I am a full-time graduate student in the SUNY ESF Landscape Architecture Department, but I am currently working as a summer aide within the City of Syracuse Urban Forestry Department. Most of my job entails working out in the field performing inspections and inventory and writing up pruning
prescriptions for both mature and newly planted trees.
The Skidmore ReLeaf conference was the first of its kind that I have attended. I never knew how tightly knit the NYS urban forestry community was. Everyone was very supportive and curious of the work others have done, and there was a constant level of excitement present in all of the interactions I witnessed.
The presentations were all very interesting and many of them demonstrated the effectiveness of various tools and practices within the profession. For example, I learned that vegetation management through the use of a fire regime has been effective and even approved as a management practice in designated places within an area as densely populated as the Albany-Colonie region. Specific examples like this can put a positive spin on the use of fire as a management technique and hopefully educate the greater public about the benefits that controlled burns have on our forest and urban forest ecosystems. —Kate Littlefield
This conference, as all past ReLeaf conferences, was exceptional. It was so well organized, packed with great educators, and set in a perfect venue. For me, in addition to expanding my education, it so much fun to be around so many tree lovers, since my friends and family just put up with all my tree talk.
I really liked the combination of classroom teaching and field education. In the “Tools of the Trade” workshop, we observed the actual usage of Level 2 inspection equipment, including how their findings are interpreted, and most importantly, how they are integrated in the total analysis of evaluating trees.
Neil Murphy’s presentation on water focusing on biology was a different angle that can be used to encourage people to recognize the value of trees in water management. It was exciting to see specific projects where trees are being used to filter, clean, and reduce storm water runoff.
I was happy to see examples of projects with suspended pavement. I have seen this technique working successfully overseas, and it seems to have a lot of promise for the urban environment.
There were so many excellent classes with lots of continuing education credits available that I was able to choose the best programs for my specific interests; although I would really have loved to go to everything. This was a wonderful opportunity to further my education in a serene setting with lots of like-minded people. My thanks to all the organizers and presenters. —NYC Parks Forester Julie Schondorf-Seghrouchni