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August is Tree Check Month!

Donald Duerr, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org

The USDA is encouraging everyone to spend 10 minutes checking their trees for the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB). August is an ideal time to spot this devastating pest as it emerges from trees.

Although ALB has not been discovered in Wisconsin, it is crucial that we keep an eye out for it. The quicker any infestations are discovered and reported, the easier it will be to eradicate. Three states currently have regulations in place for ALB: Massachusetts, New York, and Ohio.

ALB attacks a wide variety of trees including maple, elm, ash, birch, poplar, and willow. Signs of infestation include dime-sized exit holes, shallow scars in bark, sawdust-like material on the ground or tree branches, dead branches, and the beetle itself. Note that the Asian longhorned beetle is sometimes confused with the white-spotted pine sawyer, a native longhorned beetle.

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Urban Forestry Economic Contributions Survey

We want to give you a heads-up and urge you to fill out a survey that may be coming your way. 

There is a study underway led by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources that is evaluating the economic contributions of the urban forestry sector in the Northeast-Midwest region of the U.S.  This study is the first in the nation to focus specifically on the economic contributions of urban forestry across multiple states. 

A random sample of businesses, non-profits and local governments will receive an invitation to participate in a web survey in late summer.  Look for an email with the subject line The Urban Forestry Economic Contributions Study Invites You to Participate from The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources <noreply@qualtrics-survey.com>.  The questions will ask about your organization’s sales and revenue (or budgets) in 2018.  There will also be questions about the number of full- and part-time employees for that year. 

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CTMI postponed until Fall 2021

After much deliberation, WI DNR Urban Forestry has decided to postpone the Community Tree Management Institute (CTMI) for one year.  The health and safety of others is paramount.  Due to the pandemic, it’s just not feasible to come together in person for this training.  Group interaction and networking are an integral part of the CTMI experience, so we will look forward to coming together in the fall of 2021 with the start of the next CTMI class (exact dates to be determined). 

For more information, please contact Olivia Witthun, 414-750-8744 or Olivia.Witthun@wisconsin.gov.

Wisconsin Urban Wood and the City of Marshfield partner on an urban wood use agreement

Wisconsin Urban Wood (WUW) and the City of Marshfield have joined efforts in a “Use Agreement” that serves as the conduit between the city’s logs and WUW’s sawmill and woodworker partners in the area. Through the use agreement, WUW members are granted access to the city’s marshalling yard to recover and remove city logs. The use agreement reduces disposal costs and the wood finds its way back into the community in beautiful ways.

Every year thousands of trees are removed from Wisconsin’s streets, backyards, parks and other green spaces due to storms, construction, disease or insects such as the Emerald Ash Borer. This process costs money and time for municipalities while bringing little value back to the community. Much of this removed urban wood is suitable for lumber, flooring, furniture, art, architectural design and household goods. By establishing this urban wood use agreement, Marshfield can utilize this local, sustainable and renewable resource to boost the local economy and reduce community expenses.

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Invasive plant virtual workshop

Chris Evans, University of Illinois, Bugwood.org

The Village of Gays Mills is teaming up with the Wisconsin First Detector Network (WIFDN) and Extension to host a virtual workshop on invasive plants. Titled “Invasive Plants: Know Them, Control Them,” the workshop will take place on zoom on September 30th from 9 am-10:30 am.

The workshop will provide you with the basic information needed to recognize and manage invasive plants common – or coming – to western Wisconsin. Presenters include Anne Pearce, WIFDN Coordinator, and Dr. Mark Renz, Professor and Extension Weed Specialist, UW-Madison. Here is the agenda:

  • 9:00 am – Impacts of invasive plants to landowners and communities
  • 9:15 am – Identification of priority and early detection invasive plants in southwestern Wisconsin
  • 9:45 am – Invasive plant management planning, tools, and techniques
  • 10:15 am – Questions and answers

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Urban forestry standard survey

The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) is seeking input from the urban-forestry community to understand the value and challenges facing urban forests, and gauge interest in the development of an urban forestry standard. To assist with this, please complete this 13-questions survey which will take no more than 15 minutes of your time.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SFISurveyUrbanForestry

To learn more about this initiative, you can view a webinar SFI conducted on June 9th to explore this opportunity.

Please respond to this survey by August 28, 2020. For queries about the survey, please email Jason.Metnick@SFIprogram.org.

Urban forests support mental health

As the hilarious, award-winning Nature RX video series points out, spending time in nature is a potent “drug” for alleviating the day-to-day stress we all face. It is also a powerful way to combat anxiety, depression, and mental illnesses such as schizophrenia. The average American is sorely in need of the stress-relieving boost provided by trees. 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.

In recent years, the medical community has been increasingly recognizing the importance of trees to mental health. A growing number of scientists have been studying and documenting the health benefits of trees. For example, one study found that a 25% increase in neighborhood tree canopy was associated with a 1-point decrease on a 5-point scale for depression, anxiety and stress. Another study analyzed MRI scans of the brains of urban residents who live close to a forest. These residents were found to have an amygdala structure that is associated with a greater ability to cope with stress. (Source)

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Trees for clean air

By Robert Allard, Urban and Community Forestry Coordinator, Rhode Island DEM

This year, as families all over the country spend more time at home, we have been given the opportunity to appreciate the fresh air that we can enjoy on our own back porches and front stoops more than ever.  Trees are a significant factor contributing to the quality of the air we breathe. Recent research shows that even relatively small trees bring benefits to their neighborhoods. Just a single tree has the potential to filter up to one third of fine particulates such as dust, dirt, soot, and smoke within 300 yards, and can reduce particulate matter inside homes by as much as 60%.

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Feature species: swamp white oak

Paul Wray, Iowa State University, Bugwood.org

Scientific name: Quercus bicolor

Native to: northeastern quarter of the U.S. (including southern Wisconsin)

Mature Height*: 50-60+’

Spread*: 50-60’

Form: broad, wide-spreading

Growth Rate*: slow to moderate; 12”-18” per year

Foliage: 5”-6”; glossy green above, white below; leathery with shallow, irregular lobes; leaves often persist into winter

Fall Color: yellow-brown to orange-brown

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2021 DNR Urban Forestry Grant Application now open

Cities, villages, towns, counties, tribes and 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations in or conducting their project in Wisconsin are encouraged to apply for a regular or startup 2021 Department of Natural Resources Urban Forestry Grant! The grants range from $1,000 to $25,000, and grant recipients must match each grant dollar for dollar. A startup grant of up to $5,000 is available for communities that want to start or restart a community forestry program. Grants are awarded to projects that align with state and national goals for increasing the urban forest canopy and the benefits it provides. Also available this grant cycle is an additional $175,000 federal funding to be used for ash tree removals and replacements. EAB treatment will not be funded with these additional monies. Applications can be submitted starting July 1, 2020 until October 1, 2020.

To view the application and apply visit the Urban Forestry Grants website. If you have questions regarding application process and eligible projects contact your DNR Urban Forestry Coordinator.