Andrea Nieves is the NYSDEC Environmental Education Assistant in the Urban Forestry program, covering the needs of the Trees for Tribs program as well.
I was born in Charlotte, North Carolina during the hottest summer on record at the time. When I was four, my parents and I moved to Hyde Park, New York—and I’ve been cold ever since. Nevertheless, despite having to always wear layers (even in summer), I’m glad to have grown up in the beautiful Hudson Valley, and not far from the Catskill Mountains.
There was a field near my house growing up that the neighborhood kids had cleverly named “The Field.” It is a very special place with several landmarks, namely “The Tree” and “The Woods.” I tried to spend as much time as possible there, where my friends and I would make up dance routines, catch pretend Pokémon, swing on a makeshift rope swing, and explore.
In my junior year in high school, the year when you’re somehow expected to know what you want to do with the rest of your life (as least so far as to choose a college major), I remembered exploring The Woods, climbing on logs, and exploring the tiny streams. I remembered the confident feeling that I got from knowing where I was, becoming familiar with the forest and recognizing certain features as landmarks: a bent tree, a mossy rock. I decided to major in Biology, and I focused on environmental research.
I grew up in Pittsford, outside of Rochester. I was definitely interested in nature from an early age, because my house was in the woods. I spent a lot of time outside catching frogs and snakes and playing in the dirt. By 4th grade, I’d decided I wanted to be a herpetologist and then a marine biologist.
I went to SUNY Oswego for a Zoology degree because of my love of nature and animals and initial plans to be a zookeeper. After working for a few years, I returned to school at the University of Albany to get a master’s in Biodiversity Conservation and Policy in order to return to biology as a career field. My thesis was on landowner knowledge and opinions of invasive species, inspired by my participation in the Capital Mohawk PRISM.
NYSDEC Urban and Community Forestry Program Coordinator Gloria Van Duyne posted her UCF Round 15 Grant Workshop Power Point Presentation on DEC’s website for the benefit of anyone who can’t make a workshop in person or simply wants to revisit the content.
Funding Supports Invasive Species Rapid Response and Control, Research, Lake Management Planning, and Aquatic Invasive Species Spread Prevention Programs.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced more than $2.8 million in grants have been awarded to 42 projects that will reduce the negative impacts of invasive species through control or removal activities, research, and spread prevention. These grants are part of the State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Invasive Species Grant Program and are funded by the State’s Environmental Protection Fund.
Across the state, DEC is using science to determine what actions will have the greatest impact in controlling invasive species. Awarded projects are spread across four categories:
The Village of Massena (pop. ~10,500) is located in Saint Lawrence County, just south of the Saint Lawrence River. Massena Utility CEO Andy McMahon coordinated the Village of Massena’s effort to secure an EPF grant to fund a tree inventory and tree management plan, both conducted by ArborPro.
What was the scope and nature of the work you were applying for?
Andy McMahon: The Village of Massena and Massena Electric collectively applied for a UCF grant. The UCF grant was to provide a tree inventory of the community and part of the town as well as a strategic plan for all areas surveyed. In the case of both the Village and electric utility, we are small and well-intentioned but not necessarily well versed in trees and tree care. This grant allowed for an arborist to come in and do an assessment of the types of trees we have in our public spaces and ROWs. The arborist gave us this inventory snapshot of our tree population as well as a strategic plan for what to do next.
Through EPF grants, the community of Akwesasne and the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe Forestry Resources Department performed a tree inventory and created the 2018 Akwesasne Community Forest Management Plan. The Plan presents the tree inventory data and an i-Tree Eco analysis of that data, and it provides direction for the stewards of the community forest in the southern portion of Akwesasne, where the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe lives. Southern Akwesasne covers approximately 10,000 acres, with about 3,000 acres in the urban interface.
Les Benedict is Assistant Director of the Environment Division of the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe and is the point person for the grants with NYSDEC. He spoke with us about aspects of the grant application and implementation processes and offers some suggestions for future applicants.
This Q&A is with Kingston Assistant Planner Kyla DeDea, one of the grant writers for Kingston’s successful EPF Round 13 grant application.
What was the work Kingston needed grant money for?
Kyla DeDea: The City of Kingston applied to hire a professional tree service to conduct a street tree and parkland inventory. The inventory included trees within the street rights-of-way and improved areas of Kingston’s Parks. The inventory also included identification of existing stumps to be removed and identified planting sites for future tree installations. We felt that adding these additional items to the inventory was important to assist in making informed decisions on where to plant new trees.
After being awarded and receiving quotes for the inventories, we were able to utilize the remaining funds to complete a Tree Management Plan. Both the inventories (July 2018) and the management plan (Sept 2018) were done by ArborPro. This was a great benefit to be able to complete both plans under the same grant. It put the City of Kingston in the position to be able to apply for funds to do much needed tree maintenance.
Round 15 of the Environmental Protection Fund grants for urban forestry related activities will open later in 2019. Here on the blog, we continue to showcase work that emerged from successful grants and give advice to future applicants from the folks behind those successful grants.
Prospect Park contains Brooklyn’s largest indigenous forest and sustains more than 10 million visits a year. Its 536 acres include woodland, lawn, wetlands, lake, meadow, zoo, ice rink, athletic fields, and more. It’s managed by the Prospect Park Alliance in collaboration with NYC Parks. Prospect Park Alliance Director of Landscape Management John Jordan had several key roles to play in the preparation of the Alliance’s grant application for Environmental Protect Fund monies, grants that are managed and allocated by NYSDEC.
The Council now has 33 professional Urban Forest Inventories/Mgmt Plans from around New York State collected for your perusal. Most of the inventories/plans were funded by grants from the Environmental Protection Fund (aka cost-share grants), with applications evaluated by NYSDEC staff. This compendium of Plans could be a very helpful resource under any circumstances but especially as you think about your community’s grant application for EPF grants Round 15 later this year.
According to grants administrator and DEC Environmental Program Specialist Michelle Higgins, under Round 14, there were 29 municipalities or not-for-profit (NFP) groups who received funding for Tree Inventory/Community Forestry Management Plans, 8 munis or NFPs who received Tree Maintenance grants, 13 munis or NFPS who received grants for Tree Planting, and 2 Cornell Cooperative Extension agencies (Dutchess and Nassau Counties) who received grants for Education Programming.
Urban Forest Inventories, Management Plans, and Reports:
Akwesasne Community Forest
Friends of Mt Hope Cemetery
NYC by Neighborhood
Ogdensburg, Part I
Ogdensburg, Part II
Prospect Park, Brooklyn
Red Hook, Town
Red Hook, Village
Rye’s Crawford Park
Washington DC (performed by Cornell UHI Team)