Diverse perspectives and approaches to learning and knowing can strengthen our work in urban and community forestry. Indigenous and local knowledge is embedded in the concept of biocultural stewardship – an approach to working with communities recognizing that the stewardship of place is inseparable from the stewardship of people, and that cultural resources are as important as natural resources.
Town of Bedford Conservation Board Chair Simon Skolnik said, “A healthy swamp white oak can live for up to 300 years. That puts its old age into the 24th Century. To put that into context, that will be the century that Star Trek’s Captain Jean-Luc Picard takes the Starship Enterprise ‘Where no one has gone before.’ That expression, ‘where no one has gone before’ is a perfect segue into why we are calling this swamp white oak the ‘Generation Oak.’ Our generation, the adults standing here today, have planted it. We will nurture it. Water it. Watch out for any disease, and will prune and treat it. If it is to grow and flourish, it will need the help and care of the generations represented today by our children and our grandchildren, and then their children and their grandchildren, and then their children and grandchildren.”
The Town of Bedford in Westchester County was awarded a tree grant on September 23, 2020, from the New York State Urban Forestry Council under our program to celebrate those communities that have been a Tree City USA for at least 5 years, and to support their on-going community street tree and forestry programs.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos recently announced the start of DEC’s annual Arbor Day Original Artwork poster contest.
Each year, DEC’s Urban and Community Forestry Program commemorates Arbor Day with a poster contest that invites the public to submit original photos and artwork that celebrate the immeasurable value of trees-ecologically, environmentally, aesthetically, and socially.
The annual Original Artwork Arbor Day Poster Contest is sponsored by the New York State Arbor Day Committee, which includes DEC, the State Department of Agriculture and Markets, Empire State Forest Foundation, New York State Arborist Association, and International Paper Company. The winning artist’s artwork will be replicated as the 2021 New York State Original Artwork Arbor Day Poster.
Georgia Silvera Seamans is the co-founding director of Washington Square Park Eco Projects in Manhattan’s storied park. She is an urban forester, independent researcher, and writer. Georgia’s research has been published in Urban Forestry & Urban Greening and Journal of Arboriculture, and she blogs about urban nature at localecologist.org. Georgia holds degrees from Wesleyan University, the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, and UC Berkeley. Here’s a brief excerpt from her essay on Medium, “On the Risk and Rewards of Being Black in Nature.”
I first learned about the concept of “nearby nature” in graduate school. The term was coined by Rachel Kaplan and Stephan Kaplan in their 1989 book, The Experience of Nature. The Kaplans define this form of nature as a space that contains “one or more plants…that is proximal [and] it can be indoors or out-of-doors.” With this wide-open definition, there are arguably many subtypes of nearby nature. I’ve thought about nearby nature or neighborhood nature or next door nature especially in the context of cities because of my work in urban forestry and urban ecology.
Conducting my life almost entirely from my apartment in New York City beginning in mid-March of this year because of the pandemic brought home the importance of nature I could easily access, from my window, on a walk around my block, and when things felt less dire, in my local park. The pandemic and how much I craved nature were the catalysts for writing an essay about the benefits of nearby nature. But then the trauma of two stark incidences of racial violence in the outdoors made me pause my work. I didn’t feel that I could unconditionally tout the benefits of nearby nature, of spending time outdoors, when nature has been the setting for anti-black hate crimes. Read the full essay on Medium here.
Applications are now being accepted for the TD Green Space Grants program, a collaboration of TD Bank Group and the Arbor Day Foundation aimed at supporting vibrant, sustainable, and healthy North American cities through the strategic development and enhancement of green spaces and natural areas.
TD Green Space Grants will offer North American municipalities in support of creative programs and projects that use green infrastructure development, tree planting, forestry stewardship, and community green space expansion as a way to advance environmental and economic benefits toward a low-carbon economy. The 2021 theme for the program is, “Building Resilience: Green infrastructure solutions for communities disproportionally impacted by Covid-19. (Defining communities disproportionately impacted as: seniors, low-income families and individuals, Black, Indigenous and racialized communities, and individuals experiencing homelessness.)
To be eligible for a TD Green Space Grant, your project must take place within TD’s footprint in the United States or Canada, with priority being given to projects in areas that primarily serve low- to moderate-income residents or take place in underserved communities.
Photo and Text Courtesy of Beacon Recreation Director Mark Price
The Beacon Tree Committee, with the help of the Department of Public Works, planted trees in celebration of Fall and future shade at the South Ave Park Basketball Court on Friday, November 6.
Three specimen-size red maples (Acer rubrum) were planted for their fall color, shade, and year-round handsomeness. Red maple has the greatest north-south distribution of all tree species along the East Coast, ranging from eastern Canada south to Florida and west to east Texas. This popular ornamental tree grows 40-60 ft. in cultivation, occasionally reaching 100-120 ft. in the wild.
The City of Beacon wants to thank the NYS Urban Forestry Council and their Tree City USA Reward Grant program for the award of $1,000 in funding for our tree planting project.
Super video from North Tonawanda about their recent planting event aided by a Tree City USA Reward Grant from our Council. Starting at the 3:02 mark you get to see the planting in action.
Director at North Tonawanda Department of Youth, Recreation, Parks & Seniors Alex Domaradzki says, “Special thanks to The New York State Urban Forestry Council for awarding the grant, and for Mayor Art Pappas, Alderman Bob Pecoraro, Derek Anthony, Mike Lorenc, Sam McCabe, and Lily Domaradzki for helping with the plantings!”
Here’s an opportunity to use community forestry best management practices as a way to reduce disaster impacts and mitigate climate change. To build resilience!
The National League of Cities 2021 Leadership in Community Resilience program is now accepting proposals from cities seeking additional funding for resilience-related projects. Each city selected for the 2021 cohort will receive $10,000 in financial support, and customized support from both NLC and the Resilient Cities Network (formerly 100RC). Apply today! The deadline for applications is December 23th, 2020. The announcement says, “We know how cumbersome and time consuming applications and proposal writing can be, so we purposely designed this one to be short and straightforward.”
Cities and towns with a population of 5,000 or more are encouraged to apply.
Lead applicant must be a municipal government, represented by a department head, other city staff, or elected official (mayor, council member, commissioner, etc.).
Local nonprofits and community-based organizations may apply in partnership with a city.
A Steadfast Path: My Urban Forestry and USDA Forest Service Journey
By Beattra Wilson, Photos Courtesy of the Author
Beattra Wilson began her career with the USDA Forest Service in 2002 in Atlanta as an urban forestry trainee; she is now the Forest Service Assistant Director of Cooperative Forestry and National Lead for Urban and Community Forestry. We asked Beattra to share some of her educational and career trajectory and what excites her about her work. Here she is in her own words.
I grew up surrounded by pine forests in a small town in Louisiana called Oakdale. I was introduced to agriculture education and career opportunities beginning in fourth grade through my involvement with 4-H. I competed at the parish and statewide fairs in the 4-H Sew with Cotton and Public Speaking contests.
Those 4-H experiences helped propel me to hold leadership roles in high school. I also had a pivotal experience at a summer agricultural camp at Southern University and A&M College, a historically black college and university (HBCU) system, where I learned in depth about urban forestry and other agriculture professions. (This summer agriculture institute continues to serve 40-50 students each summer, and the Forest Service is a supporting partner.)
As I was looking into college degree programs, based on my test scores and GPA I was recruited by two colleges for urban forestry and agriculture economics and five colleges for engineering. Ultimately, I chose to study urban forestry because it seemed like a perfect merger of my deep connection to agriculture along with my desire to have a career that afforded me the opportunity to live in a big city.
Council Board Member and Board Certified Master Arborist Glenn Gentzke is well regarded for his ISA Certified Arborist Training Course. This iteration in January 2021 can be taken in person or on Zoom.
Welcome to the New York State Urban Forestry Council Website