Over 200 NYC middle school students, teachers, and guidance counselors enjoyed the 21st Green Horizons event on October 20th, 2016 in Central Park. New York City’s annual environmental and natural resources careers day continues to provide a free and hands-on experience for young people, working directly with professionals who volunteer their time to introduce careers they love.
Rotating around the five boroughs, Green Horizons is intensely collaborative, combining the strengths of governmental agencies at all levels, private corporations, and not-for-profit organizations. This year, the host organization was Central Park Conservancy; 20 stations were sited around the Harlem Meer in the northern part of the Park. Among the various offerings, students learned about urban forestry, arboriculture, horticulture, landscape planning, geology, meteorology, entomology, wetlands management, and water quality monitoring.
Did you know that scholarships toward registration for the annual ReLeaf conference are available through the DEC for qualified applicants? These folks received awards this year.
Dewitt’s Nicholas Quilty-Koval:
The Releaf Conference was fantastic. It was a great experience and I was able to talk to many great people who encouraged me to pursue my goal of a career in urban planning.
In my community I have the opportunity to go door-to-door and talk to people about receiving a free tree. I am involved in the Save The Rain program for the Town of Dewitt. This program works with OEC (Onondaga Earth Corps) in an attempt to educate the nearby community about the benefits of trees as well as saving the rain. Our goal is to plant trees in the local area in order to do things such as decrease the amount of flooding, improve the air quality, and improve the appearance of the neighborhoods. I am also involved in the Town’s attempt to save ash trees that have been impacted by emerald ash borer. I have marked trees for removal as well as treatment. I also work with database software to help track the trees in our area.
Every aspect of the conference gave me insight into new topics and I learned a lot. It also connected ideas that I had originally been exposed to in my first year at college. There are many great takeaways that I received from the conference; the biggest one came from the Urban Wood Utilization talks with Jim Maloney and Tom Derby. I learned that we should not grind up ash and other trees into mulch, but instead should try to make them into something more useful and high-value, from a bench to a turkey call. Doing this would allow for more revenue from the tree and more meaningful products. I learned that marketing is a big key to the success of this idea of reusing the wood from urban trees.
Due to spring holidays, schools in New York City adopted May 6th as NYC Arbor Day. On that Friday last spring, most of the 59 participating schools planted their trees, which included flowering dogwoods, redbuds, wild cherries, maples, Colorado spruces, red oaks, black walnuts, river birches, honey locusts and black pines. Also planting were Urban Park Rangers at Inwood Hill Park, which is part of NYC Parks & Recreation.
The total number of trees planted was 234, which had been grown to size and carefully tended by students and teachers at John Bowne High School in Flushing, Queens. Students at Bowne participate in the Plant Science and Animal Science programs at this high school. The tree nursery is part of a small farm that is also home to animals, greenhouses, an orchard, and vegetable planting beds.
Hosted by NYS DEC, the 11th annual Tree City/Line/Campus USA Recognition Ceremony was held on March 30, 2016 in Albany. These programs were created by the Arbor Day Foundation and the National Association of State Foresters to recognize the stewardship of urban forests by communities. New York State has 108 Tree City USAs, 6 Tree Line USA utilities, and 18 Tree Campus USAs. A complete list of all New York Tree City USA and Tree Campus communities is posted on DEC’s website at http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/4957.html.
This was New York’s biggest ceremony yet, with communities from all of the nine DEC regions attending. One of the highlights was when NYSUFC founder Nancy Wolf was recognized with an Urban Forestry Award for being so pivotal in starting the urban forestry movement in our State.
Want your local politician to pay attention to an issue you care about? Take this tip from Omar Ahmad, the beloved former mayor of San Carlos, California: Send a monthly handwritten letter. Old-fashioned correspondence, he shows, is more effective than email, phone — or even writing a check. Listen for his four simple steps to writing a letter that works.
Advice for letter writing advocacy was conveyed during a session with Nancy Wolf and Paul Kerzner at the March 6, 2015 NYC ReLeaf Workshop, “COUNT TREES: Why Do a Tree Census?” The advocacy letter template will be useful to all New Yorkers seeking the most effective way to advocate for their urban forest. The template and its NYC-specific intro were written by NYS DEC Division of Lands and Forests Outreach Coordinator Nina Medakovich.
City Council members are preparing the 2016 budget for New York City. With the Million Trees initiative planting its one millionth tree this summer, it’s time to ensure our city continues heading in the right direction by investing in our urban forest!
The blog and e-news incarnation of TAKING ROOT (TR) began in March of 2014. Blog entries get posted weekly, and with this one, we’re up to 45 posts. In total the TR blog has been viewed over 8000 times! Thank you to all who read the blog, write for it, share it with others, send in ideas, and those who have been game to be profiled. Here are the top seven most-viewed TR blog posts of 2014.
David Moore: Get to Know Him! This entry set a new high bar! David shares about his work as a city forester for NYC Parks and prior position with NYRP, his connection to the North Country including his family’s woodlot in the Adirondacks, and his side career as a DJ and dance music producer.
ReLeaf 2014: Horticulture at Hofstra: This 240-acre campus/arboretum with more than 12,000 trees representing 625 species and varieties really knocked our socks off. This post starts off with a great interview with Hofstra Arboretum Director Fred Soviero, who gave a superb tour during our conference.
Nina Bassuk: Behind the Scenes in the Bassuk-Trowbridge landscape: People are naturally curious about what the nine-acre landscape of the world’s foremost street tree expert and her equally accomplished landscape architect husband is like. Hints: thousands upon thousands of bulbs; dealing with deer; capitalizing on 19th century top soil for veggies, and embracing Petasites for the wet spots. Read about it here.
New, Free UHI Guide to Woody Shrubs for Stormwater Retention: It seems this fantastic new reference, prepared by Ethan Dropkin and Nina Bassuk, is something the urban forestry community is hankering for. Includes design specs for various stormwater retention practices and a very comprehensive plant guide. Read here.
Vinnie Drzewucki on Tackling Dendrophobia/The Public’s Fear of Trees: This blog post is based on a great talk CCE Nassau County Horticulture Educator Vinnie Drzewucki gave at ReLeaf 2014. It gives great ideas for helping allay peoples’ fears. Did you know more people die from encounters with jellyfish than from tree-related incidents? Btw, it’s pronounced “Sha-VOOT-ski.”
The Story of BROW: Planting Street Trees Beyond the Right-of-Way–and What it Means for New Yorkers: Urban forestry consultant and BROW proponent Al Wegener gives a most interesting history of BROW, its legality, and how it might be applied in our municipalities. Read about it here.
Getting to Know Council Founder Nancy Wolf: Lots of folks wanted to know about more about the dynamic cofounder of our Council and its prime mover and shaker for many years. Nancy was also the founding editor of TAKING ROOT. Read here about her career, education, childhood, and many interests, including her farm in Virginia.
Can you tell us about your childhood influences that foreshadowed getting interested in arboriculture, urban forestry, and environmental education?Nancy Wolf: I grew up in a small southern Appalachian town in the Clinch River Valley of Virginia that was surrounded by farms. Everyone had gardens, my father kept chickens and my grandmother had a Jersey cow, which produced the best milk and butter in the world. I loved tree climbing and my first experience in “knowing” a tree was while perched in the major crotch of a big maple, surrounded by branches, leaves and breezes.
In my small high school, we were fortunate to have a well-educated science teacher who had just returned from World War II. Mr. Couch, in better days, would probably have gone on to graduate school and become a college teacher. The botany part of his biology class was “it” in terms of my entry into what I later understood was horticulture and arboriculture. His field trips and hands-on activities with plants brought to class were environmental education long before the term was introduced.