Free Tree Inventory Software Pilot Opportunity

By Dan Buckler, DNR Urban Forest Assessment Specialist based in Madison, daniel.buckler@wisconsin.gov or 608-445-4578

Do you have a tree inventory but have had a hard time keeping it current? The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) maintains the Wisconsin Community Tree Map, a compilation of tree inventories from around the state. The map shows where trees are located in different communities and includes information about each tree, such as diameter, health condition and street address.

The DNR recently acquired a few extra accounts to distribute to communities on a pilot basis. We would like to distribute these accounts to communities that would make use of the tree map functionality and actively use the tool to add or remove trees in the inventory or to edit current data (e.g. change the diameter, mark the tree as pruned). If you already have a tree inventory tool that you use and like, then this option is probably not for you. But if you don’t have a tool, then you might be interested in this free account. It could be accessed with a smart phone, tablet or computer, provided there is an internet connection. The DNR can help provide training on the tool for interested communities.

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Survey Of Funding Sources For Municipal Forestry Programs

By Curt Witynski, Deputy Executive Director, League of Wisconsin Municipalities

The League of Wisconsin Municipalities and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Urban Forestry Team surveyed municipalities in September and October of 2020 to learn more about how cities and villages pay for their forestry programs and activities.

Many municipalities are struggling to continue to provide the same number and quality of services as they have in the past while operating under the strictest levy limits in the nation and experiencing reductions in shared revenue and other state aids. We wanted to learn about any alternative sources of revenue municipalities might be using to help pay for the annual cost of providing forestry services.

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Four Communities Kick-Start Urban Forestry Programs With DNR Assistance

By Don Kissinger, DNR Urban Forestry Coordinator based in Wausau, Don.Kissinger@wisconsin.gov or 715-348-5746 

In 2018, I had been covering the Northwest part of the state for three years due to a vacancy and saw first-hand a lack of proactive community forestry management in some areas, but also a lot of potential.

To help kick-start new urban forestry programs in the region, I proposed that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) use some of our US Forest Service funding to contract an urban forestry consultant to work one-on-one with selected communities. The consultant would meet with community staff, collect tree inventory data and develop individual operations plans.

The selected communities would then agree to apply for our 50-50 matching Startup Grants to implement the developed plan. A similar strategy (minus the startup grant commitment) had worked well in southern Wisconsin in 2012: out of five selected communities (Adams, Elroy, Hillsboro, Mauston and Necedah), four have become Tree City USA communities, three have had staff complete the Community Tree Management Institute (CTMI) and one has hired a full-time forester responsible for their community’s street, park, and cemetery trees.

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ROOTS Kicks Off Collaborative Tree Planting Projects

City of Sheboygan. Photo credit: Restoration of our Trees Sheboygan

In the past two months, Restoration of our Trees Sheboygan (ROOTS) celebrated the kickoff of five private-public sector emerald ash borer (EAB) mitigation projects in four communities throughout Sheboygan County, resulting in the safe removal of hundreds of dead ash trees and their accelerated replacement in public parks and on public thoroughfares.

These projects are underway in the City of Sheboygan, the City of Plymouth, the City of Sheboygan Falls, and the Village of Elkhart Lake. Each of these communities was awarded grant funding by the ROOTS Community Investment Fund. It initiated its first round of awards earlier this year through its executive agent, the Sheboygan County Rotary Foundation.

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First Downs For Trees Celebrates 10 Years

2016 First Downs for Trees

On Oct. 26, the First Downs for Trees program celebrated its 10th year by distributing 428 trees to 16 Brown County communities for planting. First Downs for Trees is a cooperative effort between the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Green Bay Packers, Wisconsin Public Service (WPS) and corporate sponsors Essity and Green Bay Packaging, Inc. The program donates trees to participating communities based on the number of first downs in the previous season.

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Urban Forests Make Safer Streets

By Jane Raffaldi, New York Department of Environmental Conservation

As leaves change this time of year, it’s obvious that urban trees make our communities more beautiful, but did you know they also make our neighborhood streets safer? Streets lined with trees tend to encourage slower driving and statistically have less accidents than those without. And it’s not just speeds that are lowered by their presence – they also contribute to lower stress levels in drivers, leading to less road rage.

How does a simple stretch of trees have such a magical impact? According to the Federal Highway Administration, the presence of tree canopy along a street provides a narrowing speed control measure by creating a “psycho-perceptive sense of enclosure” that discourages speeding.

When drivers feel like they’re in a smaller, closed space – like a tunnel or a canopied street – they drive slower than when driving through open areas. Additionally, the presence of greenery naturally calms us whether we are consciously looking at it or not.

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Feature species: Turkish filbert

T. Davis Sydnor, The Ohio State University, Bugwood.org

Scientific Name: Corylus colurna

Native to: southeast Europe and western Asia

Mature Height*: 40-55’

Spread*: 20-30’

Form: conical, symmetrical, medium texture

Growth Rate*: medium (35 feet over a 20-year period)

Foliage: 3-5”, dense green, simple leaf

Fall Color: poor, yellowish-green

Flowers: inconspicuous; catkins in early spring can be rather handsome

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Deer hunters should avoid ash trees when placing deer stands this hunting season

By Bill McNee, forest health specialist, Oshkosh, bill.mcnee@wisconsin.gov, 920-360-0942

This November, hunters should avoid placing tree stands in or near ash trees, especially in the southern half of Wisconsin, Door County and the Mississippi River counties. Most ash trees in these areas are dead or dying from infestation by emerald ash borer (EAB) and may unexpectedly snap or drop large branches. Place deer stands in non-ash trees to keep yourself safe from infested ash this hunting season.

Infographic showing four ways to identify ash trees.

A photo guide to identifying ash trees.

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New Chief State Forester Named

Heather Berklund, Chief State Forester, Wisconsin DNR

Wisconsin DNR Secretary Preston Cole announced that the department’s new Chief State Forester will be Heather Berklund, effective October 12. Her office will continue to be in Rhinelander and her contact information will remain the same (phone: 608-598-9068; email: Heather.Berklund@Wisconsin.gov).

Heather brings years of on-the-ground Wisconsin forest management and fire control experience to her new position.  She began her forestry career with the Wisconsin DNR in 2000, serving as a field forester in Merrill, Crandon and Mercer for more than a decade before becoming the Ashland-Iron team leader and then the Woodruff area leader in 2016.  In her role as the Deputy Division Administrator of Field Operations for the past three years, Heather led the public and private lands programs, Good Neighbor Authority partnership coordination, forest certification, tax law, and fire protection programs.

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Spotlight on Wisconsin Forests during Forest Products Week

What do wood products research, urban wood products and school forests have in common? They are among the many engaging Wisconsin stories shared in new episodes of the national TV program America’s Forests with Chuck Leavell

While he may be best known as the keyboardist and musical director for The Rolling Stones, Chuck Leavell is also an educated and enthusiastic forestry advocate, conservationist and woodland owner and he explores Wisconsin forests in these new episodes. The two-part Wisconsin series will be featured in a virtual premeire event during Forest Products Week on Wednesday, October 21 at 6:30 p.m. 

This free, online gathering, hosted by the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at UW-Madison, will bring together thought leaders to engage in a rousing conversation on the critical importance and value of well-managed public and private forest lands in Wisconsin. And you are invited to participate!

Registration for the virtual premiere and screening of the episodes is available online at go.wisc.edu/talesfilmseries2020. Links to attend the virtual premiere event and to view the episodes in advance will be emailed to all who register.

At the October 21 virtual premiere event, Leavell will be joined by Heather Berklund (Forestry Division Administrator with the Wisconsin DNR), Tony Ferguson (Director of the Forest Products Laboratory for the USDA Forest Service), Buddy Huffaker (Executive Director of the Aldo Leopold Foundation),  Henry Schienebeck (Executive Director of Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association) and Adena Rissman (Associate Professor at UW-Madison, Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology). The panel will be moderated by James Edward Mills of the Nelson Institute at UW-Madison.  Don’t miss this chance to hear from the panelists about the importance of Wisconsin forests to the ecological, social, cultural and economic well-being of our state and local communities.

Leavell serves as the on-camera guide for the TV show, interviewing people who are passionate about the gifts we get from our woods and exploring creative solutions to complex problems impacting this important natural resource. Other topics Leavell explores in the Wisconsin episodes include ruffed grouse, the sustainable forestry practices on the Menominee Tribal forests, and the biodiversity of the Baraboo Hills.