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Facts for Your Call and/or Letter this Week

Call Now (2)

#SaveOurUrbanForests

For your calls and letters to your U.S. Congressperson (http://www.house.gov/representatives/find) this week,
here are some facts about how federal UCF dollars were used in New York State in 2016:

–NYS UCF statewide overall funding for 2016 (that goes to zero if the federal budget for UCF is not restored): $1,250,440

–Quantified UCF accomplishments in 2016 in NY:

NYS Communities Provided Urban Forestry Program Assistance: 328

Population Living in NYS Communities Provided Urban Forestry Program Assistance: 14,803,089

Urban Forestry Volunteer Assistance: 391,123 people

–The NYS Urban Forestry Program and partners participated in 2 new programs: the Energy Saving Trees Program tree giveaway on Long Island, where extensive development gives the region the distinction of having the lowest tree canopy cover in the State. Recent disasters have reduced tree cover, and caused residents to shy away from new tree planting. The Community Tree Recovery Program helped in Rochester. Volunteers assisted in replacing or saving 3,604 ash trees on streets and in parks.

All Hands on Deck! Free Webinar about the Federal Budget for UCF

Please register for Time for Action: The President’s Budget for Urban & Community Forestry on Jul 12, 2017 12:00 PM CDT at: 

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5965782250515900162

It is no secret that these are tough times for Urban & Community Forestry at the Federal budget level. Join us for this webinar to learn what is really going on, and more importantly, how you can help get the message across that trees are important to communities. This one hour webinar will give you the tools you need to help tell the story of why urban and community forestry is critical to towns and cities across the United States.

arbor_day_foundation

Host: Dana Karcher, Alliance for Community Trees/Arbor Day Foundation

Speakers and Facilitators: Becky Turner, American Forests and Danielle Watson, Society of American Foresters

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Dana Karcher

Program Manager,  Alliance for Community Trees

Work: 402-473-9554 | Cell: 661-964-7158

“We inspire people to plant, nurture, and celebrate trees.”

Save Our Urban Forests: Write a Letter to the Editor

LTE This week, please consider writing a letter to the editor of your town and/or region’s papers about the importance of urban forestry funding.

Check your paper’s letter to the editor guidelines for length and how to submit (it’s usually simple and straightforward–and editors are eager for well-written letters!)

Here’s sample text from a letter that was published widely in the Hudson Valley. Feel free to take content from it for your letter. Here are some more urban forestry facts you can draw from.

Esteemed Editor:

Defend, Don’t Defund, the Forests in Which We Live

City, town, and suburban neighborhoods that are pleasant to walk or drive through—what is one thing they tend to have in common? The presence of mature trees. We can thank the science and practice of urban forestry for that. Urban environments are those that have been significantly altered by human activity. Eighty percent of Americans live in the urban forest; by 2050, ninety percent of us are projected to be.

Read more…

Fishkill Uses Arbor Day Grant to Beautify War Memorial

Event - Supervisor LaColla - Town of Fishkill
Town Supervisor Robert LaColla speaks at the dedication of the newly planted trees at Fishkill’s War Memorial.

On the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, the Town of Fishkill celebrated Arbor Day with the help of an Arbor Day grant administered through NYSUFC. The funding was used to add white pines, a river birch, and boxwood shrubs to a open stretch of lawn in front of the Town’s War Memorial, a multi-level site with a waterfall and places to sit.

Read more…

Grand Island Celebrates First-Ever Arbor Day

 

With the aid of an Arbor Day grant administered by the NYSUFC, the Town of Grand Island in Erie County held its first-ever Arbor Day Celebration on April 29, 2017. About 40 people attended, including Girl Scout Daisies and Brownies. Senior Girl Scout Gillian Worrall (second from left in front row of above pic) played a key role in organizing this Arbor Day celebration and in educating the community at large about Emerald Ash Borer, which has taken its toll on Grand Island.

Read more…

Tree Planted in Honor of 2017 Arbor Day Poster Contest Winner

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2017 Arbor Day poster contest winner Sarah Werner from Warwick Valley Middle School with NYSDEC Urban Forestry Partnerships Coordinator Sally Kellogg.

The artwork of Sarah Werner, a fifth-grader at Warwick Valley Middle School, was selected as the official NYS 2017 Arbor Day poster after winning the statewide contest sponsored by NYSDEC. Sarah was honored at the State Capitol on March 29 as part of the State’s Arbor Day celebrations. Her artwork appears on the 2017 NYS Arbor Day Bookmark, which is being distributed to schools and libraries all over the State.

Read more…

#SaveOurUrbanForests: Call Serrano and Lowey

Call Now (2)This week, please call, write and/or tweet these two US Congress members from New York who are on the powerful House Appropriations Committee:

US Congressman José Serrano (202) 225-4361) who has historically been supportive of urban forestry, and Congresswoman Nita Lowey (202) 225-6506) who has also been strong on the environment. If you are a constituent of theirs be sure to let them know; however, we can all call! Say you are appealing to them as members of the House Appropriations Committee who deliberate on behalf of all Americans.

They need to hear why urban forestry is so important to you. Emphasize the $$ value of the urban forest, about the fact that trees pay us back. “Cutting the federal urban forestry budget will cost Americans more money that it will save!”

Congressman Serrano represents New York’s 15th Congressional District, loosely bounded by the Harlem, Bronx, and East Rivers on the west, south, and east, extending north up past Fordham Road.

Congresswoman Lowey represents New York’s 17th Congressional District, which lies in the Lower Hudson Valley and includes central and northwestern Westchester County and all of Rockland County.

Sample Tweets to Reps José Serrano and Nita Lowey on House Appropriations Committee:

.@RepJoseSerrano TY for your continued support of urban green spaces-esp urban forestry in fed budget. #SaveOurUrbanForests #TreesPayUsBack

.@NitaLowey Please support full restoration of urban forestry funding in federal budget. #SaveOurUrbanForests #TreesPayUsBack

Batavia Unveils New Tree Management Plan

coverWith the assistance of consultant Jerry Bond from Urban Forest Analytics LLC, the City of Batavia recently completed their first comprehensive Tree Management Plan. It was funded through Round 12 of the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) Cost-Share Grant program, administered by NYSDEC.

City of Batavia Director of Public Works Matt Worth was Bond’s point person for the Plan creation process. Worth says, “A Plan was put together which consolidated several segmented sets of data and put it into an electronic format which the field supervisors are becoming proficient in managing. The overall Plan provides guiding strategies for increasing the sustainability of Batavia’s urban forest as the City moves through the next 20 years. Many of these strategies were easily implemented, and streamlined our decision making in regards to the City’s urban forest.”

Over the last five years, a number of complementary inventories of Batavia’s public trees have been made. A full inventory of street trees was completed in 2014 by Cornell University’s Student Weekend Arborist Team (SWAT) under the local direction of Fred Cowett and the general oversight of Prof. Nina Bassuk. In October of 2016, Jerry Bond of Urban Forest Analytics LLC conducted a sample inventory to estimate the maintenance needs of a large number of trees left unrated by SWAT, and to confirm the status of the street tree resource more generally. In June of 2016, Bond did a full inventory of the City’s park trees.

Read more…

CALL TO ACTION! From Council President David Moore

Call Now (2)

SAVE OUR URBAN FORESTS MONDAYS! 
Dear Readers,

As you may have heard, President Trump’s 2018 Federal Budget proposal has $0 for urban forestry funding nationwide. What are the potential impacts of this to us in New York State, and how can we mobilize to prevent this from happening?

The key is to reach out to our MOCs (members of Congress) now. This is as simple as making a weekly phone call that takes two minutes or less, for which you can see a script later in this blog post. This post will walk you through it.

But first, what would happen to the urban forestry program in New York if the federal UF budget zeroes out? Here’s a partial list:

-We would lose our 2 part-time (and only) paid staff from the Council. We would see the elimination of 6 full-time employees from State employment and 2 part-time staff from Cornell Cooperative Extension of Nassau County.

-The Council would lose all federal grant funding and most likely cease to exist as a resource to the public.

-The Council’s Arbor Day grant program aimed at assisting small communities would be terminated.

-The NYSUFC website/blog, ReLeaf conference, and other educational outreach would end.

-The EPF (cost-share) grant program would be under-supported by DEC forestry staff.

-15,000,000 New York residents currently being supported by the urban forestry program, particularly in large cities and towns, would lose that funding and technical assistance.

What can we do to prevent this budget cut?

The House of Representatives is considering the budget now. The most effective thing for each of us to do is to write or call our congressperson immediately. Your congressperson is your voice in the House of Representatives. If you don’t know who represents your U.S. Congressional District, you can find him or her quickly through this tool:  http://www.house.gov/representatives/find

What should we say when we call?

Your congressperson’s staff is there to hear your concerns and will politely take your opinion and pass it on. Depending on how busy they are, they may ask for your name and address to verify you are in their district. You should provide that. Your message should be concise and heartfelt.

Here is a sample script:

“Hi, my name is _________ and I live in the Congressman/Congresswoman’s District. I’m concerned that in President Trump’s proposed budget, he has slashed funding to urban and community forestry. Funding for urban forestry comes through the U.S. Forest Service, which is funded through Interior Appropriations. Urban forests are vital to making our cities livable. They cool our cities, they reduce stormwater runoff, they increase property values, they sequester carbon, and they do much more. Please restore full funding to the US Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry Program.”

When should we act?

The best thing is to call weekly (or more) until the House decides on the budget. Multiple calls from one constituent are usually all tallied and counted, so don’t hesitate to keep calling. Staff will tell you that if people all call on one day, it has more impact. So please join us for Save Our Urban Forests Mondays! #SaveOurUrbanForestsMondays

If you can’t call on Monday, another day is fine.

What else can we do?

The more voices that are heard, the better. Please share this message far and wide and activate professionals and your community members to join with you. Ask them to call every Monday (or more) until the House settles their budget debate (we will keep you updated). Share this post via email, social media, or word of mouth to as many folks as you can.

Thanks so much! And thanks to our editor Michelle for her help with this post. —David

 

Postcards for Urban Forestry Advocacy

Mike DeMarco
Author Mike DeMarco shows off the Council’s new easy-to-use advocacy postcards.

by Mike DeMarco, Council Board Member and City of Watertown Planner

As a newly appointed board member to the NYS Urban Forestry Council, I can’t imagine a more important time to be present, focused, and committed to what our Council represents. Federal urban forestry funding helps to supply grants that aid efforts to beautify and improve many of the communities that make up our wonderful state. So, what can we do as a Council to help inspire our elected officials to show support for this valuable funding? The idea may seem a bit daunting, right? Actually, it’s been fun and rewarding!

I’ve been participating in advocacy efforts using the newly available NYSUFC advocacy postcards! This simple yet effective tool was inspired by a grassroots effort in women’s rights. How cool is that?! With this successful blueprint already laid out, we will continue to use the postcards to contact our elected officials in hopes of engaging their leadership, influence, and support for urban forestry funding.

At a recent meeting of Watertown, NY’s street tree advisory board, Tree Watertown, NYSUFC advocacy postcards were filled out by members of the board and mailed to state and federal elected officials to let them know that urban forestry funding is important!

Mike's friend Shawn

 

One member of Tree Watertown wrote, I am a member of the New York State Urban Forestry Council, and I’m concerned about: the loss of funding for urban forestry. Here’s Why: Trees help to clean our air, cool our cities, and help to mitigate the effects of pollution-laden stormwater runoff that flows into our waterways.

Another member wrote: I am a member of the New York State Urban Forestry Council, and I’m concerned about: losing valuable future urban forestry funding that is used to help keep our cities green and vibrant! Here’s Why: Trees beautify our neighborhoods and invite people to stay longer in downtown centers.

I invite you to join in with your ReLeaf or other group, photograph your group writing your postcards, and share your experiences on the Council blog! (Send to Michelle at editor@nysufc.org)

Keep a look out for Mary Kramarchyk as she’ll be supplying the postcards at ReLeaf meetings across the state, at regional workshops, and at our annual ReLeaf Conference later this summer in Queens. Stamps (first-class postage required) will be provided for the postcards. Have fun, and thanks so much! More information about this important advocacy is to come.