Urban wood

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.

Three Updated Emerald Ash Borer Factsheets From UW Extension

The University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension recently updated three emerald ash borer (EAB) management factsheets:

Additional EAB resources from the Extension are available here.

To learn more about best practices for managing EAB in your community, check out the DNR’s Emerald Ash Borer Community Toolbox and Forest Health Emerald Ash Borer webpage.

Local Study Demonstrates Association Between Nature And Stroke Risk

In April, a study based in Milwaukee County was released showing an association between proximity to green spaces and lower odds of stroke. Researchers with Advocate Aurora Health found that people who live near green spaces in Milwaukee County were 19% less likely to have a stroke than those with less green space nearby.

Learn more about the study in an article by Matt Martinez writing for the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service. The journal article is available here.

This new study is one of thousands that have shaped our understanding of the extraordinary health benefits of urban trees and green spaces. Urban nature has reduced cardiovascular disease, mental illness, ADHD, diabetes, respiratory illness and asthma; supports immune function and family dynamics; increases healthy birth weight and opportunities for physical activity; and much more.

To learn more about the health benefits of urban nature, visit the DNR’s “Good Health Grows on Trees” webpage.

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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