Reflections On A Summer Internship With The Wisconsin DNR Urban Forestry Program

By: Kolin Bilbew, Odell Kimble, Dan Buckler

(Dan Buckler)

Summer is an exciting time for those of us working and playing in the woods, and this year it was especially true as I spent much of it with two great urban forestry students. Kolin Bilbrew and Odell Kimble, both rising juniors in the Urban Forestry program at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, spent two months in Milwaukee learning about urban trees, forest management, and data collection. A collaboration between the university, the Wisconsin DNR, and the USDA Forest Service created the internship program, which welcomed Kolin and Odell as its first cohort.

Odell Kimble (front) and Kolin Bilbrew (back) assess the condition of a ginkgo tree in Milwaukee.

(Kolin Bilbew)

During our time with the Wisconsin DNR, Odell and I have been collecting data to complete an urban site index project to help determine which trees will perform better on certain sites.

Kolin Bilbrew at Lambeau Field, wearing a “cheese head”.

We have examined over 440 trees around the City of Milwaukee. Furthermore, we also met with Bill McNee about diseases and bugs in the Wisconsin forests such as the emerald ash borer and pine blister rust. Learning about these different topics is important because it gives us knowledge about how we should assess a tree and different threats to urban trees.

My favorite moment during my experience was eating at different restaurants with Ms. Kim (Kim Sebastian), Mr. Dan (Dan Buckler), and Odell. We went to places such as Kopp’s, Culver’s and Cousin’s Subs to try their burgers and shakes. We went to Lambeau Field in Green Bay to see the stadium and get some “cheese heads”. We also went to a baseball game between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Minnesota Twins. The experiences I’ve had this summer will last for a lifetime and I’m extremely grateful to be an intern for the Wisconsin DNR.


Creating Pathways Farm

Kolin Bilbrew (front, green shirt) and Odell Kimble (back, blue shirt) help lead activities for kids at Creating Pathways Farm.

(Odell Kimble)

Being able to come to Milwaukee has been a great experience. I can honestly say I really enjoyed working with Mr. Dan, Kolin, and Ms. Kim. They made it fun to be able to identify trees that we don’t see or know about in Louisiana while doing the urban site index.

While working in Milwaukee I have learned about a lot of different tree species, such as ginkgo, spruce, and Kentucky coffeetree. These trees were my favorites because of their unique characteristics.

The moment I enjoyed the most while being in Milwaukee is when Kolin and I went to Creating Pathways Farm. We were able to talk about different trees with the kids and helped them with interesting activities.


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