lastly, I met an impressive slew of tree-related individuals via the summer’s ReLeaf Conference at Skidmore College.

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2016 NYS ReLeaf Conference Preview!

 

***Save the Dates for the 24th Annual ReLeaf Conference!***
July 14-16, 2016 at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York

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Preliminary Program for 2016 ReLeaf Saratoga Springs: 

Lantern Lead Tour at Skidmore Campus
Forest Health Update
City Woods
A Grove of Grants: UCF Community Grants and Arbor Day Grants
DEC Saratoga Nursery Tour
Tools of the Trade
Tree Planting Project Case Studies
Picnic at Skidmore College
Roadside Plants and Invasives
Fruits of the Urban Forest
Sustainable Skidmore Tour
Stewardship Projects
Technology Workshop for All

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Oswego’s Mary Vanouse on ReLeaf 2015

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Mary Vanouse (right) with her daughter, Allison, under a monstrous beech tree in Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Watertown, MA.

I have recently retired from the Community Development Office in the City of Oswego and have volunteered with the Oswego Tree Stewards since its beginnings in 2009 when the group committed itself to making Oswego a Tree City USA. Since that time the Oswego Tree Stewards have diligently tackled tree pruning, planting hundreds of trees, and providing general tree care for the community. Every year we celebrate Arbor Day and have come to enjoy a good core group of dedicated volunteers.

For the first two years we began pruning trees in the City parks and since then have methodically been addressing street trees on a weekly basis for the past four years. In 2014 the City of Oswego completed its second tree inventory (Davey Tree Experts had completed Oswego’s first tree inventory in the 1930s), so it was fun to compare the old and new snapshots of the makeup of Oswego’s urban forest.

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Oswego Tree Stewards during a “Saturday on the Streets” gathering, with Phil MacArthur taking the opportunity to point out signs of a dying tree (there was fungus growing from the side of the trunk).

This year I thoroughly enjoyed the 23rd Annual Re Leaf Conference. One high point for me was the in-depth tour of the American Chestnut Research and Restoration Project that was eloquently presented by SUNY ESF Professors William Powell and Chuck Maynard and their research associates, Linda, Allison, and Tyler. Their passion for this project is contagious. I hope that many will join them in planting many thousands of “mother” chestnuts to multiply the blight resistance throughout the eastern seaboard.

I attended the Opportunities and Solutions for Green Infrastructure workshop on Friday, which was full of remarkable stories of how Onondaga County bucked the system of “gray infrastructure” after the residents protested building more wastewater plants and the newly elected Joanne Mahoney sought another solution to the runoff into Onondaga Lake. Now after many years of the “Save the Rain” campaign and a variety of partnerships with groups like Onondaga Earth Corps, Onondaga County has become a model for green infrastructure for a healthier environment. The presentation on the Gowanus Canal by Christine Petro was also a great “turnaround” story, demonstrating the benefit of citizen engagement in bringing back environmentally challenged neighborhoods.

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SUNY ESF Professor Don Leopold

The top of my list was a lightning-speed Tree ID tour presented by Professor Don Leopold of SUNY ESF. As soon as he met the group outside the Gateway Center he immediately began to talk about the varieties of trees that surrounded us. White oak, bur oak, Norway maple with milky sap, native paw paw, and the list goes on. Leopold rose to the occasion, climbing a stone wall to point out an example of invasive European buckthorn.

Large rain drops punctuated the approach to the huge dawn redwood in Oakwood Cemetery growing along the border with SUNY ESF, but the 40 members of the tour continued as Leopold explained that this is one of the oldest dawn redwoods in North America, sent to ESF in the 1950s.

Leopold pointed out a number of specimen trees at the cemetery, from sugar maple to northern cedar to London plane and bur oak. He provided a good brisk walk and a huge variety of tree identifications over the course of the afternoon, ending with distinguishing between the American and European varieties of larch, noting his preference that the American variety be planted on the ESF campus.

I would recommend the ReLeaf conference to anyone interested in improving their understanding of trees and the care of our urban forests.  —Mary Vanouse

Onondaga Lake Restoration Tour at ReLeaf 2015

Wetland tourCouncil VP Brian Skinner took these photos of the Onondaga Lake Ecosystem Restoration tour during the ReLeaf 2015 conference. The bus took ReLeafers on a field trip that included an initial stop at the Onondaga Lake Visitor’s Center near the NYS Fairgrounds for an overview of Honeywell’s remediation and restoration efforts at Onondaga Lake.

About 2.2 million cubic yards of material was removed from Onondaga Lake and pumped to a consolidation area at former industrial property off of Airport Road for drying and Wetland tour signsafe isolation long term. About 2.5 billion gallons of water was treated. Approximately 450 acres of the lake will be capped to provide a new habitat layer, prevent erosion, and isolate remaining contaminants. More than 1.1 million plants, trees, and shrubs are being planted and more than 50 acres of wetlands enhanced.

From there the bus took a short drive to the Geddes Brook/Nine Mile Creek restoration area. Restoration at the approximately 17-acre Geddes Brook wetlands complex and portions of Nine Mile Creek include many interesting design features for wetland and stream restoration. About 50,000 plantings were made in the area, 11,000 of which are trees. To date, more than 100 species of fish, mammals, and birds have been observed in the restored wetland areas.

wetland tour iiThe American Society of Civil Engineers, Syracuse Section recently recognized the Geddes Brook and Nine Mile Creek project with the 2015 Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award.

The tour was led by Craig Milburn, Managing Partner at Brown & Sanford Consultants and Mark Arrigo, Parsons Habitat Expert.

A ReLeaf to Remember: Part I

IMG_9330Meeting the men and women who are restoring the American chestnut, exploring the Alvar plant community on the new green roof, connecting with the Onondaga Earth Corps … there were so many highlights for the 185 attendees of the 2015 ReLeaf Conference at SUNY ESF. A special shout-out to the Region 7 folks who worked hard to put on the best program and presenters:

Kristina Ferrare, Steve Harris
Fran Lawlor, Jessi Lyons
Chris Manchester, Doug Morrison
Greg Owens, Brian “the Brain” Skinner, Pat Tobin, and Kate Woodle

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Mealtime conversations were the best! SUNY ESF graduate student Leanna Kirschen (left) works with Syracuse City Forester Steve Harris, and Tony Suave (right) works with the Onondaga Earth Corps.
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Exploring the Gateway Center green roof with beloved ESF Professor Dr. Don Leopold.

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Registration Open for ReLeaf at SUNY ESF!

It’s going to be a great ReLeaf 2015! July 16-18 at SUNY ESF in Syracuse.

Program, registration form, and conference details are available now on the NYSUFC website HERE

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The theme, fitting for the conference venue, is “Environmental Science and Urban Forestry.”

Some conference highlights: 

*American Chestnut Research and Restoration Project laboratory tour and keynote talk

*Tour of SUNY ESF Gateway Center Green Roof and Illick Hall Rain Garden 

*Popular presenter Dave Nowak on Urban Forestry in a Changing Environment 

*Opportunities and Solutions for Green Infrastructure

*Onondaga Lake Ecosystem Restoration 

*Lessons from the Deer Abundance and Distribution Study in the Town of Dewitt

*Oakwood Cemetery Tree Identification

Please join us for the 23rd Annual NY ReLeaf Conference to learn, network, and connect with new friends and old!