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.

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i-Tree Planting Calculator Analysis of Buffalo’s Fall 2018 Tree Plantings

 

The planting sites used in Buffalo’s i-Tree Planting Analysis project as part of City Forester Ross Hassinger’s participation in the first-ever i-Tree Online Academy.

As part of the first i-Tree Online Academy, participants were asked to complete a comprehensive final capstone project that demonstrated their ability to utilize the i-Tree tools to analyze trees in their community or to engage community residents in examining the greenspace in their city or town. Projects were developed by each student and they were responsible to carry out all aspects of the design, planning, and implementation of each program.

Buffalo City Forester Ross Hassinger’s project involved the City’s 2018 street tree planting. In the fall season (Oct 15-Dec 31) of 2018, the city of Buffalo put out bids for a local licensed landscape company to plant 56 street trees in the City in various locations as shown in the map above. This is Ross’s report created after conducting his i-Tree Online Academy capstone project.

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Green Teens Club Produces Phenomenal Tree ID Guide

The Council received an email from Tyler of Green Teens Club, a national club creating online green resources and doing acts of service in communities. “We are made up of high school student volunteers, but parents and siblings often join in to help out on our projects,” Tyler says. “Teens from anywhere in the country can join Green Teens. We aren’t affiliated with any one school, but I believe some schools honor our volunteer hours for service hour requirement credit. We are funded by contributions from the families of volunteers.”

Green Teens created a superb, scientifically sound, and visually snappy Tree Identification Guide. You could not ask for a better introduction to Tree ID principles and terminology.

Green Teens are affiliated with Tree Musketeers, whose website has a series of guides in the same pleasing format on subjects ranging from birdwatching to photosynthesis to getting a forestry degree online.

Callery Pear Tree Buy-Back Event: A Template from Missouri

Like so many regions in New York, nearly every corner of Missouri has been hit hard with the invasive spread of Callery pear (Pyrus calleryana spp.). Callery pears are self-sterile, but it turns out they readily cross-pollinate with other cultivars. Also, the rootstock upon which a Bradford pear is grafted will sometimes sprout, eventually yielding flowers and viable pollen.

Fortunately, Missourians are often out in front with innovative approaches to urban forestry and invasive plant control. Here’s how they reduced the number of Callery pears and increased the use of native, non-invasive trees. Special thanks to Tina Casagrand of the Missouri Invasive Plant Task Force (MoIP) for her help with this post. 

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Council Member Profile: Arborist & Educator Berna Ticonchuk

Berna in front of a Parrotia persica at the 2019 NY ReLeaf Conference in Rochester.

Arborist Berna Ticonchuk coordinates the Horticulture program at Finger Lakes Community College (FLCC) and teaches the Introduction to Horticulture, Tree Culture and Maintenance, Plant Propagation, and Certified Applicator Training courses. 

Prior to coming to FLCC in 2002, Berna had a 20-year career in public gardens in Rochester and Canandaigua. She brings a wealth of knowledge and professional connections to her FLCC students and to her service on the City of Canandaigua Tree Advisory Board and Sonnenberg Gardens Education Committee.  

 She says, “One of the strengths of our FLCC program is the deep and longstanding connection we have to green industry professionals around the State who we can put students in contact with. That professional networking, along with keeping up with urban forestry research and practice, are the main reasons I go to the ReLeaf Conference and to regional ReLeaf events.”

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Urban Forest Adaptation to Climate Change: Key Tools and Resources

 At the 2019 NY ReLeaf Conference last July in Rochester, Dr. Leslie Brandt presented a fascinating talk about her work on urban forest adaptation to climate change, and she offered up powerful resources and tools to our community. Here’s a brief summary of those resources compiled by blog editor Michelle Sutton in consultation with Dr. Brandt.   

Background

The Climate Change Response Framework (forestadapation.org) is a collaborative, cross-boundary approach among scientists, managers, and landowners to incorporate climate change considerations into natural resource management.

The Framework’s partners are numerous and wide-ranging, including the Bureau of Indian Affairs, National Park Service, U.S.D.A. Forest Service, U.S. Geological Survey, and dozens of state and local governments, Native American tribes and tribal organizations, universities, and ecological and urban forest institutes and organizations.

The Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science (NIACS) works with partners to lead Framework activities across the Midwest and Northeast U.S. Within the Climate Change Response Framework, the Urban Forestry focus addresses urban forest vulnerability for cities and creates tools to help local managers adapt to the effects of climate change.

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ReLeaf 2019 in Pictures, Part III

Saturday’s keynote speaker, Andrew Revkin (pictured here with his partner, Lisa) brought an international perspective and images in his talk, “Forest Lessons in a Changing Climate.” Revkin is a celebrated environmentalist and musician who, fortunately for us, lives in the Hudson Valley. 
Davey Resource Group Urban Forester/Project Developer Sophia Rodbell serves on the Council Board and volunteered at ReLeaf registration.
Just a mile or so from Mount Saint Mary College is the lovingly designed and coneflower-filled national historic site of the storied Balmville Tree, a cottonwood (Populus deltoides) that was 316 years old when it became too hazardous to the public to stand.

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What is Buffalo Rain Check? A Pictorial Introduction

Students in a summer program test out the porosity of the porous pavement installed in the bike lane as part of Buffalo Rain Check’s Kenmore Avenue Green Streets Project.

In addition to public works departments, many cities find a driving force for urban forestry is the water and sewer agencies who are responsible for managing stormwater. Buffalo Sewer is one such entity who is fighting for more tree canopy cover throughout the City of Buffalo through its Rain Check program. In partnership with residents, businesses, developers, and local institutions, Buffalo Sewer is finding myriad ways to capture and absorb water in the City and its spaces, with environmental justice and equity as a main priority.

Here’s a pictorial highlighting some of the projects. You can also take a virtual tour of eight ambitious green infrastructure projects in Buffalo through the Rain Check site.

Located at the foot of West Ferry Street on the scenic Niagara River, Broderick Park is steeped in history, most notably as a major terminus of the Underground Railroad between the United States and Canada. The park pays tribute to the people who crossed the water from that point to freedom in Canada and is listed as a designated Network to Freedom site by the U.S. National Parks Service, a national network of historic places and educational or interpretive programs associated with the Underground Railroad. Recent renovations to the park include new entrance features, a small performance amphitheater, a waterfront promenade, new shelters, and revised parking facilities—all with the intent to uplift the space as a public memorial to the incredible local history of the Underground Railroad. The City of Buffalo recently invested over $1 million in a range of renovations to the park, including updated parking facilities with green infrastructure elements. By using porous pavement in the parking areas, the pavement surface keeps over 124,000 gallons of stormwater from entering sewers in a typical rainfall event, protecting local water quality. The porous pavement looks just like regular asphalt but allows water to drain through the paved surface into a recharge bed and infiltrate into the soils below the pavement.

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Report on Forested Natural Areas in American Cities

In March 2019, the Natural Areas Conservancy, the Trust for Public Land, and Yale School for Forestry and Environmental Studies released “Untapped Common Ground: The Care of Forested Natural Areas in American Cities.” This report is based on a survey of 125 organizations in 110 cities and how they manage their forests.

There’s a lot more nature in cities than people think! Urban natural areas represent 1.7 million acres but often don’t receive the investment, recognition, or care they deserve.

Read the full report.

Urban forested natural areas can be a tool to achieve cities’ resiliency, climate change, and public health goals. More Americans are moving into cities, and for many, these places represent their best access to nature. The time to invest in urban nature is now.

What’s Next?

The Natural Areas Conservancy and its partners will convene representatives from a select number of cities from across the country for workshops in fall 2019. Next year, they’ll publish case studies on how cities manage their forest natural areas. Check this page for updates on the project.

What are Urban Forested Natural Areas?

The term “urban forest” refers to all trees within a city including street trees, landscaped trees, private property, and forested natural areas. Forested natural areas are distinct from street and park trees in their size, biodiversity, and how they’re managed. They are important native habitats, and are the “woods” in cities.

 

Cornell Opens New Sustainable Landscapes Trail

Students in Nina Bassuk and Peter Trowbridge’s Creating the Urban Eden class, planting the bioswale in the Peterson parking lot, the site of the recent Cornell Sustainable Landscapes Trail opening ceremony. Photo from Cornell Horticulture blog (https://blogs.cornell.edu/hort)

With excerpts from Cornell Chronicle and the CU Sustainable Landscapes Trail web page

On October 5th, 2018, Nina Bassuk led a tour of the new Sustainable Landscapes Trail on the Cornell campus after an opening ceremony in which, instead of ribbon-cutting, officials celebrated with a “downpour” of water onto the permeable asphalt of the Peterson parking lot, which is underlain by CU-Structural Soil and also features a large bioswale.

A number of the 20 sites along the Trail are associated with the Urban Horticulture Institute/Nina Bassuk, including chinkapin oaks (Quercus muehlenbergii) in CU Soil outside Stocking Hall, goldenrain trees (Koelreuteria paniculata) and silver lindens (Tilia tomentosa) in CU Soil outside Weill Hall, the Tower Road Bioswale, the Ag Quad Biodetention Basins, and the Mann Library Entrance SITES Accredited Garden. Many of these projects involved Nina Bassuk and Peter Trowbridge “Creating the Urban Eden” students in their implementation. For instance, the creation of the Rice Hall Bioswale involved students using the research-based “Scoop and Dump” technique described here

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