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American Chestnut Program at SUNY ESF Featured at the Upcoming ReLeaf Conference

At the 2015 ReLeaf Conference, you will have the opportunity to go behind the scenes of the SUNY ESF Chestnut Research and Restoration Project. Why is this research so critical? Why is bread mold key to the restoration of the American chestnut (Castanea dentata)? Watch these videos, and just try not to become infected with enthusiasm for this effort!

On ReLeaf Thursday, take a tour with Dr. Chuck Maynard of the laboratory and greenhouse where this groundbreaking research takes place. On Friday, hear the keynote talk from Maynard and Dr. Bill Powell, codirectors of the American Chestnut Research and Restoration Project, about restoring the American Chestnut.

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Getting to Know Council Treasurer Lori Brockelbank

Lori on TdT ride
Lori (center) with fellow Tour des Trees riders in Wisconsin in 2014. Photo by R. Jeanette Martin

Like so many of our members, Council Treasurer Lori Brockelbank is living a big, passionate life. This includes riding for the third year in a row in the STIHL Tour des Trees to benefit the TREE fund. Lori will join riders headed to Florida to ride 500 miles during the week of October 25-31.

Full-tour cyclists commit to raising at least $3,500 for the TREE Fund. The money raised supports the discovery of better methods for propagation, planting and care of urban trees.

Lori with Tour des Trees friend Frazer Pehmoeller
Lori with Tour des Trees friend Frazer Pehmoeller

The Tour also funds education programs aimed at connecting young people with the environment and with career opportunities in the green industries. You can support Lori’s TEAM NY here, and you can read about Lori’s Tour des Trees experiences—and many other things going on in Lori’s life—on her blog, The Gypsy Arborist, and on a TAKING ROOT blog post from last year.

Can you tell us about childhood influences that foreshadowed getting interested in arboriculture and urban forestry?
Lori Brockelbank: I grew up in an area surrounded by a swamp and forest that I would explore with my dogs in tow, and on Sunday mornings my dad and I would ride our horses on the nearby trails. We also had a wood burning stove, so my summers were spent in part logging with my dad—not my favorite thing to do. I had a book that I would use for pressing leaves during the summers and I remember decorating the walls in my bedroom with colorful fall leaves. In fifth grade, I attended conservation field days where I was introduced to the environmental field. It stuck with me and I do believe that is what ultimately led me to my career.

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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

SUNY ESF

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! 

 

MillionTreesNYC Short Film

My friend Jinghua Tu made a two-minute short film of MillionTreesNYC stewardship day in Van Cortland Park, in which she interviewed some volunteers and staff.

The MillionTreesNYC campaign is now over 954,399 trees strong and as we get closer to reaching a million, our need is greater than ever for active, involved citizens to help us care for these trees over the long haul. These trees, as you know, make our communities a better place to live as they provide shade, clean air, and beauty.

On April 25, nearly 400 volunteers joined us in caring for new forests in Van Cortlandt, Inwood Hill, Rockaway Community, Clove Lakes, Wolfe’s Pond, and Conference House Parks, helping us to create a more resilient urban forest. Without your dedication and hard work, this effort would not have been possible. -Ning Zhang, Outreach Coordinator at MillionTreesNYC 

Arbor Day Celebration: Utica

Ruth Meier, a Master Gardener from the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida County assists student volunteers from the Notre Dame High School NJROTC with properly planting and mulching one of 20 katsuras that will help restore the Olmsted-designed tree canopy in Utica's FT Proctor Park. (photo (c) 2015 Roger B. Smith)
Ruth Meier, a Master Gardener from the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida County assists student volunteers from the Notre Dame High School NJROTC with properly planting and mulching one of 20 bare root katsuras that will help restore the Olmsted-designed tree canopy in Utica’s FT Proctor Park. (photo (c) 2015 Roger B. Smith)

Arbor Day was celebrated on Friday, April 24, and the Central New York Conservancy celebrated it in style with the City of Utica!

The 3-day weekend event honored the spirit of Arbor Day, with local tree experts donating their time and talent to remove and prune trees, two lectures about safety procedures when working around trees and proper pruning, the planting of numerous trees, and a ceremonial tree planting in FT Proctor Park. All events were free and open to the public.

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The Red Hook Way, Part II: Cost-Share Grant Success

In 2011, the Town of Red Hook Tree Commission successfully applied for a Round 10 NYS DEC Urban and Community Forestry Cost-Share grant that they used for a tree inventory and tree planting.

Victoria Rolfe and Nancy Gurski working on the Town of Red Hook's tree inventory. Photo courtesy Red Hook Tree Commission
Victoria Rolfe (standing) and Nancy Guski working on the Town of Red Hook’s tree inventory. Photos courtesy Red Hook Tree Commission

The example provided by the excellent Red Hook Grant NARRATIVE will be of interest to your community as you prepare your cost-share grant applications for Round 13 later this year (stay tuned to NYSDEC’s web page about the grants for the timetable).

After the grant monies were put to use in 2011-2013, Red Hook Tree Commission Chair Nancy Guski prepared a final report that follows. Along with the grant narrative linked above, this report is recommended reading for any community thinking about applying for cost-share grants later in 2015.

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The Red Hook Way, Part I: Stellar Tree Commission

by Brenda Cagle, Red Hook Councilwoman

Q: What do you call a highly functioning, well-informed, enthusiastic tree Committee? 
A: The Town of Red Hook Tree Commission (TC)

Who cares
The Red Hook Tree Commission worked with young community volunteers on planting at the Town of Red Hook Recreation Park. They renovated five tree lawns with 17 new trees. The Boy Scouts and the Linden Avenue Middle School environmental club, WHO CARES, helped plant. Photos Courtesy Red Hook Tree Commission

~Background~
This amazing group of seven people is “doing it by the book” and more. Led by chairperson Nancy Guski, a retired elementary school teacher, the committee is comprised of a landscape professional, a former planning board member, another retired teacher, two retired dentists, and a nature lover and eagle expert. All participate according to their talents and time but the key is that they ALL participate.

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A Perennially Joyful Urban Forestry Recognition Ceremony

Red Hook's Brent Kovalchik and Frances Uku
(left to right) NYS DEC Urban Forestry Program Assistant Sally Kellogg with the Village of Red Hook’s Deputy Mayor Brent Kovalchik and Village Green Committee member Frances Uku. The Village has been a Tree City USA for 14 years.

The 9th annual Tree City/Line/Campus USA Recognition Ceremony was held on March 26, 2015 in Albany where over 40 communities were in attendance including the longest-running Tree City USA, Poughkeepsie NY, represented by Tree Committee member Virginia Hancock.

New York State has 110 Tree City USAs, 6 Tree Line USA utilities, and 14 Tree Campus USAs. These programs were created by the Arbor Day Foundation and the National Association of State Foresters to recognize the stewardship of urban forests by communities.

ST JOHNS TC USA
Congrats, St. John’s University, on entering your 4th year as a Tree Campus USA!

Tree City USA is a program that provides direction, technical assistance, public attention and national recognition for urban and community forestry programs in thousands of towns and cities that more than 93 million Americans call home. A complete list of all communities is posted on DEC’s website at: http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/5272.html.

Speakers for the March event included organizations from USFS, Cazenovia College, and NYS DEC, the NYS DEC Commissioner Joe Martens was also in attendance of the event and showed his support of the programs.

poster winner
Congrats to winning Arbor Day poster artist Nayeon Park, here with her brother and mother and State Urban Forestry Coordinator Mary Kramarchyk (left) and Program Assistant Sally Kellogg (right)

2015bookmarkThe Department also recognized the 2015 DEC Arbor Day Poster Contest winner Nayeon Park, a 5th Grader from P.S. 209 Clearview Gardens School in Whitestone, Queens, New York. The theme of this year’s children’s artwork was Tree-Mendous Trees of New York. Read on for more pics from the event.

 

 

 

 

 

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Nina Bassuk Receives Frederick Law Olmsted Award from Arbor Day Foundation

RELEAF 255Last fall, the NYSUFC nominated beloved Cornell Urban Horticulture Institute (UHI) Director and longtime former Council President Nina Bassuk for the Arbor Day Foundation’s Frederick Law Olmsted Award. Current Council President Andy Hillman read the award description and said, “This appears to have been written for Nina!”

The Frederick Law Olmsted award recognizes an outstanding individual with a lifelong commitment to tree planting and conservation at a state or regional level. Further, it honors someone who: shows outstanding personal commitment over their career or lifetime for the betterment of the environment, mobilizes people in tree planting and care, makes unique or extraordinary contributions and commitment with regards to tree planting, landscape, conservation, education, or research, and serves as a role model and mentor to others.

The Council is so very pleased to announce that Nina received the Frederick Law Olmsted Award for 2015. Here is a video the Arbor Day Foundation made about Nina’s work that shows why she was the perfect candidate:

It was challenging to summarize Nina’s accomplishments in the three pages indicated by the award nomination guidelines. Here are some highlights:

  • Thanks to Dr. Bassuk’s research and extension efforts in bare root transplanting technology, tens of thousands of trees have been planted in New York and the greater Northeast that would otherwise not have been. In 2014 alone, 8800 bare root trees were purchased by 93 municipalities across 11 states from Schichtel’s Nursery in Western NY.
  • Dr. Bassuk has been the City of Ithaca Shade Tree Advisory Committee Chair since 1985, and she served on the Ithaca Parks Commission from 1991-2003. She served as the President of the NYS Urban Forestry Council from 1990-2001 and thereafter as a Board Member.

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NYC Senior Forester and MFI Grad Brian Widener

Brian Widener at Buttermilk Falls in New Jersey
Brian Widener at Buttermilk Falls in New Jersey

In February, 2015, NYC Senior Forester for Trees and Sidewalks Brian Widener attended the week-long Municipal Forestry Institute (MFI), held at The Oregon Garden in Silverton, Oregon.

Here we learn about Brian’s background, his work in NYC, and his experience at MFI, for which he received partial support from the NYSUFC and NYSDEC.

Can you tell us about your job background and education?
Brian Widener: Before I was a forester, I worked at a couple of interesting hotels, including the Giant Forest Lodge in Sequoia National Park (no longer in existence) and the hotels on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, then I worked a few years in dark, sometimes windowless corporate offices.

After volunteering in Prospect Park in Brooklyn for a year, I decided to go back to school and graduate with a Forestry degree from Northern Arizona University (NAU) in Flagstaff. I always tell everyone that I learned about two trees at NAU, ponderosa pine and Gambel oak. That’s it, haha! And only a few urban tree species were planted on the streets of this 7,000-foot-elevation town (Siberian elm and honeylocust, mostly). We hiked to the higher elevations of Arizona to study Douglas-fir, bristlecone pine, Colorado spruce, etc. and I learned a lot about native grasses, scrubby oaks, and cactuses at lower elevations.

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