Students in the City of Phillips have been working hard this school year. Science teacher, Bob Dural put his students to work in a real-life application that will help the city make decisions about its urban forest: which trees to take down, which trees to plant and where to plant them.
The 40 students from Dural’s natural resources class, equipped with tape measures and iPads funded by and Wisconsin DNR Urban Forestry grant , trailed through town stopping at every tree that is within the city right-of-way. The students inventory each tree by counting, measuring, identifying and giving a location. The grant from the Urban Forestry Program allowed the school to purchase the necessary equipment that the students needed to complete this task.
Before the students set out Dural said, “This is your community. This isn’t just an inventory project, but something that will be used in the future for management decisions – for many, or all, the choices made with Phillips’ tree.” The students took this to heart and have collected data on 638 trees so far, about half of Phillips’ urban forest.
This project allows the school and the city to collaborate to increase the number of resources and decrease the workload for the city staff, all while expanding the impact the school district has on the community. The students will be presenting all the information they have gathered to the school community and the groups who provided the grants. The project allows students to take pride in their community.
Dural explains what the students have invested, “this is going to help them understand their own importance in the community. They will be able to look back on this work and see its impacts in the city.” The students and community, through this project, have gained a better understanding of the importance of urban forestry.
The project will continue past inventory to incorporate planting, pruning, tree removal, invasive plant removal, and other maintenance as it develops throughout the years. The Urban Forestry Program is delighted to be a part of the development of this project. We hope that more communities get students and other volunteers involved in their urban forestry projects. For more information on the Phillips project, or if you would like to volunteer, contact Marj Brzeskiewicz, Tree Committee Chair, at (715)339-4990.
For more information contact Ellen Clark (EllenA.Clark@Wisconsin.gov), Urban Forestry Communication Specialist, at 608-267-2774.