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

Urban Forests Focus of 2018 UN International Day of Forests

In 2012, the United Nations General Assembly declared that 21 March of each year is to be observed as the International Day of Forests.

2018 Theme: Forests and Sustainable Cities

This global celebration of forests provides a platform to raise awareness of the importance of all types of woodlands and trees, and celebrate the ways in which they sustain and protect us.

Key Messages:

  • Forests and trees store carbon, which helps mitigate the impacts of climate change in and around urban areas.
  • Trees also improve the local climate, helping to save energy used for heating by 20-50 percent.
  • Strategic placement of trees in urban areas can cool the air by up to 8 degrees Celsius, reducing air conditioning needs by 30 percent.
  • Urban trees are excellent air filters, removing harmful pollutants in the air and fine particulates.
  • Trees reduce noise pollution, as they shield homes from nearby roads and industrial areas.
  • Local populations use the fruits, nuts, leaves and insects found in urban trees to produce food and medicines for use in the home, or as a source of income.
  • Wood fuel sourced from urban trees and planted forests on the outskirts of cities provides renewable energy for cooking and heating, which reduces pressures on natural forests and our reliance on fossil fuels.
  • Forests in and around urban areas help to filter and regulate water, contributing to high-quality freshwater supplies for hundreds of millions of people. Forests also protect watersheds and prevent flooding as they store water in their branches and soil.
  • Well-managed forests and trees in and around cities provide habitats, food and protection for many plants and animals, helping to maintain and increase biodiversity.
  • Forests in cities and surrounding areas generate tourism, create tens of thousands of jobs and encourage city beautification schemes, building dynamic, energetic and prosperous green economies.
  • Urban green spaces, including forests, encourage active and healthy lifestyles, improve mental health, prevent disease, and provide a place for people to socialize.