Lauryn’s Watering in Watertown: A Key Role in a Late Summer Bur Oak Transplanting

photos courtesy Mike DeMarco

Coming out of the end of my sophomore year at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, I was hoping for an internship for the summer, or at least a job. Unfortunately, both of the internships I had lined up fell through due to COVID-19. Luckily, however, I came across the opportunity to be the urban forestry assistant for the City of Watertown.

My job this summer was to water and prune the young trees and also water the older ash trees that had been given root treatments for emerald ash borer. My position was a hybrid, housed between the Office of Planning and Community Development (OPCD) and the Department of Public Works (DPW), which was really unique and made my summer all that more interesting. For instance, I realized how important the collaboration between the two was when we had to do an emergency tree transplanting in a construction site in the City.

The DPW was in the process of putting in a new sidewalk that was very close to an existing bur oak tree (Quercus macrocarpa). The DPW could have just taken the tree out or pretended it wasn’t there and severely damaged its root system, but instead they called the OPCD; they wanted to do a tree relocation and put the bur oak in place of a tree that had died about 15 feet away.

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HWS Junior Lauryn Tabolt’s Summer with Watertown’s Trees ūüĆ≥

Meet Lauryn Tabolt, a Hobart & William Smith junior who worked in the Watertown Planning Department this summer on tree care with Planning & Community Development Director Mike Lumbis and Planner (and Council Board Member) Mike DeMarco, who wrote this about Lauryn’s vital work during a hot, dry summer:

“Lauryn has been working hard to protect young trees from succumbing to drought stress by watering them on weekly and rotational cycles. Lauryn cared for and supported over 300 young trees planted over the past few years as well as individual larger trees as needed. She played a key role in the City‚Äôs 2020 Ash Tree Treatment Project by watering all 58 recently treated ash trees which assisted uptake of chemical pesticide throughout the tree … even during a drought!

An emergency late season tree transplant provided the opportunity for Lauryn to take part in the transplanting procedure as well as having own her spot on the construction site to water daily to ensure the survival of ‚ÄúOakey‚ÄĚ (named by Lauryn), the transplanted bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa).”

You can see a video series of Lauryn in her words on the NYSUFC YouTube Channel and on our Instagram page. ūüĆ≥


DEC Urban Forestry Series for Tree Check Month

This month NYSDEC Urban & Community Forestry Partnerships Coordinator Christina McLaughlin is filming UCF Program Technical Coordinator Dan Gaidasz for several Tree Check Month videos through FB Live. But you can watch them anytime! This video about Undoing the Damage Caused by Mulch Volcanos is available on the NYSDEC FB page as will be the next two videos, when Dan covers Tree Cavities and Managing Climbing Vines.

Bonus Nafisa Post: The Woodsmen Team at ESF Ranger School

Nafisa competing in the “Pulp Toss” event at a SUNY-ESF Woodsmen Team home meet in the Town of Tully.
From Nafisa Tabassum

You might wonder how it’s possible to become involved in any extracurricular activity when you have a 21-22 credit course load and 8 hours of classes a day followed by homework for the rest of the evening. I wondered the same thing when I joined the SUNY ESF Woodsmen Team during the first semester of Ranger School.¬†

We practiced two days a week, usually right after dinner. At Ranger School everyone lives in the dorm and eats in the dorm at designated meal times. We would start out by setting up the site, just past the student parking lot. We hauled out equipment and often went with our coach to get logs of young white pine which we would debark and practice on. 

There were a number of events we practiced for: H-chop, crosscut saw, bow saw, cookie stack, and many others! Among my favorite events were H-chop, crosscut saw, and cookie stack. We competed almost every weekend for most of the fall semester. Because of COVID-19, however, all meets and practices for the spring semester were cancelled.

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Nafisa’s Onondaga Earth Corps Chronicles 4

Nafisa Tabassum wraps up her time with Onondaga Earth Corps.

I was very conflicted to end my time at Onondaga Earth Corps (OEC), but moving forward was the right decision for me. My last working for OEC … sometimes when it is a last week of a job or an experience, it can go by in the blink an eye and leave you breathless wondering, where did the time go? Or, it can go on forever, dragging day by day through each of the motions until finally it’s over.

This week was not like either of those instances. It was not too fast or too slow; everything happened in its own time and pace. I spent the majority of the week pruning trees and getting caught in multiple much-needed scattered thunderstorms.

My last day had to have been the most bittersweet. OEC Founder Eli MacDonald made the most beautiful and delicious cheesecake–it was an honor to get to try this specialty of his! I spent half the day at the Rahma Edible Forest Snack Garden, which is part of the Rahma Health Clinic in Syracuase. This clinic provides free healthcare services offered by doctors who volunteer, often on weekends.

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Chestnut Chats from The American Chestnut Foundation

From The American Chestnut Foundation (TACF)

Chestnut Chat: American Chestnut Restoration and Reintroduction Plantings
Friday, August 7 at 11:30AM (EDT) 

[Watch videos from the full archives of Chestnut Chats, from a Virtual Pollination Workshop to Using Drones to Benefit Chestnut Restoration to a Conversation with Chuck Leavell, Keyboardist and Chestnut Enthusiast.]

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Urban Forestry & COVID Forums

Urban Forestry and Covid in 2020 Forum from Chicago Region Trees Initiative
August 17, 1-3 p.m.

Learn how other community forestry programs are being affected by and overcoming challenges of Covid-19. You’ll hear about resources and opportunites to make the best of a tough year, inlcuding information of advocacy, grants, and creative solutions. ISA CEUs pending. Forum is free and open to all, but registration is required.

A second webinar (Urban Forestry and Covid in 2021) on planning ahead for stretching budgets and expanding resources in 2021 will be held on December 3, 1-3 p.m. More details to come.

Register in advance for this meeting here. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Council Offers New “Tree City USA Reward Grant”

Michelle Sutton

Deadline to Apply is 09/14/20

The NYS Urban Forestry Council is pleased to announce grants for communities to plant large specimen trees or a grove of trees in a prominent location within the community. Full Details, Application, and Contact Info

Communities in New York State that have been a Tree City USA for at least the past five years can apply for up to $1,000. Funding has been provided by the New York State Urban Forestry Council.

Grant Goals

The intent of this grant is to encourage municipalities to sustain their community forestry program and maintain their status as a Tree City USA Community through a celebratory tree planting.

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Urban Canopy Can Be a Matter of Life or Death

An article by USDA Forest Service research scientists Michelle Kondo and colleagues in the journal Lancet Planetary Health created a global buzz in reporting results of a new citywide health impact assessment of achieving a 30% canopy cover goal in the City of Philadelphia. If done at a neighborhood scale it would cut heat-related illness and reduce premature deaths by 403 residents, including 244 in areas of lower socioeconomic status (95% confidence).

The study conclusion is that urban greening programs can be a means to improve public health, decrease health inequalities, and promote environmental justice. To quickly see canopy cover rates and socio-economic status in your community, visit i-Tree Landscape and enter your zip code or community name, or better yet, complete your own Urban Tree Canopy Assessment.