Getting to Know DEC’s Dan Gaidasz

Dan (far left) teaching kids in the Capital Region about tree planting on Arbor Day 2019. 

Dan Gaidasz is the NYSDEC Urban and Community Forestry Program Technical Coordinator.

Where did you grew up? Were you interested in nature from an early age?
Dan Gaidasz: I grew up in the Genesee Valley between Mount Morris and Geneseo. From a very young age, I have been interested in the outdoors. I grew up on a small farm and it was very rare to find me indoors unless I got myself in hot water with one of my siblings. Besides being surrounded by farmland and forests, I was also blessed having Letchworth State Park as my “back yard,” where I spent a lot of time exploring. In 6th grade, my school had several professionals come in and talk about their jobs; that’s when I was introduced to forestry. I couldn’t believe you could get paid being outdoors, walking the woods, and playing with heavy equipment. I knew then that I wanted to be a forester.

Read more…

Liverpool NY 2nd Annual Arbor Day Celebration

As part of the Village of Liverpool’s 2019 Arbor Day celebration, elementary students wrote and performed skits about trees.

Thank you to the Village of Liverpool and Deputy Mayor Christina Fadden (Fitch) for forwarding this terrific account and photos of their 2019 celebration, funded by a NYSUFC grant. Fadden says, “The grant funds were a great encouragement, and we also now stand on the cusp of finally being designated a Tree City USA. Thank you to the NYS Urban Forestry Council for your support of our efforts and program.”

Location of the Village of Liverpool, in Onondaga County, greater Syracuse.

On Friday May 3rd, 2019, the Village of Liverpool celebrated its 2nd Annual Arbor Day Celebration at Liverpool Elementary School. At 9:00 a.m., an assembly of approximately 280 students, teachers and staff gathered in the school cafeteria. Village of Liverpool Tree Advisory Committee members Lisa Ballantyne, Yvette Hewitt, Diane Recor and Adam Woodburn joined Mayor of the Village of Liverpool Gary White, DEC Senior Forester Matthew Swayze, and Officer Sean Pierce in attendance.

Read more…

Partnerships, Fruit Trees, and Land Restoration in the Peruvian Amazon, with James Kaechele

In his capacity as Arborist for the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation, James Kaechele demonstrated how to properly plant a limón sutil tree (Citrus aurantifolia) to a community in the Peruvian Amazon.

All Photos Courtesy James Kaechele & Fruit Tree Planting Foundation

What skills does an urban forester use when planting trees on disturbed land along an Amazon River tributary? “All of them,” says New York Tree Trust Director and Council Executive Committee Member James Kaechele. In early December, 2019, Kaechele, also a consulting arborist for the Pittsburgh-based international charity Fruit Tree Planting Foundation (FTPF), went with a team of staff and volunteers to the Loreta Region of Peru to plant 6,000 fruit trees in five Amazon River communities.

“As urban foresters, our job is equal parts plants and people,” Kaechele says. “We’re uniquely positioned to coordinate both the arboricultural and human aspects of a project like this. The land-use questions are the same; the site assessment process is the same; tree planting techniques are the same; you have to address any concerns people have—for example, the worry that some have about whether a tree will fall on their house—it’s the same skills that I use in the work I do with street trees and residents in NYC.” Furthermore, the land along the Amazon River is often severely degraded and in need of restoration, just like in the tree beds, parks, and natural areas of NYC—just degraded for different reasons.

Read more…

2020 Community Resilience Grants for Tree City USA Communities

News from the Arbor Day Foundation

2020 Bank of America Community Resilience Grant Application is Now Live!

For existing Tree City USA communities 

Applications due Feb 21, 2020

From ADF:

Thank you for your continued dedication to the health of your community forest and participation in the Tree City USA program. We want to make you aware of a special grant opportunity focused on community resilience, available exclusively for recognized Tree City USA communities. The deadline for application is February 21st, 2020 – read on to learn more and apply. 

Read more…

American Chestnut Update: Big Funding News, Public Comment Needed, Seed Engraving, and a Podcast

(Above) Sergey Jivetin creates elaborate engravings on the shells of seeds, including a series carved on American chestnut seeds depicting The American Chestnut Foundation’s restoration efforts. One nut (enlarged) illustrates the American Chestnut Research and Restoration Project’s insertion of the oxalate oxidase gene into the American chestnut genome. To see more of Sergey Jivetin’s work, check out his website, Furrow Seed Engraving Project.

Major Gift to SUNY-ESF Chestnut Restoration Project
The SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF) has announced a grant of $3.2 million over three years from the Templeton World Charity Foundation in support of efforts to restore the endangered American chestnut. This is SUNY-ESF’s largest-ever charitable gift.

The funding will support research and efforts to restore the economically and culturally significant tree species, billions of which were killed by a blight in the early twentieth century. ESF has genetically engineered a new strain of chestnut that includes a single gene from wheat, enabling the tree to detoxify the oxalic acid produced by the invasive fungus that causes the blight. According to the school, this is the first time scientists have sought approval for genetic engineering to restore a native tree species. Earlier this year, the research team submitted to federal agencies a petition that lays out the case for public distribution of the genetically engineered strain.

Read more…

Getting to Know Council VP & Syracuse City Arborist Steve Harris

Steve Harris at the Syracuse Parks Department’s annual community tree planting event involving approximately 100 trees and 100 volunteers. The event is organized in partnership with local partners Cornell Cooperative Extension-Onondaga County and Onondaga Earth Corps. “It is always the highlight of the year,” Steve says. Photo Courtesy Onondaga Earth Corps

Steve Harris has been Syracuse City Arborist since 2010. He has served several terms on the Council Board and is now its Vice President. Steve is also active with the Society of Municipal Arborists, excelling in conference program planning.    

Can you tell us about your educational trajectory?
Steve Harris: When I was 9 or 10, my Dad gave me an atlas of the United States for my birthday. I studied it often and knew all the states and capitols before that was taught in school, which might be the reason I studied Urban Geography at Ohio State. In 1990, at the end of my senior year of college, one of my friends told me they’d enrolled in the Peace Corps. The idea of getting that kind of experience resonated with me, so I applied and was sent to The Gambia in West Africa to be a forest extension agent.

Upon my return to the States, I worked in an unrelated field for a couple of years before realizing that forestry was the career path for me. I attended Paul Smith’s College to get an Associate’s Degree in Pre-Professional Forestry then to SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry to get a Master’s Degree in Forestry. In both cases, my focus was forest management.

Read more…

Underutilized Trees for Urban Use: ‘Harvest Gold’ Linden

Glossy summer foliage of ‘Harvest Gold’ linden. Photo by James Kaechele

This post comes to us from NYSUFC Board Member and New York Tree Trust Development Director James Kaechele. 

Harvest Gold Linden (Tilia cordata x mongolica ‘Harvest Gold’)

As an open-pollinated hybrid of T. cordata and T. mongolica, ‘Harvest Gold’ linden steals the best from each parent. Searching through rows of lindens at Moon Nursery in Chesapeake City, Maryland in early 2009, I noticed this tree was different. ‘Harvest Gold’ does not share the liability of ‘Greenspire’ linden’s wide and twiggy form. Nor does it suffer from the often sparse crown of a young ‘Redmond’ or the frequently crowded branching of silver linden. Time may still reveal a fatal flaw for ‘Harvest Gold’, but after planting and observing it for the last ten years across diverse New York City landscapes, I am prepared to say this is an excellent linden.

Read more…