Free ReLeaf Webinars 10/2 and 10/9 Volunteers and Professionals Creating Connections

10/2 9 AM Part 1 of NYC ReLeaf Webinar

Creation Connections – Volunteers and Professionals Part 1

Registration link: https://meetny.webex.com/meetny/onstage/g.php?MTID=e89d6205feae266f5343836acb8c4ba32

Join NYC ReLeaf for a 2-part webinar series on Creating Connections: Volunteers and professionals. This virtual workshop features presentations on environmental education and volunteers, urban soils, a discussion of the Play Fair initiative and its impact on the City’s tree budget, and virtual tours of Snug Harbor Botanical Gardens and the Greenbelt Native Plant center. Part one will be October 2 and Part 2 on October 9th, both days the webinar starts at 9 AM. Part 1 features the following presentations and is approved for 1 credit for CNLP, ISA Credits are pending.

  • Virtual tour of Snug Harbor presented by Greg Lord – Director of Horticulture, Staten Island Botanical Garden
  • NYC Soils presented by Rich Shaw – Retired, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • Environmental education in a natural setting presented by Suzannah Abbate – Director of Education & Engagement, Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden and Maritza Cuevas – Director of Education, Greenbelt Conservancy

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Free ReLeaf Webinar 10/16: Municipal Tree Ordinances and Management Implications

Ithaca City Forester and Council Board Member Jeanne Grace will be one of the presenters for the NY ReLeaf Webinar on Municipal Trees Ordinances and their Mgmt Implications. Photo by Justin Zoll from Ithaca.com

10/16 9 AM Central NY ReLeaf

Municipal tree ordinances and associated management implications

Registration Link: https://meetny.webex.com/meetny/onstage/g.php?MTID=e8e1e51ae31e7f628a4068f1a3edf1644

Join NY ReLeaf’s Central NY Region for an urban forestry webinar on municipal tree ordinances. Tree ordinances are a core part of a community’s urban forestry program but writing and updating ordinances can be a challenge. Join us to learn tips and techniques to write your first ordinance or update an existing one to help your community on its path to a strong urban forestry program.

  • Jeanne Grace, ISA Certified Arborist, City of Ithaca, “Creating a tree ordinance for large Development Projects” Ithaca has recently improved their Site Plan Review Ordinance which regulates how trees are addressed in the planning and development of a site. Jeanne will discuss the process of updating their ordinance and challenges and lessons from along the way
  • Jim Maloney, ISA Certified Arborist, National Grid, “How we can use Mary Shelby’s Frankenstein to build our first tree ordinance” Jim will discuss methods to expeditiously guide the process of building a tree ordinance and provide recommendations to avoid pitfalls and have a smoother process to declaring “It’s alive!”
  • Laura Ayers, esq., will give an over view of the legal concerns that municipal infrastructure, easements, and managing urban trees can lead, and what to keep in mind when writing or updating a tree ordinance

Underutilized Trees for Urban Use: Quercus michauxii

Author Jean Zimmerman with one of Ithaca’s thriving swamp chestnut oak (Quercus michauxii) street trees, about 15 years old.

Council Board Member and Commercial & Consulting Arborist for SavATree Jean Zimmerman provided this superb story and photos. Jean is also an extensively published author (jeanzimmerman.com), centering much of her fiction and nonfiction around the history of Manhattan.

When saplings of swamp chestnut oak (Quercus michauxii) showed up on the streets of Ithaca, New York in 2007, even some knowledgeable arborists might have been surprised. Rarely seen in the colder northern precincts of Zone 5 central New York, Quercus michauxii hails from the Southern United States, where it keeps its feet wet in swamps and mixed hardwood forests. When I encountered striking specimens in the college town recently, I wondered how michauxii had wound up on the streets of “Mythaca.”

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Nina Bassuk/Peter Trowbridge ISA New England Talk

Nina Bassuk gave this talk on her and Peter Trowbridge’s behalf for the recent virtual New England Chapter ISA Conference. This video provides the very latest synthesis of their research on and experience with creating sustainable urban landscapes.


Federal Funding for UCF Update

Thank you to the Sustainable Urban Forests Coalition for this update.

Federal Appropriations Update

In July, the House passed the Interior Appropriations Bill, which included $40 million for the U.S. Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry program, an $8 million increase over the current fiscal year. Of those funds, $2 million was allocated for reforestation efforts in urban communities most severely impacted by the Emerald Ash Borer. The Forest and Rangeland Research program also received a $6.8 million increase ($3.9 million for Forest Inventory and Analysis and $2.9 million for Research and Development).

The House also passed its Agriculture Appropriations Bill, which funds the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. The bill included $60.6 million for Tree and Wood Pests (an increase of $600,000 from last year) and $198.9 million for Specialty Crops (an increase of $6.9 million from last year).

The Senate has yet to pass any of its appropriations bills. Given the limited amount of time remaining in this session of Congress and the focus on pandemic relief, it’s likely that none will move until after the election. As a result, Congress will need to pass a continuing resolution before the new fiscal year begins on October 1. 🌳

Washington Square Park Eco Projects & Co-founder Georgia Silvera Seamans

Georgia Silvera Seamans (center) with the interactive Washington Square Park Eco Projects Mobile Exhibit. Photo Courtesy Street Lab

Georgia Silvera Seamans is the co-founding director of Washington Square Park Eco Projects in New York City. She is an urban forester, independent researcher, and writer. Georgia has bylines with UrbanOmnibus.netAudubon.org, and Audubon Magazine, and her research has been published in Urban Forestry & Urban Greening and the former Journal of Arboriculture. Georgia blogs about urban nature at localecologist.org. She holds degrees from Wesleyan University, the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, and UC Berkeley.  

Could you share about your NYC roots and your connection to Washington Square Park in particular?

Georgia Silvera Seamans: When my family emigrated to the U.S., the first place we landed was Washington Heights. I attended junior high and high school in NYC. I used to visit the Village as a teenager; the vintage shops on West 8th Street were fun to explore! I recall one visit to Washington Square Park during that time. The Park struck me as a dynamic and diverse place. As an adult I moved back to the City in 2009. I live a few blocks from the Park, within a 10-minute walk.

A view from within WSP to the iconic Washington Arch. The nearby crabapple trees feed many bird species in the fall, including catbirds and hermit thrushes. Photo by the author.

How did you come to urban forestry, and what have been some of your peak experiences along the way? Could you talk about your urban forestry research and writing? 

GSS: I became an urban forester because of my job as a paid community forestry intern with the Urban Resources Initiative in New Haven, Connecticut. This practical experience more than any academic training set me on the urban forestry path. I was an intern in the organization’s Community Greenspace program where I provided technical resources to seven community groups in the Newhallville neighborhoods.

The projects undertaken by the groups I worked with ranged from planting street trees on a block to converting an abandoned house lot into a bird sanctuary. I can honestly say that but for this rigorous and fun experience I would not have applied to and been offered the job as urban forester for the City of Boston.

I returned to graduate school after working for the Boston Parks and Recreation Department for a few years. At UC Berkeley, my dissertation research was focused on how and why municipal agencies and nonprofits were reframing trees as ecological agents versus the conventional aesthetic narrative. I am proud of my first authored paper based on my dissertation which was published in 2013 in Urban Forestry & Urban Greening.

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