Joe Charap on the Municipal Forestry Institute

Green-Wood Cemetery Director of Horticulture and Curator and Council Board Member Joe Charap received scholarship assistance from the Council to attend the 2018 Municipal Forestry Institute in Litchfield, Connecticut. MFI 2019 in Silverton, Oregon: registration is underway!

What were the most valuable aspects of MFI for you?

I valued the chance to speak informally with the teaching cadre members, learn from their experiences, and ask them questions.

It was also fantastic to meet my colleagues from around the country; it gave me perspective and new ideas for potential solutions to the challenges I face in my work. I also got a deeper sense of the diversity of roles within the field of urban forestry and the impact our field has on city planning.

The role-playing session with Rosa Linda Perez on communicating with the press was excellent. I learned some new skills for interacting with the media around sensitive issues—I feel more confident knowing I can reference those skills should the situation arise.

What was one of your biggest takeaways?

It’s important for any urban forestry program—be it that of a cemetery, municipality, or other entity within the urban forest—to have a clear program identity and brand. Whether starting a program from scratch or taking over the supervision of an existing one, it’s important to have a vision—and to have a strategy to build it.

Any last words?

I sincerely appreciate and want to thank the Council for sponsoring me to attend MFI! Thank you for investing in my professional education, which will help me be a better Council Board Member, as well.

A Tribute to Our Friend Pat Tobin

Pat Tobin in 2014 accepting Tree City USA recognition for Fayetteville, which has been a Tree City USA for nearly 20 years, thanks in no small part to Pat’s efforts. With Pat is NYSDEC Urban Forestry Partnerships Coordinator Sally Kellogg.

Beloved Council Past President (2006-2009) and longtime Council stalwart friend Pat Tobin died unexpectedly on September 1, 2018 in her home in Fayetteville. Pat was born and raised in the Eastwood neighborhood of Syracuse, graduating from Eastwood High School and continued her education, receiving a BA from Syracuse University. She remained a lifelong SU sports fan, cheering the football team on her last evening!

Pat spent 40 years at Niagara Mohawk as an IT programmer. After her retirement, Pat became a super-volunteer, helping out with numerous causes, most especially the urban forest by way of the Council and the Fayetteville Tree Commission. Pat was also an active member of Immaculate Conception Church in Fayetteville. 

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Trees for Parks: Fall Fiesta Sugar Maple

Fall Fiesta sugar maple at Bold Spring Nursery in Georgia. Fall Fiesta is available in New York nurseries as well. Photo Courtesy Bold Spring Nursery

The Fall Fiesta sugar maple (Acer saccharum ‘Bailsta’) is a patented cultivar selected in 1987 from a group of seedlings at Bailey Nurseries in Yamhill, Oregon. It was chosen because of its vigorous growth rate; upright, symmetrical form; and leathery leaves that are resistant to scorch and tatter caused by droughty or windy conditions, respectively.

Fall Fiesta is an excellent shade tree with a dense, rounded crown; it maintains its shape and requires little pruning. Its fall color may consist of more oranges and reds than other sugar maple varieties, and it exhibits excellent winter hardiness, from USDA Zones 3 to 8. Healthy trees don’t have significant pest or disease problems. 

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Saying Goodbye to the Council’s Beloved Pat Tobin

Longtime Council stalwart and unfailingly kind and gentle Pat Tobin died peacefully in her sleep at her home in Fayetteville on Saturday, September 1, 2018.

“Although she had some health issues, her death did come as a shock to the family. We wanted to reach out to the NYSUFC as soon as possible, because we know she was a great friend and mentor to so many in your organization. As you know, she took great joy in her work. We her family relished hearing all the latest ‘tree news’ and were so proud of her accomplishments both with the local tree commission and with your organization. Pat is survived by her brother Leo and sister-in-law Kathy Tobin of Canastota, and numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews, and, of course, friends.” –Regina Plunkett Dowling (wife of Pat’s nephew Sean Dowling)

We would like to do a tribute to Pat on the blog. To that end, kindly send your remembrances, pictures, and anecdotes to editor Michelle Sutton at editor@nysufc.org. Thank you.

Here are the details for Pat Tobin’s services.
Saturday, September 8, 2018
8:30-9:45am  Wake
10:00-11:00am Funeral Mass (followed by burial at St Mary’s Cemetery)
Immaculate Conception Church, 400 Salt Springs Rd, Fayetteville, NY
Funeral arrangements are being handled by the Schepp Family Funeral Home.

Gloversville’s Arbor Day Tree Planting Boosted by Council Grant & Donations

Community members planting ‘Sienna Glen’ sugar maples near the Farmers Market Pavilion. Photos Courtesy City of Gloversville

Gloversville, New York, located in Fulton County halfway between Albany and Utica, was a recipient of a 2018 NYSUFC Arbor Day Grant. These grants are meant to kick-start community and urban forestry programs. Over the course of three events held in April, May, and June, 2018, the Gloversville Housing and Neighborhood Improvement Corporation (GHNIC) planted twelve trees in celebration of Arbor Day. Through these events, more than two dozen community members were involved, the public learned more about urban forestry through four stories in local newspapers, and community members expressed interest in forming an urban forestry committee.

Since originally applying for the $1000 grant, the City’s tree planting project underwent two significant shifts. The first was a shift in location. Though they had originally sought to plant trees along land-banked parcels, GHNIC folks later decided that planting trees in the “asphalt desert” that surrounds the Gloversville Farmers Market Pavilion in the heart of downtown was a better way to showcase the benefits of trees in a highly visible part of the city. 

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Freeville’s First-Ever Arbor Day Planting Event

Freeville community members plant their first tree, a swamp white oak (Quercus bicolor), at their first-ever Arbor Day event. Photos Courtesy Village of Freeville

Freeville Village Planning Board and Tree Committee Member Tom Cavataio provided this report on Freeville’s first-ever Arbor Day planting with the help of a $1000 NYSUFC grant. Freeville (pop. ~ 520) is located in Tompkins County, east of Ithaca.

The newly formed Freeville Tree Committee held a successful Arbor Day tree planting event on May 12, 2018 with the planting of a swamp white oak (Quercus bicolor) at the Village of Freeville’s Groton Ave Park. The tree was donated to the program by Paul Paradine, a local NYSEG employee and new member of our tree committee.

A great deal of committee activity preceded the event, with signage being created, announcements in the local papers and at the local elementary school, and a last-minute decision on a one-hour delay the morning of the event (the forecast was for rain, but we were still able to carry off the event by delaying it for an hour). 

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Cornell Urban Horticulture Institute Team Evaluates Condition of National Mall Elms

Cornell UHI team Barbara Neal, Bryan Denig, and Nina Bassuk assess the health of one of the iconic elms ringing the National Mall. Photo by Yoshiki Harada

In April 2018, the Cornell Urban Horticulture Institute team of Nina Bassuk, Bryan Denig, Yoshiki Harada, and Barbara Neal released an extensive report on the elms (including American elms) of the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The report details a study conducted at the request of the National Park Service to examine the current conditions of the trees and soils on the tree panels of the National Mall, and it includes a fascinating history of the landscape. Here are some highlights from the report.

The National Mall elm trees are an important planting in the monumental core, yet they face several challenges. The soils of the tree panels are very compacted, most likely due to the constant pedestrian use and the numerous large organized events that take place on the Mall. Unevenness in the size and distribution of the tree canopy has resulted from decades of mortality (often due to Dutch Elm Disease) and the planting of certain elm varieties with growth forms that are seen as incompatible with the planting as a whole.

From June 17–20, 2017, the research team conducted a tree inventory and collected soil data and samples for later analysis. In addition, in November 2017, ground penetrating radar done by Council member Gary Raffel was used to document root growth for seventeen of the trees. This report deals with the current tree and soil conditions, while management recommendations are in a separate report to be released in late 2018 or early 2019. 

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