Month: April 2022

DNR Welcomes New Urban Forestry Coordinator In Eau Claire

By Jeff Roe, DNR Urban Forestry Team Leader, Madison, or 608-535-7582

I am very pleased to announce that Abby Krause has accepted the West Regional Urban Forestry Coordinator position. Abby’s first day was April 11, and she is based in Eau Claire.

Abby has a degree in urban forestry from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point. Her previous work experience includes an internship through the Society of Municipal Arborists with the City of Eugene, Oregon and being volunteer coordinator for the Wisconsin Woodland Owners Association.

She has spent the last three and half years helping communities as the community & urban forestry outreach coordinator for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. She is also a Certified Arborist through the International Society of Arboriculture.

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Sara Minkoff Reflects On Her Meaningful Career

We wish Sara Minkoff the best as she retires following a seven-year career at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Sara has been the Urban Forestry Council Liaison since 2015. She added a second LTE position the following year which supports regionally-based Urban Forestry Coordinators.

“I have had a very rewarding experience during my time with the DNR and have had the honor and privilege of working with an amazing team of hard working and dedicated professionals who also deeply care about each other,” Sara said. “The best part of my DNR experience has been working with the Urban Forestry Team. I will miss the camaraderie and opportunity to work together to ensure Wisconsin has healthy urban forests for all Wisconsinites.”

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Species Recommendations Available

If you’re reading this, you love trees and have no doubt been asked for your tree species recommendations. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Urban Forestry Program is no different. Because species recommendations are an evergreen request, we developed four lists, accounting for a small number of large and small trees in street and park environments.

These lists are not exhaustive (only ten species in each) and any general list of recommendations is somewhat fraught with uncertainty due to the nuanced conditions of specific planting sites. We highly suggest consulting with your local nurseries and other experts who can not only discuss what is available but also provide other recommendations and planting advice. With just a few exceptions, these lists do not include cultivars and varieties, but your local experts can provide that amount of detail.

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Arbor Day Celebrates 150 Years

In 1854, J. Sterling Morton, a prominent newspaper editor and publisher, moved from Detroit to what is now Nebraska. He and other pioneers noticed a need for trees, which could act as windbreaks to stabilize the soil and give shade from the sun. Morton planted many trees around his own home and encouraged others to do the same.

On Jan. 4, 1872, he proposed a holiday to plant trees on April 10 that year. This was known as “Arbor Day.” 

Individuals and counties that planted the most trees that day received prizes. About one million trees were planted in Nebraska on the first Arbor Day. Over the next 150 years, Arbor Day celebrations have spread to all 50 states and around the world.

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USDA Biological Control Facility Seeks Ash Trees To Battle Emerald Ash Borer

USDA staff cut a ‘bark window’ in green ash to uncover signs of emerald ash borer.

Emerald ash borer (EAB) is an invasive insect from Asia first introduced into the United States in 2002. Since its discovery, EAB has caused tens of millions of ash trees to die and decline. Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) uses ash trees against the pest to help preserve and protect the tree species. They are asking Wisconsin landowners for their help.

Wisconsin landowners have donated live, infested ash trees to USDA’s EAB biological control program. The staff will then use the wood to cultivate EAB’s natural enemies and release them in Wisconsin and 28 other EAB-infested states. The biocontrol staff will need more ash trees to continue producing and releasing these stingless wasps that attack and kill EAB and are hoping more Wisconsin residents will consider donating their ash trees this year.

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Treasures In Our Communities

By Dan Buckler, DNR Urban Forest Assessment Specialist, Madison, or 608-445-4578

There’s a beloved Calvin and Hobbes strip in which the famous duo unearths routine items (rocks, roots, grubs) while digging a hole, but are nonetheless awestruck by what they found, exclaiming “there’s treasure everywhere!”

It’s a lesson that even common things are worthy of acclaim, and a reminder that you can find extraordinary things in unexpected places. 

Big and old trees, for example, turn up in all sorts of environments in Wisconsin: in backyards, next to stores and overlooking cemeteries. One of these Champion Trees that was recently revisited was in scrubby woods between a road and a golf course. From the road, you wouldn’t know that the biggest peachleaf willow in the country used to stand there.

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Establishing Long-Term Plots to Understand Urban Forest Trends

By Dan Buckler, DNR Urban Forest Assessment Specialist, Madison, or 608-445-4578

How many sugar maple trees grow in our urban areas? Which species are exhibiting health declines? How many logs can be produced from removed ash trees? What is the carbon storage of urban forests? Where are invasive species most prevalent?

Please let us know if you know the answers, as that would save some time.

But in the absence of answers to those and many other questions, an incredible project is underway between the U.S. Forest Service, the Wisconsin DNR and contracted private foresters: the Urban Forest Inventory and Analysis (UFIA) program.

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Mapping Community Trees

By Dan Buckler, DNR Urban Forest Assessment Specialist, Madison, or 608-445-4578

The United States features a diverse yet complex group of people and locations. The U.S. Census Bureau regularly undertakes an attempt to catalog those people and places.

Likewise, many communities and organizations survey the trees they manage to better understand and maintain their urban forest.

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Rochester Creates Arboretum To Encourage Species Diversity

By Sara Minkoff, retired DNR Urban Forestry Council Liaison

Many smaller Wisconsin communities would like to expand their tree planting efforts but have limited budgets. One village in southern Wisconsin came up with a solution.

Rochester Commons Park has been working to create an arboretum using several grants from the American Transmission Company, an electric transmission utility that aids in promoting natural resources in areas separate from electrical utility service lines.

The western Racine County village of about 4,000 people is lined predominantly with maple trees in the public right-of-way along streets and sidewalks. The goals of the ATC-funded project are to exhibit a variety of species beyond the maples to encourage residents to plant and grow more types of trees and diversify and beautify Rochester.

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Forest Appreciation Week: Saluting Trees From Seedlings to Seniors

Governor Evers has declared this as Forest Appreciation Week in Wisconsin.  Bookended by Earth Day and Arbor Day, Forest Appreciation Week celebrates Wisconsin’s 17-million acre forest resource and the bountiful ecological, economic, social and cultural values it provides every day.  This week’s celebration encompasses all ages of trees, from seedlings to seniors!

Wisconsin has a long history of planting trees and the DNR’s reforestation program is proud to have supplied more than 1.6 billion tree seedlings planted in Wisconsin since 1913.  And, for the past 40 years, DNR has provided tree seedlings to fourth-grade students throughout Wisconsin for their Arbor Day celebrations. 

While the purpose of tree planting in the early 1900s was to reforest the cutover forestland, today’s tree planting focus is on using trees as a tool to mitigate climate change. In fact, the state of Wisconsin pledged in 2021 to work with public, private and non-governmental partners to plant 75 million trees by the end of 2030 and to conserve 125,000 acres of forest land.

This week’s celebration also includes the introduction of the revitalized champion tree program.  This program, started in 1941, recognizes and celebrates the largest of each tree species in Wisconsin.

Join the celebration as you enjoy and honor Wisconsin’s urban and rural forests.