Blog

Register Online Now for ReLeaf Conference!

ReLeaf in greenYou can register for ReLeaf online!

Please take a look at the official brochure and registration for the 2017 New York State ReLeaf Conference, which will take place July 13-15 in Queens, NY! It’s very exciting to see this posted and registration is available online (new for us!) as well as via snail mail.

Some of the highlights of this year’s conference will be Tours of NYC Parks Natural Areas and NYC DEP Green Infrastructure; a screening of the 9/11 memorial film, The Trees; workshops on NYC Tree Map and Forest Health; and invited presentations by UHI Director Dr. Nina Bassuk and Arbor Day Foundation President Dan Lambe.

Register now for the best rates!

SUNY New Paltz Earns Tree Campus USA Designation

SUNY NP Tree Campus USA

From SUNY New Paltz News: SUNY New Paltz has joined a select group of U.S. colleges and universities that have met campus environment standards established by the Arbor Day Foundation, the nation’s largest nonprofit membership organization dedicated to planting trees.

“Earning Tree Campus USA status demonstrates to the world what those of us who live and work at SUNY New Paltz already know – that we have an extraordinary environment for studying ecology, not only off-campus but on campus as well,” said Eric Keeling, assistant professor of biology.

Read more…

Sponsorship of Municipal Forestry Programs & Events

PartyForThePlanet - Rock Climbing
Rock climbing at Surrey’s Party for the Planet, a daylong celebration made possible by cultivating sponsorships.

For three years, the Council has been administering Arbor Day grants that provide funding to communities who wanted to have their first-ever Arbor Day celebrations and begin to build their urban forestry programs. These grants have benefited 37 New York communities whose inaugural Arbor Day celebrations you can read about here on the blog.

What about those municipalities or non-profits that have established programs and want to kick things up a notch (or many notches)? Here, colleagues to the Northwest advise on how to make sponsorship of programs and events a reality. With its current population of 472,000, Surrey, BC would rank as the 37th largest city in the U.S. Their successes as a large city with sponsorship came via strategies that are translatable to smaller communities. First, have a look at how Surrey, BC put this into practice with their annual Party for the Planet, a day-long celebration for their equivalent of Arbor Day in the U.S. 

Read more…

Champlain’s First Arbor Day Grant & Celebration

Screenshot program a little straighter

On May 6, the Village of Champlain on the west shore of Lake Champlain in Clinton County held its first-ever Arbor Day Celebration with financial assistance from the NYSUFC. The Celebration kicked off a wave of the Village’s revitalization efforts centering on the playground, pavilion, basketball courts, and Village green. Five maple trees were planted on the Champlain Playground with the help of Girl Scouts and other volunteers. Community members participated in a Tree ID walk and heard from the high school outdoors club; the Girl Scouts read nature poetry; and children participated in arts and crafts in the nearby Champlain Meeting House. For a first-ever Arbor Day Celebration, it was very extensive!

Read more…

Port Chester Puts Arbor Day Grant to Work

event flyer

The Village of Port Chester in the Town of Rye in Westchester County recently wrapped up its Arbor Day Kick-Off Event, funded in part by an Arbor Day Grant from the NYSUFC. Port Chester Mayor’s Office, Department of Public Works, and Department of Planning & Economic Development organized the replanting of trees on the median of Haines Boulevard where a monoculture of pin oaks had succumbed to oak wilt.

The grant from the NYSUFC helped pay for the 20 replacement trees, which include ornamental cherry and pear and Japanese maples. The smaller-stature trees are more suitable for the space they’re afforded in the median, and the flowering ones have the added benefit of providing beauty in spring. The Village diversified the planting palette to create more biodiversity that will help avoid tree losses from diseases and insects in the future.

In order to generate interest in the event, Village staff canvassed every property along Haines Boulevard to speak with residents and invite them to the Arbor Day Kick-Off. The Westmore News was invited to attend the event along with the Village of Port Chester Board of Trustees, Village Beautification Commission, and Village Parks Commission. Mayor Richard “Fritz” Falanka attended to say a few words about the event and help dig the first hole for the trees; Highway Department staff ably completed the task.

The event was a huge success, and has drummed up a lot of interest in beautification and the role of trees and landscaping in enhancing the aesthetics of the Village. The Village Board of Trustees has directed staff to take a more active approach in planting and replanting efforts throughout the Village. Further, the Village is soon to release an Owner’s Manual for Green Infrastructure, which will aid property owners and the Village in combining low-impact development efforts with planting practices that can better retain stormwater and reduce pressures on the Village’s gray infrastructure.

Read more…

NYSUFC Partners with NYSDEC to Award 2017 Arbor Day Project Grants

Photo by Pat Evens
Photo by Pat Evens

For the third consecutive year, the New York State Urban Forestry Council has partnered with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation as the administrative and award mechanism for community Arbor Day grants (once known as “Quick Start” grants), providing a total of $10,000 in grant monies to conduct an Arbor Day tree planting program and ceremony. These grants may be up to $1,000 for communities to conduct a tree planting event on their Arbor Day. Applications are reviewed by a committee of Council board members by means of a competitive ranking review once the communities meet the grant requirements.

In 2015, 12 communities applied, and all 12 communities received a grant. In 2016, 35 communities applied, and 13 were granted funding. For 2017, 18 communities applied to the Council and the committee was able to award $10,810 in grant monies this year to 12 worthy communities.

Our congratulations to the communities that were selected for grants this year: the towns of Fishkill, Mt. Hope, Rush, and Grand Island; the villages of Lewiston, Port Chester, Champlain, Nunda, Attica, Fair Haven, and Cambridge; and the City of Niagara Falls. We look forward to doing blog posts about their successful Arbor Day celebrations and planting events.

Please congratulate anyone you know from those communities on their success and continue to encourage other communities to apply for the grant next year. Just remind them that they can’t already be a grant recipient, an Arbor Day Foundation Tree City USA, or have any parts of the process to become a Tree City (such as a tree inventory or a management plan). This is because the Arbor Day grants are meant to help inexperienced communities begin to get involved in the exciting world of urban forestry! And please don’t forget to thank our partners at the DEC for sharing this opportunity with the Council. We really do appreciate their support and trust. Enjoy the green all summer! —Brian Skinner, Council Vice President 

UHI Research Conclusions: Scoop & Dump Soil Remediation Strategy

In their recent paper in Urban Forestry and Urban Greening, “Long-Term Remediation of Compacted Urban Soils by Physical Fracturing and Incorporation of Compost,” study authors Miles Sax, Nina Bassuk, Harold van Es, and Don Rakow published their findings after twelve years of applied research. The technique, “Scoop & Dump Soil Remediation,” was introduced in a previous Council blog post about Urban Horticulture Institute research.

From the Urban Forestry and Urban Greening paper’s Abstract:

On the Cornell University campus a long-term study has measured the impacts of a soil remediation strategy on plant growth and soil quality using the Cornell Soil Health Test. The Scoop & Dump (S&D) process of soil remediation consists of physically fracturing compacted urban soils, incorporating large quantities (33% by volume) of compost with the use of a backhoe, and annually top dressing with mulch. This study was designed to investigate the impact of this remediation technique for the amelioration of compaction and degradation of soils in the urbanized environment.

From the Urban Forestry and Urban Greening paper’s Conclusion:

The authors found that the Scoop & Dump method of soil remediation showed improvement in soil quality indicators – bulk density, resistance, aggregate stability, potentially mineralizable nitrogen, active carbon and organic matter content – compared to unamended sites. Over a period of 12 years, soil quality indicators – bulk density, active carbon and potentially mineralizable nitrogen – improved over time showing long-term beneficial effects of using the Scoop & Dump Technique.

The application of the Scoop & Dump soil remediation strategy is an appropriate method for restoring soils damaged by heavy equipment, building construction and urbanization impacts. With minimal annual maintenance including the addition of shredded bark mulch, these improvements in soil quality are maintained or enhanced over time. This technique offers a practical, research-based tool for green industry professionals, arborists and landscape contractors and has a strong potential for improving soil quality using locally sourced materials and sustainable methods.

Citation:
Sax, M.S., Bassuk, N., van Es, H., Rakow, D., Long-Term Remediation of Compacted Urban Soils by Physical Fracturing and Incorporation of Compost, Urban Forestry and Urban Greening (2017),  http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ufug.2017.03.023

Underutilized Trees for Urban Use: ‘Regal Prince’ Oak

ac73eaf
Foliage of Regal Prince oak ● Photo by itrees.com

Regal Prince is the trademark name for Quercus x warei ‘Long’, a narrow, upright hybrid of fastigiate English oak (Quercus robur f. fastigiata) and swamp white oak (Quercus bicolor). Its leaves are clearly intermediate in shape and are glossy and leathery like those of swamp white oak. In Ithaca, Nina Bassuk and Andy Hillman first planted Regal Prince in 2005, and the oaks have performed well there ever since.

Quercus bicolor x robur 'Regal Prince'
Regal Prince oaks alongside the main thoroughfare in Ithaca, New York. Photo by Nina Bassuk

“It’s a good tree for tight spaces—not a shade tree as such,” says Cornell Urban Horticulture Institute Director Bassuk. “It has the shape of the fastigiate English oak but is more tolerant of poor drainage and is mildew resistant, unlike Q. robur. It also tolerates a higher pH than does straight Q. bicolor. During last summer’s drought its foliage stayed green throughout so it appears both wet and dry tolerant (after establishment of course).”

Read more…

Meet New Tree Campus USA Keuka College and Drew Rojek

Keuka College Tree Campus USA
Keuka College Grounds Manager Drew Rojek proudly accepts recognition for Keuka’s first year as a Tree City USA.

Drew Rojek has been the Keuka College Grounds Manager for just over a year. With Rojek’s leadership, the College recently celebrated its first year as a Tree Campus USA, one of just 22 in the state of New York. Originally from Buffalo, Rojek lives in Canandaigua with his wife Dana and two daughters—Ava, 4, and Lainey, 18 months.

Drew and wife Dana
Drew and his wife Dana live in Canandaigua with their two kids.

Rojek received his BS in Biology from Gannon University in Erie, PA, and his Master of Landscape Architecture from Morgan State University (MSU) in Baltimore, MD. While pursuing the latter, he worked on the grounds department of MSU and after graduation worked for a design-build company as an LA doing mostly residential design work.

Read more…

SCA and NYRP Partner Up for 2017 Earth Day in NYC

Making native plant seed balls
Volunteers of all ages made native plant seed balls for distribution across the five boroughs of NYC. All photos courtesy Student Conversation Association

On the 47th Annual Earth Day on April 22, 2017, New York Restoration Project (NYRP) and young people from the Student Conservation Association (SCA), in its 60th year, teamed up in Riverbank State Park in Manhattan to help “ConSERVE” New York City. Together they gave away 250 native trees—like tulip poplar, serviceberry, and black tupelo—to NYC residents. Seven hundred volunteers came out to give away trees, make native seed balls to be planted throughout the city, make recycled seed starters, conduct field research, and paint and assemble boards for park benches.

Read more…