Urban wood

Free Tree Inventory Software Pilot Opportunity

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

Do you have a tree inventory but have had a hard time keeping it current? The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) maintains the Wisconsin Community Tree Map, a compilation of tree inventories from around the state. The map shows where trees are located in different communities and includes information about each tree, such as diameter, health condition and street address.

The DNR recently acquired a few extra accounts to distribute to communities on a pilot basis. We would like to distribute these accounts to communities that would make use of the tree map functionality and actively use the tool to add or remove trees in the inventory or to edit current data (e.g. change the diameter, mark the tree as pruned). If you already have a tree inventory tool that you use and like, then this option is probably not for you. But if you don’t have a tool, then you might be interested in this free account. It could be accessed with a smart phone, tablet or computer, provided there is an internet connection. The DNR can help provide training on the tool for interested communities.

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Survey Of Funding Sources For Municipal Forestry Programs

By Curt Witynski, Deputy Executive Director, League of Wisconsin Municipalities

The League of Wisconsin Municipalities and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Urban Forestry Team surveyed municipalities in September and October of 2020 to learn more about how cities and villages pay for their forestry programs and activities.

Many municipalities are struggling to continue to provide the same number and quality of services as they have in the past while operating under the strictest levy limits in the nation and experiencing reductions in shared revenue and other state aids. We wanted to learn about any alternative sources of revenue municipalities might be using to help pay for the annual cost of providing forestry services.

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Four Communities Kick-Start Urban Forestry Programs With DNR Assistance

By Don Kissinger, DNR Urban Forestry Coordinator based in Wausau, Don.Kissinger@wisconsin.gov or 715-348-5746 

In 2018, I had been covering the Northwest part of the state for three years due to a vacancy and saw first-hand a lack of proactive community forestry management in some areas, but also a lot of potential.

To help kick-start new urban forestry programs in the region, I proposed that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) use some of our US Forest Service funding to contract an urban forestry consultant to work one-on-one with selected communities. The consultant would meet with community staff, collect tree inventory data and develop individual operations plans.

The selected communities would then agree to apply for our 50-50 matching Startup Grants to implement the developed plan. A similar strategy (minus the startup grant commitment) had worked well in southern Wisconsin in 2012: out of five selected communities (Adams, Elroy, Hillsboro, Mauston and Necedah), four have become Tree City USA communities, three have had staff complete the Community Tree Management Institute (CTMI) and one has hired a full-time forester responsible for their community’s street, park, and cemetery trees.

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ROOTS Kicks Off Collaborative Tree Planting Projects

City of Sheboygan. Photo credit: Restoration of our Trees Sheboygan

In the past two months, Restoration of our Trees Sheboygan (ROOTS) celebrated the kickoff of five private-public sector emerald ash borer (EAB) mitigation projects in four communities throughout Sheboygan County, resulting in the safe removal of hundreds of dead ash trees and their accelerated replacement in public parks and on public thoroughfares.

These projects are underway in the City of Sheboygan, the City of Plymouth, the City of Sheboygan Falls, and the Village of Elkhart Lake. Each of these communities was awarded grant funding by the ROOTS Community Investment Fund. It initiated its first round of awards earlier this year through its executive agent, the Sheboygan County Rotary Foundation.

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First Downs For Trees Celebrates 10 Years

2016 First Downs for Trees

On Oct. 26, the First Downs for Trees program celebrated its 10th year by distributing 428 trees to 16 Brown County communities for planting. First Downs for Trees is a cooperative effort between the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Green Bay Packers, Wisconsin Public Service (WPS) 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.

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Urban Forests Make Safer Streets

By Jane Raffaldi, New York Department of Environmental Conservation

As leaves change this time of year, it’s obvious that urban trees make our communities more beautiful, but did you know they also make our neighborhood streets safer? Streets lined with trees tend to encourage slower driving and statistically have less accidents than those without. And it’s not just speeds that are lowered by their presence – they also contribute to lower stress levels in drivers, leading to less road rage.

How does a simple stretch of trees have such a magical impact? According to the Federal Highway Administration, the presence of tree canopy along a street provides a narrowing speed control measure by creating a “psycho-perceptive sense of enclosure” that discourages speeding.

When drivers feel like they’re in a smaller, closed space – like a tunnel or a canopied street – they drive slower than when driving through open areas. Additionally, the presence of greenery naturally calms us whether we are consciously looking at it or not.

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Feature species: Turkish filbert

T. Davis Sydnor, The Ohio State University, Bugwood.org

Scientific Name: Corylus colurna

Native to: southeast Europe and western Asia

Mature Height*: 40-55’

Spread*: 20-30’

Form: conical, symmetrical, medium texture

Growth Rate*: medium (35 feet over a 20-year period)

Foliage: 3-5”, dense green, simple leaf

Fall Color: poor, yellowish-green

Flowers: inconspicuous; catkins in early spring can be rather handsome

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Arbor Day Foundation now accepting Tree City USA applications

We hope you join us this year in continuing our strong commitment to growing and maintaining a healthy tree canopy across Wisconsin! The application portal for Tree City USA is now open and available at this link: https://applications.arborday.org/community/city/. Applications are due December 31st.

This is the second year with the new application portal, so if you applied last year, some of your information will be pre-populated on your application. Also, please note that the standard/requirement for having an Arbor Day celebration and proclamation has been waived this year.

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Nominate your community tree champion for an Urban Forestry Council award!

By Sara Minkoff, DNR Urban Forestry Council liaison, Madison, sara.minkoff@wisconsin.gov, 608-669-5447

The Council presents annual awards to outstanding individuals, organizations, communities and tribes that further urban forestry in Wisconsin. The awards are announced each year at the annual Wisconsin Urban Forestry Conference and presented to winners in their community. We are currently seeking nominations for the 2021 awards.

The Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council, comprised of municipal employees, elected officials, nursery operators, arborists and others, advises the Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry on the best ways to manage urban and community forest resources. Every year, the Council bestows several awards to recognize and thank individuals and organizations across Wisconsin for their work and commitment to the trees and habitat in our community forests and the economic benefits they provide.

The five categories of awards, including our newly renamed Leadership award, are described below:

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What does a DNR Urban Forestry Coordinator do?

By Olivia Witthun, DNR urban forestry coordinator, Plymouth, olivia.witthun@wisconsin.gov, 414-750-8744 

Wisconsin’s urban forests provide a wide range of ecological, economic and social benefits. Urban areas contain nearly 27 million trees with an estimated total replacement value of almost $11 billion. Many don’t realize all the services urban forests provide. They reduce air pollution, mitigate storm water runoff, conserve energy, provide wildlife habitat, increase property values, and attract businesses, tourists and residents. They even improve public health and well-being. The Wisconsin DNR’s Urban Forestry Team seeks to maximize these benefits derived from our state’s community tree canopies. 

Thirteen people are part of the DNR Urban Forestry Team, and six of those are Urban Forestry Coordinators (UFCs).  Each UFC serves a different region, and within that region, we mainly serve city foresters, local government tree managers and other partners.  (UW Extension serves homeowners.)  Your UFC is your go-to contact for all things urban forestry. 

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