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Round 14 UCF Grant Application Period Now Open!

yellowwood flowers Michelle Sutton
Yellowwood / Michelle Sutton

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is pleased to announce available Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) funding for qualifying governmental entities or non-for-profit  organizations.

Grant projects must implement successful tree inventory, community forest management planning, tree planting, tree maintenance, or educational programming projects in New York State. Full guidelines and application instructions can be found at the Grants Gateway portal here, then search on “Round 14.” 

DEC is committed to implementing a successful Urban and Community Forestry (UCF) Program and dedicated to providing support and assistance to communities in the development and implementation of comprehensive tree planting, management, maintenance, and education to create healthy urban and community forests while enhancing the quality of life for urban residents.

This is a reimbursement grant program for communities based on partnerships between volunteers, nonprofits, urban forestry professionals, and others.

Awards range from $11,000 to $75,000, depending on municipal population. Municipalities with populations of 65,000 or greater are eligible for grants up to $75,000. Towns with populations less than 65,000 are able to apply for up to $50,000. For inventory and management plan grants, no match is required. For planting, maintenance, and education grants, there is a required 25% match.

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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo Announces $2.2 Million in UCF Grants

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Also in this update from the Governor’s office:

DEC Honored with 10-Year Achievement in Sustainable Forest Management Status for Forest Certification

Student and State Arbor Day Poster Contest Winners Announced

Highlighting Albany’s 16th Year as a Tree City USA

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced $2.2 million in grants for tree planting and community forestry projects across New York. In honor of National Arbor Day, Governor Cuomo proclaimed Arbor Day in New York State along with the joint grant announcement from the State Departments of Environmental Conservation, Agriculture and Markets, and the Office of General Services. The 2018 New York State Arbor Day Proclamation can be viewed here.

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Federal Urban Forestry Policy & Funding Update

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Testimony Submitted for FY 19 Budget
The SUFC Policy Working Group recently submitted testimony to the House and Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittees urging support and funding for U.S. Forest Service, EPA, and National Park Service programs related to urban forests. The Working Group also submitted testimony to the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee to maintain the Fiscal Year 2018 funding levels for four line items under the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Plant Health program.

Thank Congress for Increased Funding to U&CF
The FY 18 budget had good news for urban forestry. Funding for the U&CF and other forestry programs was increased in some instances, and otherwise kept level. It’s not too late to head to social media to share your appreciation, especially to members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, with the FY 19 process already underway. [The House members from New York who served on that committee are José SerranoNita Lowey, and Grace Meng.]

The SUFC is an assembly of national organizations working to advance a unified urban forest agenda for our nation’s communities.

The SUFC is composed of city planners, educators, landscape architects, non-profit leaders, scientists, arborists, foresters, nurserymen and women, and many other professionals who care for, monitor and advocate for trees and our urban forests as a whole.

NYC’s 25-Year Plan for its Urban Forests

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Joel Meyerowitz

A recent New York Times article by James Barron features an interview with Natural Areas Conservancy Executive Director Sarah Charlop-Powers and Senior Ecologist Helen Forgione about the story behind the new Forest Management Framework for New York City’s urban forest. Prospect Park Alliance President and Administrator Sue Donoghue is also featured. Climate change, invasive plants, forests at tipping points–and the mitigations for all these dilemmas that the Framework will power–are discussed.

About the Forest Management Framework for New York City

A joint project of the Natural Areas Conservancy and NYC Parks, the Forest Management Framework for New York City is a strategic and comprehensive plan to bolster and protect New York City’s vital urban forests. It is the first citywide vision for this critical piece of infrastructure. The plan is intended to guide restoration, management, and community engagement for 7,300 acres of New York City’s forested parkland. The 25- year plan includes the process, costs, steps, recommendations, best practices, and goals for forest management in NYC. It marks the culmination of six years of research, data collection, and analysis by NAC scientists. 

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The Rustic Symbolism of Victorian-Era Treestones

Intro and photos by Michelle Sutton

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What does it all mean?

The tree collections in cemeteries and memorial parks are key contributors to the beauty, diversity, and ecological services of the urban forest. Since I was a teenager, I’ve loved wandering cemeteries and memorial parks to appreciate the mature trees, beautiful open-grown specimens, and unusual species. In New York cemeteries I’ve seen glorious open-grown cucumber magnolia (Magnolia acuminata), Kentucky coffeetree (Gymnocladus dioicus), and Katsura tree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum), to name a few.

Thanks to an article by Davey Resource Group Senior Consulting Urban Forester Jenny Gulick, I have another level of appreciation when I explore cemeteries and memorial parks—now I look for treestones and am thrilled when I find them. It’s like a reverential treasure hunt, as the “treasures” can tell such profound stories. In New York, I often will find one treestone in a cemetery—two or three if I am lucky.  Here are some highlights from Gulick’s fascinating piece on the history of treestones and how their symbolism can be interpreted. 

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2018 Urban Forestry Awards Celebration Warms Hearts in March

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Eight years ago, Council Board Member Lori Brockelbank (second from left) helped Jamestown Community College become the first community college in NYS to be a Tree Campus USA. And once again, Lori brought students with her to celebrate the College’s ongoing Tree Campus USA status: Avery Sirwatka (standing next to Lori), Calob Franklin, Layla Crabtree, and Tiffany Donaldson. They are joined by NYSDEC Urban Forestry Program Manager Mary Kramarchyk (far left) and NYSDEC Urban Forestry Partnerships Coordinator Sally Kellogg (second from right).

Congratulations to New York’s Tree City/Line/Campuses! On March 29, NYSDEC celebrated the commitment of 128 NYS Tree Cities, 8 Tree Lines, and 28 Tree Campuses for their commitment to our collective urban and community forest. To learn more about becoming a Tree City USA, Tree Line USA, or Tree Campus USA, see the Arbor Day Foundation website

Thank you to NYSDEC Urban Forestry Partnerships Coordinator Sally Kellogg for her help with this pictorial of highlights from the 2018 event. 

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The Story of New York Heartwoods, with Co-founder Megan Offner

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Black walnut table from a salvaged urban tree in Warwick. All photos from New York Heartwoods

New York Heartwoods (NYH), located in Kingston, was founded in 2011 out of Megan Offner’s love of forests, passion for quality craftsmanship, and desire to create environmental and economic solutions in her community. She says, “We make sustainable furniture—sustainable in that our pieces are made to last, are efficient in their use of materials, and are made with wood from fallen and urban trees that would otherwise be landfilled, chipped, or burned.”

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2018 Omnibus Bill Contains Good News for our Urban Forests

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Calls, emails, letters, and in-person visits to federal legislators by advocates for Urban and Community Forestry have paid off! You’ll recall President Trump’s proposed FY 18 Budget zeroed out funding for UCF. Citizens and UCF advocacy groups sprung into action to educate our representatives in Congress about the myriad quantifiable benefits of the urban forest, and Congress responded.

The 2018 omnibus appropriations package passed by Congress and signed by the President on March 23, 2018 reinstates funding for USDA Forest Service State and Private Forestry programs, including $28.5 million for Urban and Community Forestry. This is is actually $500,000 more than was funded in 2017, although not the $31 million requested by the National Association of State Foresters (NASF) for FY 2018.

Now it’s time we roll up our sleeves and advocate for our urban forests once again, as the President’s FY 19 Budget proposal once again zeroes out funding for UCF. Thank you to all of you who made your voice heard on behalf of our nation’s urban forests. It’s a muscle we must continue to exercise.

For further reading, see the press statements from NASF, from the National Association of Conservation Districts, and Society of American Foresters — more to come.

Special thank you to Region 2 NY ReLeaf folks who took leadership on strategic legislative visits and to Danielle Watson at the Society of American Foresters for her regular briefings on the budget process.

 

 

Manuel Alarcon is 2018 Recipient of Helen Sternberg Cutler Memorial Scholarship in Urban Forestry

By Lewis Cutler

I am pleased to announce that Manuel A. Alarcon, a senior at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF), was awarded the Helen Sternberg Cutler Memorial Scholarship in Urban Forestry for 2018. He will be graduating with a BS in Forest Resources Management. He is exactly the kind of recipient to honor the memory of my mother, Helen Cutler, who was always planting trees in urban environments. 

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