Successful community tree graduate workshop

All the students in a wagon headed to prune trees.

This year was the inaugural Wisconsin Community Tree Management Institute  (WCTMI) graduate workshop, hosted by Wisconsin DNR’s Urban Forestry Program. It was held over two days in mid-October at the Green Lake Conference Center. The location offered beautiful scenery and an abundance of trees to evaluate, prune and discuss. Despite the slightly inclement weather, the attendees enjoyed themselves and were happy to be back and connect with others.

The new WCTMI graduate workshop was held for alumni from all three previous CTMI classes, who wanted to continue their education and broaden their knowledge on community tree management. Twenty-one students, representing a population of over 1 million Wisconsin residents, attended the workshop. The graduate workshop offered more hands-on activities, such as pruning, planting, tree risk assessment, etc., a variety of guest presenters, and time for attendees to share what is going on in their communities.


Urban Forestry Coordinator, Brian Wahl, helping students with their tree inventory project.


Kelli Tuttle (president and co-owner Bluestem Forestry Consulting, Inc. and member of the WI Urban Forestry Council) gave a guest presentation on tree inventories. There was a hands-on portion where the attendees were able to use an Excel spreadsheet and work out problems they might encounter in their work. The presentation continued outside where attendees examined trees and were tasked with figuring out what information could be collected about the trees based on who was collecting the data for the tree inventory: interns, volunteers, students, etc.


Also, during the first day, Dan Traas (owner, Ranger Services, Inc, and instructor Fox Valley Technical College) gave a couple of rousing presentations on species and site selection and proper tree planting. He also presented the second day, with an outdoor portion piggy-backing off of his proper tree planting presentation. Another presentation and outdoor portion were on risk tree assessments and determining when a tree must be removed.


Two students putting their tree pruning skills they learned to the test in the outdoor portion.

During the second day Brian Wahl and Don Kissinger, WDNR Regional Urban Forestry Coordinators, gave a presentation on young tree pruning. They taught the attendees about when, why and how young trees should be pruned. The presentation also continued outside when the attendees were taken to a portion of the Green Lake Conference Center property to practice their tree pruning skills, under the guidance of all the Regional Urban Forestry Coordinators.



Attendees left WCTMI with a new wealth of knowledge, a network of new resources and friends, and a profusion of ideas to bring home and implement in their urban forests. If you are interested, there will be future WCTMI workshops offered, and the potential for future WCTMI graduate workshops; watch the Urban Forestry events page for details. Future articles will be posted on many of the topics discussed at this year’s WCTMI graduate workshop. A special thanks to the WDNR Urban Forestry Team for putting this wonderful workshop together.


All the students that attended the graduate workshop.



For more information contact Ellen Clark (, Urban Forestry Communication Specialist, at 608-267-2774.

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