Services for Our Friend, Brian Skinner

Our longtime Council friend and champion Brian Skinner has passed away. RIP to a kind and generous man, devoted to family, his profession, and the Council. The details for services, and a link to Brian’s obituary, are below.

If you have a story of a time spent with Brian, or something nice that he did for you, or any other memory to share, could you please share your anecdote with editor Michelle at Thank you.

Calling Hours for Brian will be from 4pm to 8pm on Thursday, November 29th at the Schepp Family Funeral Home. They are located at: 6530 Schepp’s Corners Road, Minoa, NY, 13116.

Brian’s Funeral Services are scheduled for 11am, Friday, November 30th at the same location.

Brian has requested donations in lieu of flowers. He suggested either the American Lung Association at or the Tree Fund at

Brian’s obituary can be viewed at or at

Save the Date! ReLeaf 2019: July 18-20 in the Hudson Valley

NY ReLeaf 2019 will be July 18-20 at Mount St. Mary College in Newburgh. “What a beautiful campus!” says Council President Karen Emmerich. “It has wonderful views of the Hudson, both north and south, and a view across to Beacon and the Hudson Highlands.” Details of the program will come later. New York ReLeaf conferences are a high-quality, affordable opportunity for all folks involved or interested in urban and community forestry to network and learn in a relaxed, welcoming environment. Save the date!

One of the truly nifty things about this conference site is the proximity of the Alice and Thomas Desmond Arboretum of Mount St. Mary College’s Desmond Campus. Look for a post about the Arboretum soon.

Accounting for Trees in Stormwater Models

This paper is intended to help the stormwater engineering community more easily account for trees in runoff and pollutant load calculations so that they can more readily incorporate them into their stormwater management strategies.

It summarizes existing hydrologic and hydraulic models that can be applied at the site and small watershed scales to account for the stormwater benefits of conserving existing trees and/or planting new trees. The paper also includes examples of specific techniques to modify stormwater models to account for urban tree benefits, as well as associated resources and tools for estimating the hydrologic benefits of trees in the urban landscape.

The resource, funded by the USDA Forest Service, was developed with input from experts in stormwater engineering and urban forestry. This adds to a robust collection of resources the Center for Watershed Protection completed in 2017 on “Making Urban Trees Count”, which includes a comprehensive literature review and research-based tools for crediting trees in stormwater and water quality management programs.

For questions about this resource, contact Karen Cappiella at

New York with 22 Champs in 2018 American Forests Champion Trees Register

Council Board Member Joe Charap measuring the national champion Franklin tree (Franklinia alatamaha), located in Green-Wood Cemetery. Photo by Erik Danielsen

The 2018 American Forests Champion Trees national register has 783 national champions and co-champions, including 165 newly crowned specimens. Of the 783, 22 champions reside in New York State and include the national champion Franklin tree (Franklinia alatamaha) in Brooklyn, white ash (Fraxinus americana) in Rockland, American hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana) in Marlboro, butternut (Juglans cinerea) in New Hartford, dwarf chinkapin oak (Quercus prinoides) in Monroe County, red hickory (Carya ovalis) in Annandale-on-Hudson, and black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) in Livingston.

Franklin tree flower. Photo by Michelle Sutton

Council Board Member Joseph Charap was the person who recently nominated the Franklin tree champion. Charap is the Director of Horticulture at The Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, where he found this unusual species at a striking size. “We’re thrilled to have this unique National Champion at Green-Wood, a National Historic Landmark and accredited Level III arboretum, and we look forward to sharing the Franklin tree with our visitors,” he says.  

Read more…

Fillable PDF Worksheet for Review of Municipal Codes & Ordinances

This new, free resource was designed to help communities conserve tree canopy during construction. Making Your Community Forest-Friendly is a 3-part publication that describes the components of a “forest-friendly” community, provides a fillable PDF worksheet for evaluating existing local regulations, and highlights additional ideas for making a community forest-friendly, beyond regulatory changes. 

Read more…

ReLeaf 2018 at RIT, Part II: Brian Skinner Receives First-Ever Heartwood Award

Council Vice President Steve Harris presented Brian Skinner with the Council’s first Heartwood Award in recognition of Brian’s many years of volunteer service to the Council in almost every conceivable capacity! We appreciate you so much, Brian. Thank you for being a model for the rest of us of consistent, effective, warm-hearted, long-term leadership. You can read more about Brian in this blog profile from 2014, and in this blog post, Brian reflected on his [semi] retirement. Congrats, Brian, on receiving your well-deserved, first-ever NYSUFC Heartwood Award! Photos by Michelle Sutton