Saratoga Springs & Skidmore College: Seven Things to Anticipate

Saratoga Springs (Pop. ~ 28,000) is a magical kind of town, one that invites you to explore it on foot. There are many reasons you may wish to come early or stay after the ReLeaf Conference (July 14-16), taking place at Skidmore College, ends.

saratoga book cover*Skidmore College is a 10-minute walk to the very walkable city of Saratoga Springs, where horticulture has a longstanding and elevated station among the beautiful and historic buildings (see especially, Congress Park). A book was written about the horticultural history of Saratoga Springs called Saratoga in Bloom: 150 Years of Glorious Gardens by Janet Loughrey. You can see an article about the book and author here.

*Saratogians loves their urban forest. The City and the nonprofit Sustainable Saratoga Urban Forestry Project partner to get big things done. From the Urban Forestry Project website: “Sustainable Saratoga’s Urban Forestry Project (UFP) gained visibility during 2012 by deploying 125 volunteers to inventory more than 5600 street and park trees in Saratoga Springs. The City used our inventory to shape its first-ever Urban Forest Master Plan, funded by a DEC grant. The City invited the UFP to partner with it during the process of drafting the plan, which was adopted by the city council on May 21, 2013. The UFP quickly broadened its focus beyond the inventory, and now works on many fronts, educating about and advocating for the “preservation and expansion” of our urban forest. In 2014, we partnered with Saratoga Springboard and the City’s DPW to organize Tree Toga, a [now annual] Arbor Day tree planting initiative and a festival on Henry Street.”

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NYC Arbor Day Project, with Youth Growing & Planting 234 Trees

 

Magella Owen and Rajesh from HS of American Studies at Lehman College. by Anthony Thoman
Students from the High School of American Studies at Lehman College in the Bronx plant an evergreen on campus. The students are left to right: Magella Sheehan, Owen McFadzean, and Rajesh Persad. Photo by Anthony Thoman

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.

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Kindergartners in Pat Evens’s class at PS 174 in Queens plant a redbud tree they named Sophia. Photo by Pat Evens

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.

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Karen Emmerich Reflects on Municipal Forestry Institute Experience

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Karen Emmerich

Environmental consultant Karen Emmerich serves on the NYSUFC Board, on the Region 3 ReLeaf Committee, and as Tree Commission Chair for the Town of Warwick. Last February, the Council provided a partial scholarship for Karen to attend the Municipal Forestry Institute (MFI), a weeklong leadership training for urban forestry professionals and their affiliates.

MFI_logo no year“Without hesitation, I would encourage anybody who is in the urban forestry field to attend MFI,” she says. “Do whatever you have to do to get there! I found it so incredibly valuable.” She says the leadership skill building and the networking were the most meaningful to her. She especially urges young people to go, to get the benefits of MFI early in their career. More about Karen’s MFI experience later.

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Flood Damage to Trees after Hurricane Sandy: Lessons and Surprises

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Section of Long Island following Hurricane Sandy photographed by U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Rob Simpson. Photo in the public domain.

by Michelle Sutton

The 2016 Atlantic Ocean hurricane season officially began June 1, with meteorologists offering varying opinions about how much activity we in the eastern U.S. will see. Hurricane Sandy (October 2012) savaged tree populations with both high winds and flooding. Sandy brought one storm surge of salt water that retreated with the same day’s tides. What were some of the impacts and lessons learned? We hear from a veteran arborist on Long Island and from a former NYC urban forester.

What are the major reasons flooding is so punishing for trees? Dr. Kamran Abdollahi, professor of forest ecophysiology in the urban forestry program at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, explains that flooding fills soil pores, denying tree roots access to the oxygen they need for respiration and water and nutrient uptake. Dr. Abdollahi says, “In the urban environment where soils are already compacted by human activities, flooding exacerbates compaction and its negative effects. Flooding can also negatively affect root anchoring and tree stability.”

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Arborist Joel Greifenberger is the owner of Valley Tree and Landscape in Long Beach, Long Island. Valley has planted more than 25,000 trees for NYC in over 25 years. Greifenberger says that on Long Beach, Hurricane Sandy brought several feet of salt water on land, “bay to ocean,” for about 12 hours. That brief flooding event left dramatic damage to the region’s trees, with some surprising victims.

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Urban Forestry in the News: Goats, David Nowak/i-Tree, Pelham Bay Park Research, more

goat Hausziege_04In “Can Hungry Goats Restore Urban Forests?” writer Jessica Leigh Hester describes how officials are using a herd of goats in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park to browse invasive plants that took hold after Hurricane Sandy blew down trees, leaving open earth exposed to sunlight. The herd is on loan from Green Goats Farm in Rhinebeck, New York. Using goats for urban vegetation management hasn’t always turned out well, but this project seems to be on the right track.

(above) Photographer: Armin Kübelbeck, CC-BY-SA, Wikimedia Commons

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In “What are Trees Worth to Cities?” Syracuse-based lead researcher David Nowak of the U.S. Forest Service’s Northern Research Station talks about i-Tree, the tree software that he helped develop. He goes on to talk about the critical importance of assigning a dollar value to our urban forests and the many benefits they provide—then sharing that data with key decision makers. “Money drives decisions,” Nowak says.

MarkHostetler_avatar-160x160In “Why Conserve Small Forest Fragments and Individual Trees in Urban Areas?” Dr. Mark Hostetler says, “For many developers and city planners, it takes time and money to plan around trees and small forest fragments. Often, the message from conservationists is that we want to avoid fragmentation and to conserve large forested areas. While this goal is important, the message tends to negate any thoughts by developers towards conserving individual mature trees and small forest fragments.” Hostetler goes on to discuss why forest fragments are important; he goes into depth about the role of forest fragments in the lives of migrating birds but also touches on the many other cumulative ecosystem benefits we know that urban trees/forest fragments provide, including carbon sequestration and shade.

pelham bay parkIn “Long-term Outcomes of Forest Restoration in an Urban Park,” NYC and USDA Forest Service Researchers compared restored and unrestored forest sites 20 years after initiating restoration. The sites are located within the Rodman’s Neck area of Pelham Bay Park, in the northeast corner of the Bronx in New York City. Some of the major implications for restoration practice that the researchers concluded from the findings of this study are that:

  • Urban forest restoration practices such as targeted removal of exotic invasive species and planting native tree species can increase species diversity and vegetation structure complexity. These effects can be seen two decades after restoration is initiated.
  • Targeted removal of exotic invasive plant species alone (i.e. without planting native trees) can increase numbers of exotic invasive shrubs and vines.
  • Urban forest restoration requires some level of continued maintenance to ensure success. Additional studies are needed to determine optimal levels (intensity and frequency) of intervention.

Plant MOre Trees MissouriIn “Online Tree Planting Program Software Applications” (pp 12-15) Plan-It Geo Founder Ian Hanou shows how two community forestry groups—Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and Forest ReLeaf of Missouri—used Cloud-based applications to accomplish their tree planting goals. He also provides an accessible primer on these tools.

 

Onondaga Lake Park Tree Planting to Regenerate Canopy after EAB

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OCSWCD & CCE staff and volunteers planting bare-root trees.                                                                                                                              All photos courtesy OCSWCD

A community-based, volunteer tree-planting event was held on May 5th at Onondaga Lake Park in Liverpool, NY. This event was part of Onondaga County’s Ash Tree Management Strategy. Onondaga County and the Office of the Environment have contracted the Onondaga County Soil and Water Conservation District (OCSWCD) to implement the County’s comprehensive Ash Tree Management Strategy which can be viewed here.

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Energy-Saving Trees Program: PSEG Long Island Provided 1,000 Free Trees to Customers

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CCE-Nassau County Horticulture Assistant K.C. Alvey (left) helped with the distribution of free trees to PSEG customers and with giving them planting advice.

On April 30, 2016, PSEG Long Island, in partnership with New York State Urban Forestry Council and the Arbor Day Foundation, provided 1,000 of its customers with a free tree through the Energy-Saving Trees program. Designed to conserve energy through strategic planting, the program will help PSEG Long Island customers save up to 20 percent on their summer energy bills once the trees are fully grown, while also improving air quality and reducing storm water run-off for all residents across the company’s service territory.

“The Energy-Saving Trees program brings multiple benefits to Long Island, helping our customers save money on their energy bills and helping to improve the environment,” said Michael Voltz, Director of Energy Efficiency and Renewables, PSEG Long Island. “The program also helps our customers better understand how the right trees in the right location can reduce their utility bills and promote ongoing system reliability.”

PSEG Long Island customers reserved their free trees at www.arborday.org/pseglongisland, an online tool that helps customers estimate the annual energy savings that will result from planting trees in the most strategic location near their homes or businesses. All customers that participated will receive one tree and are expected to care for and plant them in the location provided by the online tool, taking into account utility wires and obstructions. The types of trees offered include the following: Black Tupelo, Eastern Redbud, Black Tupelo, Scarlet Oak, and American Linden.

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Fifth Grader Maheen Naqvi Creates “Un-Fir-Gettable” Arbor Day Poster

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Maheen Naqvi and family at last March’s DEC-hosted awards ceremony. 

The DEC’s Arbor Day celebration recognized the artwork of DEC’s children’s poster contest winner, Maheen Naqvi, 5th Grader from Dutch Lane Elementary School, Hicksville, Nassau County. The theme of this year’s children’s artwork was “New York’s Un-Fir-Gettable Forests.” Over 2,000 students participated in the poster contest event from schools across the state this year. Being chosen from among so many participants is a significant achievement! Congratulations to Maheen and family. You can see some past winning posters here.

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Maheen’s winning poster

 

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Winning fifth-grade artist Maheen Naqvi autographed bookmarks and posters for attendees of the Arbor Day awards. 

TreesCount! 2015: NYC’s Third Street-Tree Census

 

TreesCount! training
At TreesCount! 2015 orientation events, NYC Parks staff and their partners met with volunteer citizen scientists to talk about how the ongoing census helps the City, how citizen scientists can participate in the data collection, and how the census methodology works in the field.

by Charles Cochran, Street Tree Census Coordinator and Ben Greer, TreesCount!2015 Assistant Coordinator, NYC Parks and Recreation
~Infographic by Peter Tiso and Annie Weinmayr
~Photos Courtesy of NYC Parks

TreesCount! 2015 is the third decadal inventory of NYC’s street trees. This is the first tree census to use volunteer citizen scientists to be the primary data collectors. Individuals who have mapped went through a full training process with NYC Parks Census staff, mapped in “events” with other volunteers or mapped independently. Community partners ranging from environmental non-profits, business improvement districts, youth groups and community boards have also played a key role in training and engaging volunteers to map their neighborhoods. Volunteers have mapped 200,000 trees, 30% of the city, since May 2015.

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