Urban Forestry News

Municipal Detections Of Emerald Ash Borer Continued In 2020

By Bill McNee, DNR Forest Health Specialist, Oshkosh, bill.mcnee@wisconsin.gov, 920-360-0942

Emerald ash borer (EAB) reports continued to grow across Wisconsin in 2020. The total number of communities with EAB was 808 as of December, an increase of over 50% since the start of 2020. In addition, the insect was confirmed for the first time in six additional counties (Dunn, Florence, Oconto, Pepin, Price and Shawano) during 2020. EAB has now been found in 58 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties and confirmed on Oneida Nation land. Additional unreported infestations are widely believed to be present.

Municipal (green) and Tribal (blue) EAB detections in Wisconsin as of Dec. 10, 2020. Map created by the Wisconsin Dept. of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

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Register Now For The WAA/DNR Annual Urban Forestry Conference

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Wisconsin Arborist Association will virtually host the Wisconsin Annual Urban Forestry Conference on Feb. 21-23, 2021. Please join us for three days of exhibits, expert presentations and networking events and opportunities.

The program was developed to enrich arboriculture and urban forestry knowledge in the industry. The conference includes a utility track, a climbers’ corner, a virtual exhibit hall, and networking and socializing opportunities.

This year, presentations include:

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Tree City USA Virtual Conference

Connect, collaborate and learn from Tree City USA communities about ways to engage, grow and innovate your urban forestry program. This first-of-its-kind event will be held from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Feb. 10, 17 and 24.

The registration fee is $30 and includes:

  • All content associated with the Tree City USA Conference
  • Online networking capabilities through the conference platform
  • Opportunity to engage with speakers and fellow attendees
  • Access to all conference content, networking channels and attendee/speaker engagement for six months after the conference

Learn more about the conference and register here.

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, Bugwood.org

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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