Urban Forestry News

DNR Foresters Partner with LEAF Program to Update Forester Activity Guide

In 2008, LEAF, Wisconsin’s K-12 Forestry Education Program, created a Forester Activity Guide. The intent of the guide was to help foresters lead age-appropriate, interactive, hands-on classroom programs for students in grades K-8 with a minimum amount of advanced preparation. The guide was promoted to foresters throughout Wisconsin and even included as part of programming during new forester orientation.

Front page of the Forester Activity Guide. Credit: LEAF

In fall 2021, LEAF staff, working with Kirsten Held, determined that an update to the guide was overdue. To be certain a new guide would meet the needs of current foresters, LEAF sought input from professionals around the state who have both field experience and an enthusiasm for working with students.

The following DNR Division of Forestry staff partnered with LEAF to create a new and improved Forester Activity Guide: Brooke Ludwig, Eau Claire; Steven Kaufman, Oconto Falls; Kara Oikarinen, Washburn; Scott Mueller, Medford; Sarah Ward, Montello; and Brian Wahl, Fitchburg.

The new Forester Activity Guide builds upon the goals set for the original K-8 guide by including more opportunities for outdoor learning around themes that foresters are frequently asked about: What Do Foresters Do?; Caring for the Forest; Forest Products & Benefits, Tree Planting and Natural Restoration and Fire.

All activities include tips for modifying lessons to urban settings and suggestions on how to use the lessons with learners from grades K-12. Lessons in the new guide all have slideshow presentations that foresters can use if their visits must take place in an indoor setting and require even less advanced preparation than lessons for the original guide. Continue reading “DNR Foresters Partner with LEAF Program to Update Forester Activity Guide”

Urban Ecology Center’s Neighborhood Transformation Training Available

Reserve your spot for an intensive online training with the Urban Ecology Center focusing on neighborhood transformation. The five-part training will help participants make connections between kids, parks, cities and the wider world. Save your space by submitting an application for the March 2023 session. Continue reading “Urban Ecology Center’s Neighborhood Transformation Training Available”

UW Extension Plant Diagnostic Class

UW-Madison’s Extension Horticulture Program is offering an online non-credit certificate course called “Plant Diagnostics: The Step-by-Step Approach to Identifying Plant Problems.” The class runs from Feb. 1 to April 30, 2023.

As a student, you will move at your own pace through 13 modules with online videos, reading and interactive exercises. You will learn the steps of the plant diagnostic process in an easy-to-understand way. You will become familiar with appropriate unbiased, research-based resources to use in the diagnostic process. Continue reading “UW Extension Plant Diagnostic Class”

WAA Conference Registration Available

The 2023 Wisconsin Arborist Association (WAA) and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Annual Conference will be held on Feb. 19-21 in Green Bay, WI. Early Bird Registration cost is $275 until Jan. 27. You can find conference details here.

This conference is intended for professional arborists, community foresters, nursery professionals, park and recreation directors and staff, tree care workers, landscape architects and green industry professionals.

It will be followed by the Exhibitor Social with the famous Blue Light Special with proceeds supporting the WAA’s Student Scholarship Fund. Continue reading “WAA Conference Registration Available”

Participation Requested: Inflation Reduction Act Funding Partner Needs Survey

New funding will be available to states for urban and community forestry activities via the Federal Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Urban Forestry program is conducting a survey to better understand the funding needs of our partners. 

Your participation in this survey is very important. It will help us guide Wisconsin’s request for Inflation Reduction Act funding to supplement our program.

Please allow for less than ten minutes of your time and go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/QSJTRJY to complete the survey. 

The survey will close at the end of the day on Friday, Jan. 20. We value your input; this is incredibly important information for us. Thank you for setting aside a few minutes of your busy schedule.

DNR Urban Forestry Program Announces 2023 Grant Recipients

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced the Urban Forestry Grant Program recipients for the 2023 grant year. The program helps fund projects consistent with state and national goals for increasing the urban forest canopy.

The Urban Forestry Grant Program had almost $700,000 in grant funds, with $419,860 in state funding and an additional $273,512 in federal funding. A dollar-for-dollar match puts the estimated total cost of these projects at $1.5 million. In all, 58 applications were selected to receive funding, with awards ranging from $2,106 to $25,000. Continue reading “DNR Urban Forestry Program Announces 2023 Grant Recipients”

Staff Highlights of 2022

As the year wraps up, we at the DNR Urban Forestry Program have found it full of innovative projects and new and wonderful partnerships, and we have grown closer as a team. We thank everyone for your interest and look forward to another great year in 2023!

For now, we wanted to share some of our favorite highlights from this year!

Back row: Dan Buckler, Olivia Wittun, Jeff Roe, Laura Buntrock, Brian Wahl, Nicolle Spafford
Front row: Kirsten Biefeld, Kim Sebastian, Odell Kimble, Kolin Bilbrew, Patricia Lindquist, Tracy Salisbury, Abby Krause

Continue reading “Staff Highlights of 2022”

What Do You Do With Your Old Christmas Trees?

By Dan Buckler, DNR Urban Forest Assessment Specialist, Daniel.Buckler@wisconsin.gov, 608-445-4578

Father and daughter bringing a tree home to decorate for Christmas. Source: WI DNR

At probably the same stage of life when I thought bread was just a medium to consume peanut butter, I thought the purpose of Christmas trees was to be a home for presents. However, like many people over the years, my appreciation for these incredible evergreen plants has grown. I love bringing green things into the home when the world can otherwise look bleak.

Unlike urban trees, which were planted and maintained for all sorts of benefits to humans and the wider environment, Christmas trees and other holiday plants are predominantly planted to be harvested at a young age. But like urban trees, their fate following their life’s work is unknown.

We wonder what you do with your Christmas trees or other holiday plants. We encourage you to fill out the short survey linked below. We are particularly interested in any novel ways you may utilize the plants. Next month, we will share results and, hopefully, a few stories.

SURVEY LINK Continue reading “What Do You Do With Your Old Christmas Trees?”

Local Filmmakers Make Stars Out of Local Trees

Micah Davis (left) and Steve Betchkal (right) hold their Midwest Emmy, awarded for their short film “Champion Trees”. Photo Credit: Story Time with Steve & Micah Facebook page

To see a heartwarming story about the power of trees, check out “BRANCHING OUT: Local Filmmakers Score Big by Making Stars Out of Local Trees” by Eric Rasmussen. Micah Davis and Steve Betchkal (Story time with Steve and Micah) spotlight the city of Eau Claire and explore its connection with its trees in a video called Champion Trees.   Continue reading “Local Filmmakers Make Stars Out of Local Trees”