Month: April 2020

Celebrate Arbor Day – plant a tree from your couch!

Happy Arbor Day! Join us in celebrating from home today. Post a photo of your favorite tree on social media, tag @arborday, and use the hashtag #arbordayathome. The Arbor Day Foundation will plant a tree on your behalf.

Learn more at

For more tips on how to honor Arbor Day using social media, check out this recent DNR newsletter post.


Wildfire Prevention Week

It’s Wildfire Prevention Week, and we’re here to remind you that spring in Wisconsin is fire season!

Very High Fire DangerIn the last week, there were nearly 50 wildfires across the state. Strong, gusty winds, low humidity and dry conditions mean that fire danger throughout Wisconsin remains Very High today and tomorrow (4/20-4/21). Although rain is in the forecast, grasses and other vegetation can dry out very quickly allowing fires to escape and grow rapidly.

Wildfires pose a serious threat to public safety, property and our natural resources.  Over 98% of all wildfires in Wisconsin are caused by people.  Debris burning is the No. 1 cause of wildfires in our state. If danger is elevated, high or very high, avoid burning of any kind, including campfires. Be aware of sneaky causes of wildfires – like sparks or hot exhausts systems from logging, farming equipment and off-road recreational vehicles.

On April 18, 2020 a 234-acre wildfire occurred in Juneau County near Necedah.  The wildfire burned on private property and on the Necedah Wildlife Refuge. The wildfire was caused by someone debris burning in a campfire ring. Five structures were threatened but were saved.  Residents needed to be evacuated but were allowed to return home late that afternoon.  Fire Danger was Very high.

DNR burning permits continue to be suspended in Wisconsin.  All burning of debris in barrels, burning of debris piles on the ground, grass or wooded areas, in DNR protection areas, is prohibited at this time

Remember, wildfires have many causes.  Don’t be one of them!

Stay up-to-date on the fire danger and check for current wildfire activity at, search “fire”

Celebrate Arbor Day using social media (check out our suggested posts below)

To keep everyone safe and healthy during this pandemic, the Arbor Day Foundation is suspending the requirement to hold a public Arbor Day celebration in 2020. Communities will be able to maintain their Tree City/Campus/Line designations without meeting this standard.

As an alternative to a public gathering, we encourage you to use social media to celebrate trees and their many benefits. Social media is an excellent tool for spreading the message that trees and tree care/management are vitally important to our communities. You could design your own campaign on a theme such as the health benefits of trees or how to properly plant a tree, or you could simply copy one or more of the messages below.

Feel free to cut and paste the following text and photos for your own social media campaign for Arbor Day – or any day of the year!

Message #1: (only valid through Arbor Day, April 24th): Celebrate Arbor Day by planting a tree from your couch! Post a photo of your favorite tree on social media, tag @arborday, and use the hashtag #arbordayathome. The Arbor Day Foundation will plant a tree on your behalf. Learn more at

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Large-scale urban tree removal using mechanized logging equipment

By Don Peterson, Wisconsin Urban Wood

With thousands of trees on their properties, municipalities and other urban ownerships sometimes need to remove a large volume of trees at once, such as after an insect or disease outbreak (i.e., emerald ash borer) or a catastrophic weather event (wind/tornadoes or ice/snow damage).  When this need arises, what are the options available to remove these trees efficiently, safely, cost effectively and quickly? 

Mechanized logging equipment has become the standard for traditional tree harvests in most of the country’s rural forests.  Using this type of equipment in urban tree removal projects is in its infancy, but it can be a very effective tool in the right circumstances.

Advantages of tree removal by mechanized logging equipment include:

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Visit the forest outside your door

By Olivia Witthun, DNR regional urban forestry coordinator, Plymouth,, 414-750-8744

Are you going stir-crazy stuck inside your house or apartment?   Take a visit to the forest outside your door!  Step outside to enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of the trees and nature around you.  It’s good for your mind, body and soul.  Research shows exposure to nature reduces depression, anxiety and stress!  Plus, we all know physical activity keeps your body healthy and boosts your mood. 

Eighty percent of American adults are afflicted by stress.  Forty million are affected by anxiety disorders, and nearly sixteen million experience major depression each year. If you live in the city, those numbers are even higher. Urban dwellers have a 20% higher risk for developing anxiety disorders, 40% for mood disorders and double for schizophrenia.  Stress has become a constant in people’s everyday lives, and the COVID-19 just adds even more.  The cumulative effects of chronic stress can have serious health consequences over time, including: depression, anxiety, heart disease, high blood pressure, chronic pain and type 2 diabetes. 

Continue reading “Visit the forest outside your door”

DATCP Pesticide Certifications During COVID-19

By Becky Gray, forest health team leader, Fitchburg,, 608-220-3022

Due to COVID-19, DATCP is extending pesticide certifications. If your pesticide certification will expire between January 31st and September 30th, then your certification is now valid until October 31st. Please refer to DATCP’s press release for more details:

If you were planning to take the test for pesticide certification this spring, DATCP is offering online pesticide exams for certain categories, including Forestry Category 2.0. The online exams are only for a temporary pesticide applicator certification which will be good until October 31st. Here is the link to DATCP’s press release explaining the online pesticide exams:

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Grant Program request for applications

The U.S. Forest Service anticipates that up to $4.2 million in Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding will be available for tree planting and restoring native vegetation in the Great Lakes Basin. This funding will be competitively awarded to the best proposals received through the June 26, 2020 deadline at Search for Grant Opportunity Number USDA-FS-2020-GLRI. The funding is available to state agencies, Tribal communities, nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, and local governments that work within the Great Lakes Basin.

Funds will be distributed across the following four program areas:

  • Forest Insect and Disease Mitigation
  • Reduce Runoff from Degraded Sites through Green Infrastructure
  • Protect and Restore Coastal Wetlands through Healthy Tree Cover
  • Restore Resilient Riparian and Shoreline Forests

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Please complete the Wisconsin Urban Wood research survey

Wisconsin Urban Wood is conducting a research project with support from the Forest Service to develop and demonstrate best practice standards for urban wood utilization in Wisconsin; including describing the:
      • Amount of urban wood generated in Wisconsin and its fate;
      • Incentives and barriers to furthering wood utilization in Wisconsin; and
      • Educational and technical needs associated with urban wood utilization.

Wisconsin Urban Wood sent out the survey via emails to tree service companies and municipalities.  If you haven’t yet, please complete the survey as requested.  While your response is critical to Wisconsin Urban Wood’s research, we also encourage you to participate for your own benefit. This research will help the Forest Service and Wisconsin Urban Wood develop and improve urban wood education and technical assistance in Wisconsin.

For more information about the survey or about Wisconsin Urban Wood, please contact 608-622-7212 or

Learning at home

Our thoughts are with the families who are grappling with school closures, while balancing work and facilitating their children’s school days. There have been many online sources for continued education for all levels of schooling and we encourage you to check them out in addition to those provided by your local schools.

We’ve recently become aware of The Forest Where Ashley Lives, a wonderful children’s book (free online), explaining various urban forestry concepts in a fun, engaging way. To find the story, go to

Elevated Wildfire Risk: Firefighters ask for public’s help by not burning

Thirty-five wildfires burned in Wisconsin over the last week and elevated fire danger expected this weekend over most of the state (4/17-4/19).  A good reminder that, we work for you— so, please avoid burning for us!

Wildland Firefighters go to work for you. Please avoid bruning for them.

Firefighters need your help, as we enter the peak of Wisconsin’s wildfire season. Responding to a wildfire increases the risk of COVID-19 exposure through crowding of resources and geographic travel of emergency responders and firefighters.  Many DNR firefighters and fire departments are at home working or supporting loved ones. These challenges may reduce the availability of firefighters to operate fire suppression equipment and hinder emergency response time, resulting in rapid fire growth.  In addition, smoke from wildfires or debris burning worsens coronavirus risk, putting firefighters and the public in extra danger.

In DNR protection areas, burning permits for debris burning on the ground or in burn barrels are suspended until further notice.  If the ground is completely snow-covered and will remain so for the duration of the burn, a DNR burn permit is NOT required.  Therefore, you can burn at any time.  After the snow melts, the burn permit suspensions will again be in effect. Small campfires for warming or cooking purposes are allowed, but discouraged at this time.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.  And, remember to keep an eye on the changing fire danger in the coming weeks: