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Drones in the Urban Forest, Part 2: The Potential

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Drone making visual tree inspection. Photo by Dan Staley

In Remote Sensing and Assessment of Urban Forests with Unmanned Aerial Vehicles from the Jan/Feb 2017 issue of City Trees, author and UAVs (drones) expert Dan Staley defines terms and lays out the potential uses of this rapidly evolving technology for urban forestry inspections. He explains “how UAVs can be used for remote sensing of urban forests for risk assessment, visual inspections, pest detection, inventory data enhancement, and rapid response after disasters, among other tasks.” 

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Drones in the Urban Forest, Part 1: NYSDEC’s Drone Program Takes Off

NYSDEC is now using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs, also known as drones) for a variety of monitoring purposes around the State. This terrific video, followed by the official NYSDEC press release, shows you the projects undertaken thus far. The ones that will perhaps interest the NYS urban forestry community most are related to Southern Pine Beetle and Phragmites–but all the projects are fascinating. In the next post, we explore the potential uses for urban forestry.

DEC’s Drone Program Takes Off

Fleet of 22 Drones and Professional Operators Undertake Critical Search and Rescue, Forest Fires, Wildlife Management and Forest Health Missions

DEC Drones Dispatched to Assist in Hurricane Recovery Efforts in Texas and Puerto Rico

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today that the agency has deployed a fleet of 22 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or “drones,” across the state to enhance the state’s environmental management, conservation and emergency response efforts. 

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Onondaga Tree Planting Includes ROW Sites in Dewitt

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Volunteers powered 2017 fall bare root tree planting in municipalities across Onondaga County. Photos Courtesy CCE Onondaga County

From Clare Carney, Natural Resource Educator for CCE Onondaga County:

This year, as part of an Onondaga County Community Development Block Grant, CCE Onondaga worked with multiple municipalities to coordinate volunteer tree plantings. One of the five communities to host the tree plantings in 2017 was the Town of DeWitt. Working with Town Naturalist Christine Manchester and her dedicated team of Tree Committee volunteers, we were able to secure homeowner-approved sites for ten trees to be planted in the right-of-way. Some homeowners joined in the tree planting, which took place on October 21st.

Manchester says, “The Town of Dewitt does seek resident approval prior to planting even in rights-of-way. It has been our experience that residents view this property as private because they mow it and there are very few sidewalks in the Town marking the boundary between private and public properties. We hope that one day, trees and sidewalks will both be treated as any other infrastructure and installed regularly in Town rights-of-way.”

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Town Naturalist Christine Manchester and volunteers got homeowner approval to plant trees in the right of way.

The other municipalities that participated in the 2017 Community Development tree plantings were the Town of Geddes, Village of Solvay, Town of Camillus, and Village of Baldwinsville. They planted in parks and public areas, so homeowner approval didn’t come into play. A total of 50 bare root trees were planted across the County by 60 volunteers of all ages attending the tree planting events. It was a wonderful season of community involvement and participation to support the renewal of urban forest canopy, green infrastructure, and environmental stewardship.

 

 

SMA 2018 Urban Tree of the Year is…

tuliptree leaves and flowers Steve Cothrel
photo by Steve Cothrel

The 2018 SMA Urban Tree of the Year is native to much of the Eastern United States and is cold hardy to Zone 4 and heat hardy to Zone 8b or 9. You may associate it with forests, but not so much with urban forests. Yet it definitely has its place in cities so long as its basic needs are met. It is the majestic tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera), a member of the magnolia family that reaches 60 to 90 feet in height and 30 to 50 feet in width. It’s named tulip tree because of the shape of its leaves, which emerge first, and its showy flowers, which follow and can be borne higher up in the canopy and somewhat hidden from view by the leaves. 

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Up With Trees! SMA Tulsa Conference Highlights

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Up with Trees headquarters in Tulsa. Photo: upwithtrees.org

Recently, Council members such as Past President Andy Hillman, Secretary Steve Harris, Board Member James Kaechele, and myself (Blog Editor Michelle Sutton) attended the Annual Conference of the Society of Municipal Arborists (SMA). It was held November 13-14, 2017 in Tulsa, Oklahoma prior to the Partners in Community Forestry Conference on November 15-16.

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SMA conferences are open to and welcoming of anyone and everyone interested in urban forestry but tend to draw most from professional city foresters, parks superintendents, state UCF coordinators, urban forestry nonprofit staff, and the like. Many continue on to the “Partners” conference, organized by the Arbor Day Foundation, where they are joined by hundreds of community forestry professionals, volunteers, and activists.

A bus tour of Tulsa (human pop. ~ 400,000) highlighted the long and productive collaboration between the Tulsa Parks and Recreation Forestry Section and the nonprofit group Up with Trees, founded in 1976. Urban forestry in Tulsa was first formally recognized in 1992; its longtime city forester, Mike Perkins, recently retired from the City and went to work as operations manager for Up with Trees. Arborist Dave Zucconi then took the city forester position, rising from the ranks of Parks and Recreation. Tulsa benefits from the longtime positive working relationship between Perkins and Zucconi, who gave a very animated tour and are rightfully proud of their accomplishments and those of their colleagues.

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Mike Perkins (left) and Dave Zucconi (right)

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Crazy Worms Addendum

Cornell Cooperative Extension just came out with a helpful bulletin about Asian jumping works, aka crazy worms. It includes images showing how to tell apart invasive European worms and the more damaging crazy worms, and advice on how to prevent their spread. Limited research on potential predators to hope control this pest shows that Eastern red centipedes and other arthropods may be the best bet.

And here’s a time-lapse video that shows what the worms, Latin name Amynthas agrestis, do to organic matter—gobble it up and leave behind a small volume of overly aggregated castings that dry out quickly. It’s not good.

See prior post for more info, and thanks to horticulturist Laura Wyeth for this additional info.

Green Horizons: NYC Middle School Careers Event in its 22nd Year

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NYSDEC Senior Forester Greg Owens facilitated native tree planting and other activities in the All About Trees workshop. Photo by Diana Pedi

The 22nd New York City Green Horizons middle school careers event was held October 19, 2017 in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. It attracted almost 300 students—the largest registration ever. The weather was perfect and the Park was an ideal site for students to explore 19 stations that focused on environmental and natural resources careers. Special partners this year were staff and volunteers of Van Cortlandt Park, the Friends of Van Cortlandt Park, the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy, and the Van Cortlandt Historic House Museum. 

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How NYC ReLeaf Gets it Done: Effective Advocacy for the Federal UCF Budget

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Numbers represent the respective US Congressional Districts. Twelve federal congressmen and women cover the five boroughs of NYC.

Thank you to NYC ReLeaf Planning Committee Member Nancy Wolf and NYC ReLeaf Committee Co-chair and NYSUFC Board Member Andrew Newman for sharing this account with us. 

Along with ReLeaf groups and other stakeholders around the State, New York City ReLeaf has been active in the effort to protect and preserve the vital federal Urban and Community Forestry (UCF) funds in the 2018 USDA Forest Service budget. When our NYC ReLeaf Committee learned of the concerted advocacy effort made by several prominent non-profits in California, we did not want to be outdone by our West Coast counterparts! We resolved to contact our local delegation.

With 12 U.S. Congressional Representatives across the five boroughs of NYC, it was important to alert all of them to the situation early last summer. Two of the NYC delegation—Rep. Jose Serrano of the Bronx and Rep. Grace Meng of Queens—sit on the important House Appropriations Committee that hammers out the House proposed budget, but to raise awareness of UCF more broadly, we contacted all 12 legislators. 

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Governor Cuomo Announces $2.3 Million in Urban Forestry Grants

Funding Will Help Support Tree Planting and Other Urban Forestry Projects Statewide 

Read on to find out about the awardees and their projects  

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Scarlet oak (Quercus coccinea). Photo by Rick Harper

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced grant awards totaling $2.3 million for urban forestry projects in communities across New York. The Urban Forestry grants are funded through the state Environmental Protection Fund and are part of New York’s ongoing initiatives to address invasive species, climate change and environmental justice.

“These investments will help improve the quality of life in New York neighborhoods by supporting the replacement of trees impacted by invasive pests,” Governor Cuomo said. “Every New Yorker deserves access to clean air, and through these urban forestry grants, we are promoting the benefits of planting new trees to support a better, healthier New York for all.”

Grants were made available to municipalities, public benefit corporations, public authorities, school districts, soil and water conservation districts, community colleges, not-for-profit organizations, and Indian Nations. Awards range from $11,000 to $75,000, depending on municipal population. Tree inventories and community forestry management plans have no match. Tree planting and maintenance projects have a 25 percent match.

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Hudson Valley ReLeaf Workshop Went Back to Basics

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Planting a ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) in Millbrook. Photo by Karen Emmerich

On Thursday, October 12, 2017 Hudson Valley ReLeaf and NYSDEC held a workshop called “Back to Basics” hosted at CCE Dutchess County in Millbrook. Sessions were given on tree biology, tree planting specifications, young tree pruning, and insects and diseases impacting forest health. Four esteemed professionals led the sessions: NYSDEC’s Jason Denham, CCE Nassau County’s Vinnie Drzewucki, the New York Tree Trust’s James Kaechele, and NYSDEC Region 3 Senior Forester George Profous. The day culminated in the planting of a ginkgo tree in downtown Millbrook as part of a tree planting demo conducted by Profous. All this for $25! Keep an eye out for ReLeaf workshops in your area.

Hudson Valley ReLeaf is part of a statewide program managed by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Bureau of Private Land Services. Funding is provided by the Urban and Community Forestry Program. Volunteer members of Hudson Valley ReLeaf include interested citizens, forestry professionals, representatives of environmental non-profits, and government officials.