Young Tree Training Pruning Workshops

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and UW-Madison Extension have teamed up to offer young tree training pruning workshops at five locations around the state. Wachtel Tree Science will be presenting the information in a morning-indoors-afternoon-outside format. The cost is $35 including lunch, and ISA Continuing Education Units (CEUs) will be offered. 

Set your trees up to thrive and help alleviate storm damage by properly pruning your trees when they’re young. It’s an excellent investment of resources providing exponential savings in the future.

Please register ASAP as these start in just a couple weeks.

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Request For Urban Forestry Council Award Nominations

The 2023 Urban Forestry Council Award winners. From left to right: John Wayne Farber, Leadership Award; John Gall, Lifetime Achievement Award; Cory Gritzmacher, receiving the Innovation Award on behalf of the Mequon Nature Preserve.

The Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council, comprised of municipal employees, elected officials, nursery operators, and arborists, advises the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR)’s Division of Forestry on the best ways to manage urban and community forest resources.

Every year, the council bestows several awards to recognize and thank individuals, organizations, communities and tribes across Wisconsin for their work and commitment to the trees, plantings, habitat and economic benefits they provide. The awards are announced at the annual Wisconsin Urban Forestry Conference in February and presented to winners in their community.

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Reminder: 2023 DNR Urban Forestry Grant Applications 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 2023 Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) 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.

The recent Governor’s 2023-25 Biennial Budget increased funding to urban forestry grants by $350,000 over the biennium. In 2024, the annual allotment will increase by $175,000 to further fund Urban Forestry projects. Also available this grant cycle is an additional $145,000 in federal funding to be used for emerald ash borer treatment and ash tree removals and replacements. In total, $806,680 is currently available in regular and startup grant funding for 2024, with an additional $139,920 in reserve for catastrophic storm grants.

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DNR Releases Statewide Drought Resource Webpage

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) recently launched a Drought Resource webpage as a new public source for information related to the drought conditions experienced by most of the state this year. 

The new webpage gives viewers access to current drought conditions across Wisconsin, helpful resources from various DNR programs and other state and national resources regarding drought conditions. Visitors to the webpage can also find tips for conserving water and information about accessing water during a drought based on their specific water use needs.

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Encourage Student Success With Trees In Your Neighborhood

By Olivia Witthun, DNR Urban Forestry Coordinator, Plymouth, or 414-750-8744

September is back to school month. How do you get those kids to settle down and focus after three months off? The answer is as simple as walking right outside your front door! Exposure to nature has been shown to positively impact students, from improved academic performance and focus, to reduced Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) symptoms. 

Research has demonstrated that exposure to nature during school hours is positively associated with academic performance, including standardized test scores, graduation rates and plans to attend a four-year college. Among girls, greener views from home increase the ability to concentrate and foster self-discipline, which enables them to perform better in school. 

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Career Opportunity: Seeking Applicants For Southeast WI Urban Forestry Coordinator

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Division of Forestry is seeking applicants for an Urban Forestry Coordinator (Forestry Specialist classification). This position will be headquartered in either Milwaukee, Racine, Kenosha, Walworth or Waukesha counties, depending on workspace availability. Remote work is also available for a portion of the workweek after initial onboarding period.

Position Summary

The Urban Forestry Coordinator develops, administers and implements the urban forestry assistance program in partnership to maintain or increase public and private urban forest canopy that will supply the full array of benefits. This position is the technical expert and thought leader for the Division in this Urban Forestry service area, setting the pace for the Division through leadership, innovation, adaptation, best practices, and transfer of knowledge.

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DNR Urban Forestry Coordinator Kim Sebastian Retires

Congratulations to Kim G. Sebastian as she begins her retirement this month. Kim has been with the DNR as Urban Forestry Coordinator since 1990. Read on to hear Kim reflect on her experience with the DNR and share some parting words.

After 32 years in the enviable position as a Wisconsin DNR Urban Forestry Coordinator, I will be retiring on Aug. 1, 2023, from a dream job I love, with colleagues I love even more. I’ve been incredibly blessed to learn, smile and serve every day and to call hundreds of strangers now friends. Thank you for accompanying me on this career journey and helping build one of the most incredible forestry programs in the country. Thank you for having faith in me back in 1990.

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Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council Welcomes New Members; Says Goodbye To Others

The DNR’s Division of Forestry recently welcomed three new members to the Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council and said farewell to several members who contributed much to the council.

The Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council is an advisory committee to the DNR’s Division of Forestry, guiding the best ways to preserve, protect, expand and improve Wisconsin’s urban and community forest resources. The council is comprised of 23 people appointed by the Secretary of the DNR. Members represent the diverse groups and interests that impact our state’s urban and community forests, including representatives from professional organizations, private business owners, educators, green industry employees, nonprofit/service organizations, governmental agencies, municipalities of various sizes, utilities, concerned and active citizens and trade organizations throughout the state.

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Updated Tree Inventory Requirements

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

Tree inventories are foundational elements of sustainable urban forestry programs. You need to know what you have to best manage your trees. Because of the importance of these datasets, the Wisconsin DNR Urban Forestry program often funds inventories through their annual grants (open now through Oct. 2).

For the last few years, the program has required grant recipients that pursue inventories to collect a minimum baseline of attributes. These attributes ensure that the inventory is both useful to the organization and can be compiled into the Wisconsin Community Tree Map, a collection of tree inventories from around the state.

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Urban Wood Fest Celebrates Local Wood

By Erich Ebert, Urban Wood Lab Supervisor, or 608-622-7212

Urban wood (lumber and live edge slabs sourced from neighborhood trees) is more than a local, carbon-smart, sustainable source of building materials. It’s a way to capture the natural beauty of Wisconsin and bring it inside your home. In true Milwaukee tradition, there’s a festival to celebrate it. The Urban Wood Network and the Urban Wood Lab Store by Hoppe Tree Service will host an exciting day of all things urban wood on Saturday, Sept. 16 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Wood Lab’s location in Caledonia.

This is an event for people who love trees. You don’t have to be a woodworker to appreciate the natural beauty of urban wood. We’ll be joined by a collection of local artisans selling finished products made of urban wood. Many of them are available to do custom projects, so a customer can come find a piece of wood they love and meet an artisan who can make something from it.

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