Landscape And Grounds Maintenance Short Course

The UW-Madison Division of Extension in Dane, Kenosha, Sheboygan and Waukesha counties have joined together to host a Landscape and Grounds Maintenance Short Course online. The course will be held 1-4 p.m. every Wednesday in February. Anyone interested is welcome to attend.

By providing up-to-date, science-based information, the course will help landscape professionals increase the economic and environmental sustainability of the landscapes they care for and their businesses.

Continuing education units for the International Society of Arboriculture and the National Association of Landscape Professionals will be available. The cost of registration is $20 per week or $50 for all four weeks.

The class will only be available during the live presentation on the specified date and time. It will NOT be available to view later. For more information and to register, please visit the webpage here.

Four Wisconsinites Receive ISA Award For Arborist Apprenticeship Program

The International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) recently awarded the Millard F. Blair Award for Exceptional Contributions to Practical Arboriculture to August Hoppe, Randy Krouse, Ben Reince and Jon Welch. Their contributions have been critical to the success of the Wisconsin Arborist Apprenticeship Program, the first arborist apprenticeship program in the United States.

Welch, Krouse, Hoppe and Reince also received the Urban Forestry Council’s Innovations in Urban Forestry Award

This program created a training model for turning new employees into skilled workers. The group has worked with the Tree Care Industry Association and the U.S. Department of Labor to get the arborist apprenticeship program approved. All four individuals actively serve on the Wisconsin Apprenticeship Advisory Committee and perform outreach.

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Featured Species: Washington Hawthorn

T. Davis Sydnor, The Ohio State University,

Scientific Name: Crataegus phaenopyrum

Native to: East Central U.S. (southern Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee and southeastern Missouri)

Mature Height*: 20 to 30 feet

Spread*: 20 to 30 feet

Form: upright oval to rounded vase shape; has 1 to 3-inch thorns (some cultivars have fewer thorns)

Growth Rate*: slow-moderate

Foliage: alternate, simple, triangular-shaped, three to five-lobed, doubly serrate margin and dark green in summer

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Recipients Announced for Urban Forestry Regular and Startup Grants

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Urban Forestry program has selected the 2021 grant year recipients, funding 48 applications in a dollar-for-dollar match.

In addition to annual state funding totaling $524,600, the program received an additional $175,000 in federal funding to mitigate damage associated with the Emerald Ash Borer.

Awards for the 48 applications range from $2,400 to $25,000. In total, the projects cost an estimated $1.8 million. Six additional applicants may also receive second-round funding in spring 2021 if funds reserved for the Catastrophic Storm Grant program are not needed through the winter months.

Of the selected applications, 28 are regular grants, and 20 are startup grants. The six chosen for possible second-round funding are all regular grants.

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Staff Highlights of 2020

As the year draws to a close, we asked DNR urban forestry staff to reflect on the last twelve months and choose their top highlight – whether it’s a project they’re especially proud of, a new partnership or a deeper relationship with coworkers. Here are their responses:

“The highlight of my year has been watching the partners we support achieve lasting impacts via their Urban Forestry projects. Two immediately come to mind. Restoration Of Our Trees Sheboygan (ROOTS) kicked off their EAB Mitigation Grant Program by funding five separate projects in Sheboygan County communities for a total project value of $165,500. The other is Cedarburg Green who instituted a public awareness campaign to encourage community leaders to refund the city’s tree planting budget. Their campaign consisted of a common council presentation, an educational workshop and tree sale for residents, Arbor Day plantings, student art and writing contests, tree benefit tags, multiple news articles and a “Trees of Distinction” booklet, video and walking tour.”  -Olivia Witthun, East Central Regional Urban Forestry Coordinator

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Save the Date for the WAA/DNR Annual Urban Forestry Conference

The Wisconsin Annual Urban Forestry Conference will be held as a virtual event in 2021, with sessions on Feb. 21, 22 and 23.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) staff and the Wisconsin Arborist Association have developed a program to enrich arboriculture and urban forestry knowledge in the industry. The conference includes a utility track, a climbers’ corner, a virtual exhibit hall and opportunities for networking and socializing.

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Apprenticeship and the Future Workforce

By August Hoppe, President of Hoppe Tree Service and Chair of the Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council

Workforce shortages and the training of new employees is not a new problem for the arboricultural industry. Meeting minutes from a National Arborist Association meeting from 70 years ago frame the issue in the same fashion as we do today. It is hard to find skilled workers for positions and retaining workers can be an even bigger challenge for many organizations, even during a pandemic.

Formal apprenticeship is a tool that other skilled trades have been using successfully for many years to recruit, train and retain their valuable employees. We are entering an exciting time within our industry as more and more employers turn to the Arborist Apprenticeship program to fulfill the needs of their workforce. 

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Arborist Apprenticeship Webinar Aimed at Wisconsin Municipalities

The Wisconsin Arborist Apprenticeship Program is a growing way for municipalities and tree care companies to train their workforce. Learn about the program and its flexibility to fit your organization.

This presentation will be hosted by City of Milwaukee Forestry Services Manager Randy Krouse along with a panel of apprenticeship instructors, public employees and Wisconsin Bureau of Apprenticeship Representatives.  

The webinar will be held on Zoom on Thursday, Dec. 17 at 3 pm.

Register in advance for the webinar using this link:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Trees Support Mental Health During COVID-19

By Patricia Lindquist, DNR Urban Forestry Communications Specialist based in Madison, or 608-843-6248 

The COVID-19 pandemic is taking a serious toll on our mental health. Many of us are feeling lonely and isolated due to social distancing. Some of us have lost our jobs, some have lost access to schooling and some have lost beloved friends and family members.

Stress, anxiety and depression are on the rise. The numbers are truly staggering. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of people reporting symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder during the pandemic. Pre-pandemic, from January to June 2019, 11% of adults reported these symptoms. In recent months, these figures have more than tripled. The weekly average for May 2020 was 34.5%; the weekly average for June was 36.5%; and the weekly average for July was 40.1%. In addition, a recent study reported that 13.3% of adults have begun or increased their use of substances to cope with the stress of COVID-19, and 10.7% of adults have thought of suicide in the last 30 days.

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Snapshot Wisconsin: People-Powered Research

By Christine Anhalt-Depies, DNR Snapshot Wisconsin Project Coordinator, or 608-669-3808

Fisher, fox, bobcat and bear are just a few of the species captured among the 50 million trail camera photos produced by Snapshot Wisconsin. The Wisconsin DNR program is a wildlife monitoring effort that gets the public involved in science, and the data generated help the DNR make wildlife management decisions. Volunteers host a network of trail cameras across the state that take “snapshots” of animals as they pass by. The program began as a pilot in two counties and launched statewide in 2018.  Today the program boasts 1,800 volunteers hosting over 2,100 trail cameras. Information about what is in the photos, combined with where and when they were taken, is already being used to better understand important Wisconsin wildlife species, like white-tailed deer.

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