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.

Read more…