Town of DeWitt Rolls Out Urban Forest Management Plan

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Town of DeWitt Naturalist, Sustainability Coordinator, and Certified Arborist Christine Manchester is pleased to share this post about her Town’s new Urban Forest Management Plan.

In 2014, the Town of DeWitt received notification from the NYSDEC that our grant application to fund the creation of an urban forest management plan had been accepted. This was great news—but we quickly learned that writing the grant was the easiest part of the project. We thought that we were ready for a document that spelled out all the details, specifications, and standards. We wanted a document that would tell us specifically what we needed to do. However, we had some work of our own to do before engaging a consultant in writing the Plan.

A quick overview wearing an “Urban Forestry” lens might be helpful to understand our confusion. The Town Code had been revised in 2012 to include a Tree Chapter. This Code chapter established a very basic framework in regards to planting, pruning, and removing trees on Town property and referenced the DeWitt Urban Forestry Management Plan, which had not yet been created. Additionally, the Town Code chapter on trees clearly indicates necessary items that shall be included in the UFMP, like species selection, planting, pruning standard, care, and removal standards. However, in none of our guiding documents was there any justification for why we should manage trees.

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Our Woman in Indy: Christine Manchester Reports from Partners in Community Forestry Conference

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Chris Manchester

ISA Certified Arborist Christine (Chris) Manchester is the naturalist and sustainability coordinator for the Town of Dewitt, and as such she is heavily involved in the oversight of Dewitt’s urban forest. The NYSUFC provided financial assistance to Manchester to reimburse some of her expenses to attend the Partners in Community Forestry Conference last November 16-17 in Indianapolis. Additional support was provided by the Arbor Day Foundation and NYSDEC.

“I can’t thank the Council enough,” she says. “I had a great time, met some very interesting people (there were 559 registered), and gained valuable information. Thank you for this opportunity.” Manchester prepared a presentation about her take-aways from the conference and how they apply most to the work that she does for the Town of DeWitt. That presentation is excerpted here.

Christine Manchester:

The opportunity to network with this many people who are facing many of the same challenges nationally doesn’t present itself every day. Through an informal tally, the majority of people raised their hands that they had been in urban forestry for less than 10 years. There were so many incredible presentations—but there were a couple of topics that resonated with me more than others. The take-aways for me were: 1) partnership/collaboration, 2) thinking about trees as infrastructure and incorporating plantings into streetscapes and 3) focusing on planting trees in poor residential areas.

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