Foresters

Reflections On A Summer Internship With The Wisconsin DNR Urban Forestry Program

By: Kolin Bilbew, Odell Kimble, Dan Buckler

(Dan Buckler)

Summer is an exciting time for those of us working and playing in the woods, and this year it was especially true as I spent much of it with two great urban forestry students. Kolin Bilbrew and Odell Kimble, both rising juniors in the Urban Forestry program at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, spent two months in Milwaukee learning about urban trees, forest management, and data collection. A collaboration between the university, the Wisconsin DNR, and the USDA Forest Service created the internship program, which welcomed Kolin and Odell as its first cohort.

Odell Kimble (front) and Kolin Bilbrew (back) assess the condition of a ginkgo tree in Milwaukee.

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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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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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DNR Welcomes New Urban Forestry Coordinator In Eau Claire

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

I am very pleased to announce that Abby Krause has accepted the West Regional Urban Forestry Coordinator position. Abby’s first day was April 11, and she is based in Eau Claire.

Abby has a degree in urban forestry from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point. Her previous work experience includes an internship through the Society of Municipal Arborists with the City of Eugene, Oregon and being volunteer coordinator for the Wisconsin Woodland Owners Association.

She has spent the last three and half years helping communities as the community & urban forestry outreach coordinator for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. She is also a Certified Arborist through the International Society of Arboriculture.

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Sara Minkoff Reflects On Her Meaningful Career

We wish Sara Minkoff the best as she retires following a seven-year career at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Sara has been the Urban Forestry Council Liaison since 2015. She added a second LTE position the following year which supports regionally-based Urban Forestry Coordinators.

“I have had a very rewarding experience during my time with the DNR and have had the honor and privilege of working with an amazing team of hard working and dedicated professionals who also deeply care about each other,” Sara said. “The best part of my DNR experience has been working with the Urban Forestry Team. I will miss the camaraderie and opportunity to work together to ensure Wisconsin has healthy urban forests for all Wisconsinites.”

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2021 Staff Highlights

As the year draws to a close, we asked DNR urban forestry staff to reflect on the last 12 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:

“My favorite work event that happened this year was the urban site indexing training hosted in the City of Beloit. Alan Siewert, from the Ohio DNR came to Wisconsin in May to give us hands-on demonstrations of the site indexing techniques they have been perfecting over the years. The urban site indexing helps their communities create well-thought-out master planting plans. Best of all, after not seeing each other for more than a year, we spent a few hours together applying the techniques in a couple of neighborhoods across Beloit. The experience culminated with a nice socially distant lunch and discussion while developing a planting plan.” -Brian Wahl, South Central Regional Urban Forestry Coordinator

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New Urban Forestry Coordinator in Wausau

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

I am very pleased to announce that Patricia Lindquist has accepted the North Central Regional Urban Forestry Coordinator position. Patricia’s first day was Nov. 8, and she is based in Wausau. She is very excited to be continuing her career at the DNR and taking on new challenges.

Patricia has worked as our Urban Forestry Communications, Education and Outreach Specialist for the past two years. Prior to that, she spent six years working in urban forestry at two Madison-area nonprofits, Community GroundWorks and Urban Tree Alliance. She has a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture from UW-Madison.

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Career Opportunities at the DNR: Accepting Applications for Two Urban Forestry Regional Coordinator Positions

We are currently recruiting to fill two positions. The successful candidate for the position in the Northcentral region may choose a work station in either Wausau or Rhinelander. The successful candidate for the position in the West region may choose a work station in either Eau Claire, La Crosse or Spooner.

The application deadline is Tuesday, September 14 at 11:59 p.m. CDT.

Position Summary

Urban Forestry Coordinators develop, administer and implement 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 each 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 Don Kissinger Retires

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

Don Kissinger, Urban Forestry Coordinator for the north-central region, is retiring after nearly 29 years at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR). His last day in the office was May 21, 2021.

Don’s contributions are significant.  His best days were spent out in the field working and conversing with community forestry managers in his 18-county service area. Don never missed an opportunity to share his passion for urban forestry and arboriculture.

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