The Urban Forestry Council met on June 22, 2022, for the first in-person meeting since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The meeting was a bittersweet mix of saying goodbyes to departing council members, sharing exciting updates and voting on new council member recommendations. DNR forestry staff provided updates about the newly released Urban Forestry Economic Report, grant overview and general updates and highlights.
Four Urban Forestry Council Members are stepping down: Ms. Marla Eddy, representing municipal arborists/foresters from communities with populations of more than 200,000 people; Mr. Mark Freberg, Member-at-large, representing interested Wisconsin citizens; Mr. August Hoppe, Past Chair, representing commercial arborists and Ms. Gail Sumi, representing League of Wisconsin municipalities. Marla Eddy and Mark Freberg both joined the council in 2010 and served on the council for nearly 12 years. August Hoppe joined the council in 2014, serving for 8 years, and Gail Sumi joined in 2020, serving for nearly two years. Join us in congratulating them for their service!
Currently, there are three candidates the council has approved to continue in the process of appointment to the Urban Forestry Council. If approved by DNR Sec. Preston Cole, these candidates will fill the roles of representing the League of Municipalities, representing foresters from communities over 100,000 people, and representing foresters from communities of 200,000 people.
Nicolle Spafford, Urban Forestry Grant Specialist, provided an overview of 2022 Urban Forestry grant funding opportunities. She also discussed that the 2023 Urban Forestry Regular and Start-up grant application period opened on July 1 and will remain open until Oct. 3, 2022. More information can be found here.
Laura Buntrock, Urban Forestry Policy & Partner Specialist, and Ram Dahal, Economist, led a presentation breaking down the newly released Urban Forestry Economic Report. This report has been groundbreaking in how it has been one of the first comprehensive, large-scale studies (covering 16 Northeast-Midwestern states, including Wisconsin) that has begun to quantify the economic contributions of Urban Forests. For more information and fact sheets, visit the “Economic Contributions of Urban Forestry” subsection on the Forestry and Wisconsin Economy page.
Heather Berklund, Chief State Forester, gave a rundown of staff highlights in the past six months and other updates to look forward to. Themes ranged from Urban Forestry Coordinators aiding with Arbor Day events to Urban Forestry Projects, like creating committees for the Wisconsin Arborists Association Conference and the Good Health Grows on Trees Conference.
August Hoppe was presented the Friends of the Forest award at the June 2022 meeting. The award, which aims to recognize individuals who work with the Forestry Division to protect and sustainably manage Wisconsin’s forests, was originally presented to Mr. Hoppe in 2021. However, due to COVID-19 restrictions and safety measures, this June meeting was the first in-person meeting that allowed Heather Berklund to present the award to Mr. Hoppe directly.