Urban Forestry News

Wisconsin DNR Urban Forestry Program Welcomes New Summer Interns

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) welcomes two urban forestry summer interns to the agency’s Milwaukee office. The internship marks the beginning of a new collaborative program between the department, the USDA Forest Service and Southern University and A&M College, a public historically black land-grant university in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. 

The two inaugural interns, Odell Kimble and Kolin Bilbrew, are juniors majoring in forestry at Southern University, the first and only historically black land-grant university that offers a degree in urban forestry.

The Wisconsin DNR welcomes 2022 Urban Forestry summer interns Odell Kimble (left) and Kolin Bilbrew (right) who are working with Dan Buckler (middle) and Kim Sebastian (not pictured) at the Milwaukee office.

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Urban Forestry Council Highlights: Departing Members, Urban Forestry Updates, Awards

Wisconsin DNR Division of Forestry thanks departing Urban Forestry Council members Marla Eddy, Mark Freberg, August Hoppe and Gail Sumi for their time and dedication to the council. Pictured above are August Hoppe (far left), Heather Berklund, Wisconsin State Forester (left middle), Gail Sumi (right middle) and Mark Freberg (far right).

The Urban Forestry Council met on June 22, 2022, for the first in-person meeting since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The meeting was a bittersweet mix of saying goodbyes to departing council members, sharing exciting updates and voting on new council member recommendations. DNR forestry staff provided updates about the newly released Urban Forestry Economic Report, grant overview and general updates and highlights.

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Summer Of Spongy Moth

By Andrea Diss-Torrance, Invasive Insects Program Coordinator, Madison, Andrea.DissTorrance.wisconsin.gov

Spongy moth* (formerly known as gypsy moth) populations are entering an outbreak phase in southern Wisconsin due to last year’s dry, hot weather. This pest is rising most rapidly in oak-dominated areas, especially in landscaped spaces with turf and high human activity (i.e., parks, picnic areas, campgrounds and yards). This open ground and human disturbance deter spongy moth’s predators and diseases.

Large, defoliated yard trees along road in neighborhood.

Oak trees are more vulnerable to defoliation in disturbance-heavy environments. These oak trees in Middleton, Wisconsin are facing heavy defoliation by spongy moth. Photo: Wisconsin DNR

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20 Year Anniversary Of Emerald Ash Borer Confirmation In North America

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

Five metallic green beetles against a white background.

Early photo of EAB adults taken in June 2002, prior to the insect species being identified. Photo: USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

The beginning of July marked 20 years since we received news of an unidentified beetle that turned out to be the emerald ash borer (EAB), one of North America’s greatest tree killers. On July 1, 2002, DNR forest health staff received an email from USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service about this beetle being associated with declining ash in southeast Michigan:

This is to notify you that in the past few days we have responded to a report of an insect pest feeding on ash in the western suburbs of Detroit. This follows what has been a series of reports of declining ash in this area over the past couple of years. However, in the past we have not been able to associate it with any particular insect or disease. We are now seeing a boring insect emerging from the infested trees in various sites… The adult, which is emerging now, resembles the shape and size of two lined chestnut borer. It is emerald, metallic green in color and leaves a D-shaped exit hole, similar to bronze birch borer… Continue reading “20 Year Anniversary Of Emerald Ash Borer Confirmation In North America”

Urban Forestry Economic Analysis In Wisconsin

By Olivia Witthun, DNR Urban Forestry Coordinator in Plymouth, olivia.witthun@wisconsin.gov or 414-750-8744

Laura Buntrock, DNR Urban Forestry Partnership and Policy Specialist in Rhinelander, laura.buntrock@wisconsin.gov or 608-294-0253

Dan Buckler, DNR Urban Forest Assessment Specialist in Madison, daniel.buckler@wisconsin.gov or 608-445-4578

Ram Dahal, DNR Forest Economist in Madison, ram.dahal@wisconsin.gov or 715-225-3892

We know that urban forests are a vital component of our economy and environment, making significant financial contributions to local, state and national economies, as well as providing critical ecosystem services. But until recently, the economic contribution of urban forestry has typically been aggregated into the broader green industry.


Background On The Study

In the Urban Forestry Economic Study, a ground-breaking study led by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and funded through a U.S. Department of Agriculture Landscape Scale Restoration grant, a comprehensive analysis of the economic contributions of urban and community forestry was completed across the Northeast-Midwest region, which includes 20 states and Washington, D.C. (Figure 1). This analysis includes economic impact numbers, employment numbers, industry outlook and a resource valuation.

Figure 1. Map depicting the 21 states involved in the survey.

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DNR Welcomes New Urban Forestry Council Liaison & Outreach Specialist

By Jeff Roe, DNR Urban Forestry Team Leader, Madison, jeffrey.roe@wisconsin.gov or 608-535-7582

We are excited to announce the newest addition to our team! Kirsten Biefeld has accepted the position of Urban Forestry Council Liaison and Outreach Specialist. Her first day was Monday, June 6, 2022. Kirsten is based in the Madison office. 

Kirsten is a recent graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where she received a Master’s of Environmental Science and a GIS certificate. She has an undergraduate degree in Biology and Spanish, with an Art minor, from Augustana University in Rock Island, Illinois.

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2023 DNR Urban Forestry Grant Application Opening Soon

Applications for an Urban Forestry Grant are opening soon!

Cities, villages, towns, counties, tribes and 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations in or conducting their project in Wisconsin can apply for a regular or startup 2023 Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Urban Forestry Grant beginning July 1, 2022.

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 its benefits.  

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First Downs For Trees; Go Trees, Go!

Go trees, go! That could have been the chant coming from Lambeau Field last month as First Downs for Trees celebrated its 12th season by distributing more than 400 trees to Brown County communities.

First Downs for Trees is a cooperative effort between the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Green Bay Packers, Wisconsin Public Service and corporate sponsors Essity and Green Bay Packaging, Inc. The program donates trees to participating communities based on the number of first downs in the previous season.

On Tuesday, April 19, 406 trees were trucked out of the Meacham Nursery bound for places like De Pere, Pulaski, Howard, Ashwaubenon, Green Bay, Wrightstown, Allouez, Hobart, Bellevue and the Oneida Nation. In total, 16 communities received trees from Meacham’s and Leaves Inspired nurseries.

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Municipal Forestry Institute 2022

The Municipal Forestry Institute is an intensive high-level professional growth program of the Society of Municipal Arborists. The week-long training provides personal and professional development opportunities for key urban forestry decision-makers who want to become influential leaders and managers.

Now in its 17th year, the cadre of dedicated urban forestry instructors has taught over 800 leaders since 2005. Grow your professional skills and community tree program by joining the Municipal Forestry Institute.

The Municipal Forestry Institute will be held on Sept. 25-30 in northern Ohio. To learn more, visit this webpage. Registration is not yet open but will be available soon.