In February, the City of Syracuse Forestry Division released a draft Urban Forest Master Plan (UFMP), which provides a roadmap to a healthy, safe, and expanding tree canopy for the City. The Plan contains definable and measurable 5-year and 20-year goals.
One major goal is to plant 70,000 new trees in 20 years. To meet that goal, the City will recruit owners of public and private property, including cemeteries, apartments, schools, churches and single-family homes, to plant most of those trees. “A critical part of the initiative is to build on and expand partnerships to implement what is proposed in the Plan,” says Syracuse City Arborist and NYSUFC Vice President Steve Harris.
Steve Harris has been Syracuse City Arborist since 2010. He has served several terms on the Council Board and is now its Vice President. Steve is also active with the Society of Municipal Arborists, excelling in conference program planning.
Can you tell us about your educational trajectory? Steve Harris: When I was 9 or 10, my Dad gave me an atlas of the United States for my birthday. I studied it often and knew all the states and capitols before that was taught in school, which might be the reason I studied Urban Geography at Ohio State. In 1990, at the end of my senior year of college, one of my friends told me they’d enrolled in the Peace Corps. The idea of getting that kind of experience resonated with me, so I applied and was sent to The Gambia in West Africa to be a forest extension agent.
Upon my return to the States, I worked in an unrelated field for a couple of years before realizing that forestry was the career path for me. I attended Paul Smith’s College to get an Associate’s Degree in Pre-Professional Forestry then to SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry to get a Master’s Degree in Forestry. In both cases, my focus was forest management.
City Arborist Steve Harris of the Syracuse Parks Department—who also serves as our Council’s secretary—is pleased to share the release of the 2016 State of the Urban Forest for the City of Syracuse. Steve is an ISA Certified Arborist and Municipal Specialist and in addition to being active in the NYSUFC is involved with the Society of Municipal Arborists. He has been Syracuse City Arborist since 2010.
The 2001 Syracuse Urban Forest Master Plan was one of the first of its kind. The impetus for that report was to lay the groundwork for a focused response to the devastation caused by the Labor Day Storm of 1998. The US Forest Service Northern Research Station (USFS) and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Onondaga County crafted that plan in cooperation with the City of Syracuse, Syracuse ReLeaf, and SUNY ESF.
Being the home of a world-class research institution (SUNY ESF) and a USFS Research Station dedicated to urban forest change has its benefits. Data gets collected. Beginning in 1999, the USFS established permanent plots in the City to monitor urban forest change. By urban forest, think all trees in the landscape no matter the ownership. Plots were most recently re-measured in 2014. In addition, the USFS worked with the University of Vermont Spatial Laboratory and SUNY ESF to complete an urban tree canopy (UTC) assessment of Syracuse in 2010. (UTC assessments use LIDAR and other spatial analysis tools to identify and measure tree canopy in the landscape.)
I love this picture so much. To me, it captures the exuberance of ReLeaf 2014. Let’s break down who’s who and also talk about the Thomas Jefferson statue. -Michelle Sutton, Ed.
Anna Carragee is the Forest Program Assistant for Cornell Cooperative Extension Syracuse. Anna works on Onondaga County’s Save the Rain program to provide street trees to properties around the city in order to beautify neighborhoods, provide environmental benefits, and reduce combined sewer overflow events. Prior to that, she was an urban forest technician for the City of Syracuse. Anna received her BS in Natural Resources: Resource Ecology from the University of Vermont and is working on her Master’s in Environmental Horticulture.
Kim Zhang is the Forestry Program Educator for CCE Onondaga County. Kim earned her Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from SUNY – College of Environmental Science and Forestry with a concentration in community planning. During her time in school she interned at Wave Hill, working with youth in forest restoration. Prior to starting at CCE on the Save the Rain program, Kim worked at New York Restoration Project on the MillionTreesNYC initiative, working with cemeteries, faith-based institutions, and NYS Department of Transportation to get trees planted throughout NYC. Since then, she has worked with citizens on community planning meetings, garden designs, and supervised the construction of community gardens. Kim really enjoys working with communities at large and hopes to improve neighborhoods through green infrastructure.