Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council announces new members

The Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council is pleased to announce the addition of four new members to the group. We are especially pleased to have increased our geographic and professional diversity and look forward to working with them on issues related to Wisconsin’s urban and community forests.

Our new members are:

Will Andresen. For the past 15 years, Will has been a community resource development educator in the Community, Natural Resources and Economic Development program area with the University of Wisconsin Extension (currently serving an interim administrative role). He has a Bachelor’s degree in Biophysical Systems with a Minor in Biology (including an internship with the USFS) and a Master’s degree in Geography with a Specialization in Planning. His past responsibilities include community planning consultant, chamber of commerce executive director, and director of community development. His career has focused on community and recreational planning, community and downtown development, and grant-writing. Most recently he has worked on asset-based community development to enhance communities and attract and retain young people. With UW-Extension, Will co-led the state-wide Community Vitality and Placemaking Team, including involvement with its successful community design charrette process. Will believes that his varied experiences will serve as a solid foundation for understanding the importance of urban forestry in the broader community development and place-making context. He is especially interested in enhancing education, awareness, advocacy and planning for the beautification of Wisconsin’s communities through urban forestry in order to make our places more attractive, livable, desirable and walkable.

Dr. Kirsten Beyer. Kirsten is on the faculty in the Division of Epidemiology in the Institute for Health & Equity at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) and serves as the Associate Director of the PhD Program in Public and Community Health at MCW. She received a PhD in Geography and an MPH in Global Health from the University of Iowa, and an MS in Clinical and Translational Research (Epidemiology) from MCW. She researches the health impacts of neighborhood environmental characteristics, including tree canopy, parks, community gardens, and other aspects of urban green/natural space. She is interested in the potential to leverage health-promoting elements of urban environments, such as green space, to address racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic health disparities. Kirsten is also interested in the role of community engagement in research and teaching and often partners with local community organizations in her work. She is interested in joining the Council to contribute her knowledge of the relationship between forests and public health after learning about the gap between researchers working on public health issues and forestry practitioners. She is eager to work towards strengthening this relationship to enable new research projects that can contribute evidence to support, modify and expand forestry practices toward the goal of public health improvement.

Keith Hardie. Keith is currently serving as the Director of Public Works for the City of Cumberland. He has a Bachelor’s degree in biology from UW-LaCrosse, owned and operated a greenhouse for 14 years, worked for several different tree care companies, and chaired the Barron County Forest and Recreation Committee. Keith was instrumental in the development of an urban forestry plan for the City of Cumberland and has interests in stormwater management, tree planting and forest expansion. Keith has been involved with forestry most of his adult life and understands the importance of trees for a better world.

Maggie Pipek. Maggie is a sustainability specialist at Eppstein Uhen Architects (EUA). She is co-leader for their internal sustainability committee that focuses on educating staff on sustainable design strategies, empowering clients to make informed design decisions, and creating sustainable and healthy buildings. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Architectural Studies and a Master’s in Architecture from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She is a licensed architect in the state of Wisconsin, a member of National Council of Architectural Registration Boards and holds Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional Building Design + Construction (LEED AP BD+C) credential from the US Green Building Council. Maggie is very passionate about sustainability and sees urban forestry as an asset to her building projects. She is interested in promoting the use of local urban wood and making it more accessible to other architects. Maggie appreciates the fact that using wood that is locally grown, harvested and milled supports local forestry and related businesses.

The purpose of the Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council is to advise the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources on the best ways to preserve, protect, expand and improve Wisconsin’s urban and community forest resources. All meetings are open to the public and posted on http://dnr.wi.gov/Calendar/Meetings/. For further information, contact Sara Minkoff, Urban Forestry Council Liaison, sara.minkoff@wi.gov.