Getting to Know CCE Educator Vinnie Drzewucki

Vinnie Drzewucki and his wife traveled to Israel in 2015. The Sea of Galilee and Golan Heights are in the background.
Vinnie Drzewucki traveled to Israel in 2015. The Sea of Galilee and Golan Heights are in the background.

CCE Nassau County Horticulture and Urban and Community Forestry Resource Educator Vinnie Drzewucki (pronounced “Shavootski”) has served on the Council Board for two years.

Can you tell us about your childhood influences that foreshadowed getting interested in horticulture and urban forestry?
Vinnie Drzewucki: From a young age I was fascinated by plants. I think it was being around my father and grandmother who were always growing something and caring for their gardens and houseplants. My earliest memories are filled with being with them in their gardens and surrounded by flowers, fruits, vegetables, trees, and shrubs.

vinnie-photoIn school we learned that trees grow from seeds and so I began to collect and sow tree seeds everywhere. Some, to my surprise, did grow and I wonder if they are around today producing seeds of their own. When I was old enough to get my first library card, one of the first books I checked out was a book about trees because I wanted to know all I could about how trees grow. I was amazed that trees could provide a vast assortment of useful products like fruits and nuts to eat and wood for building and making things.

Back then, news about air and water pollution and deforestation was frequently in the media and often discussed in class. It was the time when the US Environmental Protection Agency and New York State Department of Environment Conservation were being formed, the Clean Water Act was amended, and the Clean Air Act was established. I suppose my interest in trees and their importance in the environment began way back then.

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Top Seven Blog Posts of 2014

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.

 

... or as specimens.

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.

old barn foundation Craig Cramer

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.

Cornus amomumNew, 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.

CCE Nassau County Horticulture Educator Vinnie Drzewucki

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.”

Norway spruce by Al WegenerThe 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.

 

Nancy Wolf in her garden with grandson Noah John, 8 1/2, and granddaughter Veronica, 4 1/2.

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.

Vinnie Drzewucki on Tackling the Public’s Dendrophobia, the Fear of Trees

CCE Nassau County Horticulture Educator Vinnie Drzewucki
CCE Nassau County Horticulture Educator Vinnie Drzewucki

At the 2014 ReLeaf Conference in July at Hofstra University, CCE Nassau County Horticulture Educator Vinnie Drzewucki (pron. “Sha-VOOT-ski”) gave an engaging talk on “Breaking the Fear of Trees: How to Help the Public Overcome their Dendrophobia.” He graciously shares the highlights of his talk here on the blog. Thanks, Vinnie!

Fear of Trees title page

Breaking the Fear of Trees, by Vinnie Drzewucki
For most of you reading this blog, being afraid of trees is probably just about the strangest thing you’ve ever heard of. Lately, though, I meet many citizens who are afraid of trees.

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