2020 Quick Start Grants Info & Application

The New York State Urban Forestry Council is pleased to announce available funding for communities to hold a 2020 Arbor Day tree planting event and to establish a community-based forestry program. Many blog posts have appeared here about past recipients of this grant and how they used their Quick Start (also known as Arbor Day) grant funds.

Communities (and not-for-profits that work with communities) can apply for up to $1,000. Funding has been provided by the USDA Forest Service. Applications are due by 5 p.m. on February 14, 2020. Full grant information and application can be found here.

The intent of this grant is to help municipalities establish a community forestry program and move toward becoming a Tree City USA community. The Arbor Day Foundation prepared the following infographic about Tree City USA in New York.

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DEC Urban Forestry’s Andrea Nieves: Get to Know Her!

As an undergrad, Andrea Nieves worked on aquatic research projects at Hartwick College’s Pine Lake Environmental Campus in Oneonta, NY.

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.

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Scholarships for Council Members for SMA, Partners, MFI

Deadlines extended!!


One of the benefits of being a Council member is being eligible for these conference and training scholarships. Please use the brief scholarship application form to apply to any of these:

  •  Society of Municipal Arborists 55th Annual International Conference and Trade Show – $199 scholarships available, deadline Oct 18. For urban forestry professionals and those in allied fields like park management, landscape architecture, and city planning.
  • 2019 Partners in Community Forestry Conference – $399 scholarships available, deadline Oct 18. “Partners” is THE conference for staff and volunteers in the nonprofit sphere of community forestry, but is also of interest to a wide range of professionals.
  •  $1,000 scholarship for MFI 2020, deadline October 31. The Municipal Forestry Institute is a weeklong training in leadership skills for municipal foresters and anyone looking to more effectively navigate within a governmental space, including contractors who work with munis.

DEC Urban & Community Forestry’s Christina McLaughlin–Get to Know Her!

NYSDEC Urban and Community Forestry Volunteer Coordinator Christina McLaughlin travels widely. Last spring, she fed lorikeets at the San Diego Safari Park.

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.

Christina with husband Mark Lanzafame at a glacial lagoon in Iceland.

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ReLeaf 2019 in Pictures: Part I

Thank you, NYSDEC staff and Region 3 ReLeaf volunteers, for your hard work putting together a superb ReLeaf Conference.

Recent SUNY ESF grads Amandy Cruty (left) and Nafisa Tabassum are working as urban forestry technicians this summer with Syracuse City Arborist Steve Harris. They attended ReLeaf 2019 in the Hudson Valley, at Mount Saint Mary College.
Council Executive Secretary Liana Gooding (far right) addresses the Council Board just before the start of the conference. On average, 34 members serve on the Board and come from all nine DEC Regions of New York State.
SUNY ESF alum Lew Cutler came from Syracuse and retired doctor Kathy Gaffney came from Long Island to attend ReLeaf 2019. The conference theme was “Urban Forestry in a Rapidly Changing World,” referring in large part to the intersections of urban forestry and climate change.
Gloria Van Duyne is the NYSDEC Urban and Community Forestry Program Coordinator and facilitated and presented at ReLeaf 2019. She and her team worked with Region 3 volunteers to put on the conference.

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Celebrating Brian Skinner August 3 at 11 a.m. in Ithaca

Dear Council Members & Friends,

There will be a celebratory gathering and tree dedication on Saturday August 3rd, 2019 at 11 a.m. in the F.R. Newman Arboretum at Cornell to remember Brian Skinner. His family will be present and this will be a chance to share funny and cherished stories about Brian.
Brian chose his own memorial tree, a ‘Bonfire’ sugar maple. It’s located in the maple section of the Newman Arboretum. Please see the map below and note where the little yellow and white icon is –that’s where the gathering will take place.
For questions please contact Lori at  lori.brockelbank@davey.com
You can get information about the Arboretum, which is part of Cornell Botanic Gardens, at cornellbotanicgardens.org.

Village of Cassadaga & Lily Dale Assembly’s First Arbor Day Celebration

Cassadaga and Lily Dale residents planting a ‘Red Sunset’ red maple (Acer rubrum) at Cassadaga ball fields. Cassadaga and Lily Dale are located about an hour southwest of Buffalo.

An Arbor Day grant of $1000 and instruction from Council Board Member Lori Brockelbank helped the Village of Cassadaga (pop. ~610) and Assembly of Lily Dale (pop. ~275) celebrate their first Arbor Day on Saturday May 18, 2019.

The family-friendly event started at the Cassadaga Library with crafts for kids, free saplings, refreshments, and Lori’s presentation. Among other things, she covered the benefits of trees; Right Plant, Right Place; tree planting and aftercare; and dealing with deer, beaver, and salt. She also talked about job opportunities in the urban forestry field, which piqued the interest of Cassadaga Job Corps youth. The group then headed out to plant trees.

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David Moore’s Advice to Budding Urban Foresters

David guest speaking for an urban forestry class at SUNY-ESF (College of Environmental Science & Forestry).

Seven Considerations for Budding Urban Foresters  

By David Moore, Senior Tree Supervisor, City of Oakland, California
Photos Courtesy David Moore

NYSUFC Past President (2015-2017) David Moore, 34, is the recipient of the 2019 Arbor Day Foundation Trailblazer Award, which recognizes outstanding achievement in arboriculture and/or urban forestry by professionals under 35. After working for ten years in New York City for New York Restoration Project and then for NYC Parks, David is now the Senior Tree Supervisor for Oakland, CA in their Public Works Department. Within his first year there, David secured a million-dollar grant for a citywide tree inventory and 50-year urban forestry master plan for Oakland. Receiving the Trailblazer Award sparked in David a period of reflection about his career and mentors thus far. Here, he offers seven pieces of counsel for young or new city forester colleagues.     

Find or develop your niche by putting yourself at the intersection of two different specialties. 

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USFS Climate Change Specialist Leslie Brandt Coming to ReLeaf 2019

We are most fortunate to have USFS Climate Change Specialist Dr. Leslie Brandt as the 2019 ReLeaf Conference Friday morning plenary speaker and leader of a workshop later that morning.

In the plenary she will discuss “Assessing Climate Change Vulnerability of Urban Forest and Natural Ecosystems in the Mid-Atlantic Region” and in the workshop, she zooms in on NY with “Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Strategies for New York’s Trees.”

To get background on Leslie’s work with her climate change cohorts, you can see a superb infographic here about the findings of the team studying the vulnerability of the tree species in the urban forests of greater Chicago. The full paper about this study is here.

The vulnerability case studies presented are most interesting. For example, find out why the Village of Riverside’s urban forest is Low-Moderately Vulnerable to climate change effects, while the City of Lake Forest is Moderately Vulnerable, while the Glencoe Park Distrist is Moderate to Highly Vulnerable. What can we do to make moderate to highly vulnerable urban forests in New York more resilient?

Renowned Climate Change Journalist Andrew Revkin Speaking at ReLeaf 2019

Andrew Revkin reported for The New York Times in 2003 from a research camp set up on sea ice drifting near the North Pole. Scientists erected the sign, then added “was” as currents were pushing the ice several miles a day. Photo by Peter West for the National Science Foundation. Photo in Public Domain

At ReLeaf 2019 (July 18-20), Saturday’s keynote speaker will be award-winning climate change journalist and Hudson Valley resident Andrew Revkin on “Forest Lessons in a Changing Climate.” The following bio for Andrew was originally published by ProPublica.

Andrew Revkin is the senior reporter for climate and related issues at ProPublica. He joined the newsroom in December 2016, after 21 years of writing for The New York Times, most recently through his Dot Earth blog for the Opinion section, and six years teaching at Pace University.

Revkin began writing on climate change in the 1980s. In the mid 2000s, he exposed political suppression of climate findings at NASA and editing of federal climate reports by political appointees with ties to the petroleum industry. He was the first Times reporter to file stories and photos from the sea ice around the North Pole.

Revkin has won most of the top awards in science journalism, along with a Guggenheim Fellowship, Columbia University’s John Chancellor Award for sustained journalistic excellence and an Investigative Reporters & Editors Award.

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