Board Member Danielle Gift on ReLeaf 2018 & Her New Position

Council Board Member Danielle Gift with a Parrotia persica on the RIT campus. Photo by Michelle Sutton

Danielle Gift received a scholarship from the New York City/Region 2 ReLeaf Committee, of which she is an active member, to pay for ReLeaf registration and lodging. Get involved with your region’s ReLeaf Committee

Danielle Gift: 

“This year’s Annual New York ReLeaf Conference was one of my favorites to date! The Region 8 committee did a fantastic job of providing a great mix of workshops and field tours on a variety of topics, and all of the speakers were incredible engaging and knowledgeable.

At NYC Parks I’ve recently transitioned from Manager of Special Urban Forestry Projects to Tree Preservation Senior Project Manager. Although many of my special projects came with me to this new position, I now have a stronger focus on tree presentation, and this conference had something important and applicable in each session. It was exciting for me to see these workshops through a different lens—the tree preservation lens. With that in mind, there were three highlights for me: the Keynote on New York Tree Law, the picnic at Olmsted-designed Genesee Valley Park, and the Saturday Service Project, which focused on a Trees for Tribs restoration site in an area hit hard by Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). 

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ReLeaf 2018 at RIT, Part V: Learning from the Best

These are just some of the talented professionals who presented talks and workshops at ReLeaf 2018. You can see the full program here

NY Natural Heritage Program Ecologist Julie Lundgren served on the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid panel following the superb documentary about HWA: www.youtube.com/watch?v=AupnMjYaI0Q Photo by Michelle Sutton
Cornell Extension Associate Mark Whitmore (left) features prominently in the HWA documentary and served on the panel afterwards. Here, he is introducing silver flies that predate on HWA to hemlocks with students Ky Barnett and Tracy Yardley. Photo Cornell Chronicle
Hilary Mosher is the Finger Lakes Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISM) Program Coordinator. She served on the HWA panel with Julie Lundgren and Mark Whitmore.

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ReLeaf 2018 at RIT, Part IV: Networking & Advocacy

Council President Karen Emmerich (at left) has nurtured the spirit of advocacy required in these times to keep urban and community forestry properly funded. Here, conferees send postcards to legislators about why UCF funding is so vital. All photos by Michelle Sutton
ReLeafers had fabulous weather for their tour of Rochester’s iconic Mount Hope Cemetery.
The Council Members Reception on Thursday evening came with complimentary drinks and catered eats.

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ReLeaf 2018 at RIT, Part III: Sustainability Tour

RIT Sustainability Initiatives Manager Harshita Sood (far right, front) gave a phenomenal tour of the campus through the lens of sustainability. Here, the tour group just passed through the heart of the quad, underlain with geothermal tech. The campus has very popular low-tech programs, too, like “Goodbye, Good Buy,” in which incoming students can inexpensively purchase furniture and other items left behind by the previous spring’s graduating students. All photos by Michelle Sutton
Welcome to RIT’s Golisano Institute for Sustainability, home to biofuels, fuel cells, and smart building test beds; NanoPower and sustainable manufacturing labs; the Center for Remanufacturing and Resource Recovery; and much, much more. rit.edu/gis

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ReLeaf 2018 at RIT, Part I: Faces of NYS Urban & Community Forestry

Onondaga Earth Corps folks at the Friday night picnic. OEC Director and new Council Board Member Greg Michel is at front left. All photos by Michelle Sutton
NYC Parks Foresters Leanna Kirschen (left) and Ariane Trani
Claire and Ryan Burkum of Burkum Plant Health and Tree Care attended ReLeaf for the first time. Claire is a biologist and pest diagnostician and Ryan is a certified arborist.

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Rochester ReLeaf: RIT, Our Extraordinary Campus Host

Our campus host for Rochester ReLeaf 2018 is the world-renowned Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). RIT is a privately endowed, coeducational university with nine colleges emphasizing career education and experiential learning.

  • RIT was founded in 1829! How is this possible, you say? You can read the history here.
  • The RIT campus occupies 1,300 acres in suburban Rochester, which is the third-largest city in New York State. RIT also has international locations in China, Croatia, Dubai, and Kosovo.
  • The student body consists of approximately 15,700 undergraduate and 3,250 graduate students. Students from across the United States and from over 100 countries attend RIT. Nearly 3,500 students from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds are enrolled on the main campus along with more than 2,700 international students. An additional 2,200 students are enrolled at RIT’s international locations.
  • Women were welcomed at RIT decades before other colleges even considered co-education.
  • RIT is the third largest producer of undergraduate STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) degrees among all private universities in the nation.
  • The Institute’s programs ranking in the top 10 nationally are in the following areas: computing security, film and animation, fine arts (glass, metals and jewelry design), industrial design, online MBA, photography, and video game design.
  • RIT has award-winning programs in a host of uncommon disciplines: sustainability, medical illustration, microelectronic engineering, packaging science, museum studies, American sign language/English interpretation, and diagnostic medical sonography.
  • RIT is home to the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID), the world’s first and largest technological college for students who are deaf or hard of hearing. President Lyndon Johnson and Congress established NTID in 1968.
  • One of the world’s greenest universities, RIT has two LEED platinum buildings and several LEED gold level buildings. RIT is home to the Golisano Institute for Sustainability and a massive 2-megawatt, 6.5-acre solar energy farm—among the largest for any New York college.

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Rochester ReLeaf Keynote: New York Tree Law

The Friday morning keynote address for Rochester ReLeaf will be given by Laura E. Ayers, Esq., who specializes in property matters all over the State. One of her firm’s specialties is adjoining landowner disputes that involve tree ownership and maintenance. In this hour keynote, Laura will present on interesting facets of New York Tree Law pertinent to those of us involved in urban and community forestry.

Rochester ReLeaf Beckons: Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Documentary Screening & Discussion

On Thursday afternoon (July 26) of the Council’s ReLeaf Conference in Rochester, panelists Cornell Extension Associate Mark Whitmore, NYS Parks Natural Heritage Program’s Julie Lundgren, and Finger Lakes Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISM) Coordinator Hillary Mosher will be screening “The Hemlock Woolly Adelgid: A Film About the Loss of an Ecosystem.”

This award-winning, 23-minute film is an educational visual resource to engage, raise awareness, and create momentum on this destructive forest pest and invasive species in general. A panel discussion will follow the film.

Rochester ReLeaf Beckons: New York’s First EcoDistrict

One of ReLeaf 2018’s (July 26-28 in Rochester) Saturday morning workshops is “EcoDistricts: Resilient and Sustainable Cities from the Neighborhood Up.” Rochester’s High Falls neighborhood is the site of the first registered EcoDistrict in the State of New York. The international EcoDistricts organization provides the protocol for EcoDistricts. Leadership for the EcoDistrict at High Falls is provided within Rochester-based nonprofit, Greentopia, which is also working to develop a High Line-style Garden Aerial around the Genesee River Gorge. EcoDistrict Coordinator Rachel Walsh will be presenting on the exciting new EcoDistrict at High Falls.

Values of the EcoDistrict: 

  • Neighborhoods and districts are the building blocks of sustainable cities.
  • Everybody – regardless of class, race, age, religion, gender identity, or sexual orientation – deserves to live in a healthy, safe, connected and vibrant neighborhoods.
  • Economic opportunity, community well-being, and ecological health are fundamental ingredients for sustainable neighborhoods and cities.
  • Neighborhood sustainability requires a new model for action – rooted in collaboration and greater inclusion – to co-create innovative district-scale projects.
  • Social equity, inclusion, and democracy are essential to sustainable neighborhood development.