Monthly archives: October, 2017

Video: Richmond Hill Educates Residents about EAB Scourge

Ash trees used to make up 12% of the urban forest canopy in Richmond Hill, ON, Canada. That’s before the emerald ash borer descended on the city killing thousands of trees over the last few years. The city has produced a pair of videos to educate residents about its fight against the pesky beetle. The video above illustrates some of the ways the town is repurposing its ash tree removals.

The video accessible from this link – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NY5i7TyNaKs&feature= – educates residents about Richmond HIll’s EAB Management Strategy. It details the EAB problem, how to detect a tree that has been infested and chemical treatments that can be used to keep an ash tree safe from infestation.

Learn more about Richmond Hill’s Emerald Ash Borer Management Strategy.

 



Underappreciated Urban Wood Focus of Pennsylvania Workshop

King-of-Prussia-Urban-Wood-Workshop“Urban Wood: An Underappreciated Resource” is the title of a one-day workshop scheduled for Nov. 14 at Heuser Park in King of Prussia, PA. The event is being organized by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.

The workshop is intended to bring together suppliers, processors, and end users of urban wood who recognize the value of the resource and wish to make better use of the material. The workshop serves as a first step toward developing an urban wood network in southeast Pennsylvania to link potential partners. An advisory committee will be formed as a result of the initial meeting, and will help guide the DCNR Bureau of Forestry in moving the process forward.

Topics include:

  • Urban wood networks elsewhere in the country 
  • Properties of various wood species 
  • Bucking for optimum use 
  • Portable mill demonstration 
  • Dry kiln construction and operation demonstration  
  • Biochar-making demonstration 
  • Cross laminated timbers  
  • Local urban wood users

The targeted audience includes arborists, tree services, municipal public works offices, portable and stationary sawmill owners, dry kiln operators, craftspeople, artists, architects, and educators.

The registration fee is $20.

Click here to learn more.



Cook County Forest Preserves’ Tree Repurposed for Unique Award Plaques

By Cherie LeBlanc Fisher

In July 2017, Chicago Wilderness presented its first-ever Force of Nature Awards to 10 people and organizations doing outstanding work on behalf of the environment across the region. The physical awards given to the recipients were as unique and special as the awardees themselves and a remarkable example of wood reutilization.

Each award plaque is a large “tree cookie” with the bark left around the outer edge. The tree came from a Forest Preserves of Cook County site.

Forest Preserves of Cook County sign shop foreman Roy McNaughton designed and created them by hand. Each is about the size of  a large dinner plate: roughly 12 inches in diameter and approximately 1.5 inches thick. Each award is unique in shape, color and wood grain.

McNaughton began the transformation by using a belt sander to smooth the rough, chainsaw-cut organic surface of each cookie. Since both sides would display text for the final awards, McNaughton said they required multiple passes with various grits of sand paper to create a smooth surface. He then sealed the wood with numerous coats of clear urethane. The Chicago Wilderness logo and text were printed on a clear vinyl laminate and an additional layer of clear gloss laminate was applied to seal and protect the text. The adhesive-backed graphics were carefully cut and transferred to each cookie.

The back of each award received another laminate sheet that reads, “The Chicago Wilderness Force of Nature Awards recognize people and organizations whose environmental conservation, restoration, advocacy, and/or educational activities extend above and beyond the ordinary and are inspirational examples for others.”

McNaughton estimated that it took him about 60 hours to create all 10 award plaques. The Forest Preserves of Cook County, one of the lead partners in the Chicago Wilderness alliance, generously donated the tree from which the cookies were cut plus Roy’s time, tools and labor to create the awards.

I had the pleasure to emcee the Chicago Wilderness awards ceremony at the Chicago Botanic Garden in July. Recipients were delighted with the tree cookie plaques and eager to display them at their respective organizations.

Learn more about Chicago Wilderness’ 2017 Force of Nature & Excellence in Ecological Restoration Program.

Cherie LeBlanc Fisher works for the U.S. Forest Service Northern Research Station. Her current projects include the Forest Service’s Urban Forest Inventory program to collect tree and land use data in the Chicago region. She also participates in the Chicago Region Tree’s Initiative’s Tree Stewardship and Planting Team.

 



Illinois Sustainable Technology Center Seeks Businesses for Wood Heating Study

Project examines potential cost benefits of converting from propane and other fossil fuels to wood-fired boiler systems.

ISTC-LogoCHAMPAIGN, Ill. – The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) at the University of Illinois invites businesses throughout the state to apply for a free engineering study to learn about the potential cost savings of using low-value wood residues as heat.

Illinois businesses have until December 31, 2017 to sign up for this offer to evaluate the feasibility of switching from propane or other fuel sources to wood biomass. The ISTC is wrapping up a two-year wood fuel study made possible through a matching grant of $249,328 from the U.S. Forest Service. Partners of the study include Western Illinois University’s Value-Added Sustainable Development Center and the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus.

So far, the ISTC has helped six greenhouse operations of various sizes gain insight into the costs of converting to wood heat, including the return on investment of installing a wood boiler system. Now the ISTC is expanding the scope of its study by offering the opportunity of a free engineering study to all Illinois businesses.

Those selected to participate in the research project will receive assistance with project scoping, engineering and financial analysis. Small-value applications of less than $10,000 may be provided direct cash assistance while larger applications will be provided in-kind support of engineering design and grant preparation.

An estimated one million tons of renewable wood in Illinois could be used to displace the use of petroleum-based propane and other fossil fuels. The ISTC’s project is examining the scientific, economic and cultural aspects that would support the expansion of utilizing low-value wood residues for energy.

Businesses interested in learning more about applying to have a wood fuel engineering study conducted should contact Sriraam Chandrasekaran, lead research engineer of the ISTC, at 217-300-1477 or schandr@illinois.edu.

About the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center
The ISTC’s mission is to encourage and assist citizens, businesses, and government agencies to prevent pollution, conserve natural resources, and reduce waste to protect human health and the environment of Illinois and beyond. ISTC integrates applied research, technical assistance, and information services to advance efforts in the areas of pollution prevention; water and energy conservation; and materials recycling and beneficial reuse. Learn more at www.istc.illinois.edu.



Why Schmidt Custom Floors Joined the Urban Wood Movement

Urban-Wood-Network-LogoSchmidt Custom Floors of Waukesha, WI, is one of many urban wood success stories featured on the new UrbanWoodNetwork.org website. 

Wayne Lepak, who handles sales training and product procurement, explained how Schmidt Custom Floors expanded its product offerings to include hardwood flooring made with locally-sourced urban wood.

“We get a number of customers asking for reclaimed wood, and urban wood is another specialty item that has a nice story customers want,” Lepak said. “Urban wood flooring hasn’t been around for that long. In some cases, we introduce it to customers who have never heard of it before. We also offer urban wood availability to architects and design professionals in search of it.”

Read the full interview with Lepak and other urban wood success stories at the Urban Wood Network website.