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IllinoisUrbanWood’s Top 10 Countdown

By Rich Christianson

The eyes have it!

The final votes are in and the Top 10 most-viewed posts on IllinoisUrbanWood.org are known.

Activity on the Illinois Urban Wood Utilization Team’s website finished 2016 with 7, 349 visitors who clicked through 17,412 pages. Both of these totals are more than double that of 2015.

Here’s a quick reverse-order recap of the most popularly viewed posts last year.

10. Video: Tom The Sawyer Mills Black Walnut for Figure
Tom Hogard, aka Tom The Sawyer, of Eudora, KS, demonstrates how to maximize the figure of logs with “flaws” including sweep or crotches. Read more.

9. Woodworking Enthusiasts Get a Taste of Urban Wood
Woodworkers of all ages get an opportunity to craft products from wood salvaged from Chicago Park District trees. Read more.

8. Historic Bell Tolls for Urban Wood Display
Jeff Perkis used red oak milled from one of the downed trees to create a display stand for a historic train bell. It will become a permanent exhibit at the West Chicago City Museum. Read more.

7.  Illinois Sawmill Directories Updated
The Forestry Division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources recently released a pair of newly updated sawmill directories, one featuring custom sawyers and the other dedicated to stationary sawmilling operations. Read more.

6. Passions Flow at IWF Urban Wood Seminar
Three presenters – representing three very diverse business models – chorused their praise for urban wood during a unique seminar held Aug. 26 at the International Woodworking Fair in Atlanta. Read more.

5. Diverse Audience Unites at Urban Wood Event
Arborists, foresters, sawyers, architects, woodworkers and other professionals came together at the Bringing the Urban Wood Full Circle Conference to learn and share ideas for propelling the urban wood market. Read more.

4. Couple ‘Sacrificed Our Entire Lives’ for Urban Wood Business
Rob and Zoe Bocik left the 9-to-5 rat race six years ago to pursue their dream of milling lumber and crafting furniture, jewelry and other products from local trees otherwise destined for the chipper or landfill. Read more.

3. Arborist Pursues His Passion with Urban Wood Start-up
Dobnick Timberworks has joined the Illinois urban wood  movement, opening up a lumber and custom wood products business in Oswego, IL. Read more.

2. Urban Wood Products Showcase Winners Strut Their Stuff
The Urban Wood Products Showcase, featured at the March 2016 Bringing the Urban Forest Full Circle Conference, shined a bright spotlight on the design creativity of the entries that ranged from tables and wall hangings to a bell stand and soccer ball all crafted from urban wood. Read more.

1. First Release: Urban Wood User’s Resource Guide
A new national directory dedicated to helping connect tree care professionals, sawyers, woodworkers and other urban wood enthusiasts was recently released by the Urban Forest Full Circle Network. Read more.



And the Most Viewed Urban Wood Stories of 2017 Are…

The following articles garnered the most page views during 2017 from visitors to Illinoisurbanwood.org.

1 Book Chronicles Urban ‘Tree to Table’ Movement

2 Rescued Wood: Habitat for Humanity Wisconsin’s Unique Answer to the EAB Problem

3 Photo Gallery: Color Point Greenhouse Operations

4. First Release: Urban Wood User’s Resource Guide

5 Illinois Sustainable Technology Center Seeks Businesses for Wood Heating Study

Video: Be a Smart Ash, Denver!

Indiana Tree Service Branches Out into Custom Urban Wood Furniture

Video: Milling a Huge Burr Oak with a Chainsaw Mill

Chicago’s Sister City Has an Urban Wood Brother in Sawmill Sid

10 ISTC Open House Offers a Look at Heating with Wood Waste

View Top 10 posts of 2016.



Invitation to Join the Urban Wood Network

UWN-logoThe Urban Wood Network (UWN) appreciates your interest and would like to invite you to join us.

UWN partners have been dedicated to building urban wood businesses since the early 2000’s and united to promote and demonstrate urban wood utilization. Our mission is to inform, collaborate, and connect to build business and consumer confidence in the urban wood industry. Firstly, joining the urban wood movement means becoming a valuable link in the urban wood supply chain. And secondly, it means connecting with other efforts around the country. The more we position the industry as a cohesive group, the greater awareness we can bring to urban wood utilization and the better access we can provide to those who want to grow with it.

The Urban Wood Network is committed to work in partnership with the full diversity of industry stakeholders to build a common understanding, language, commitment, and eventually, brand for the urban wood marketplace.

If you currently belong to another organization whose primary goal is promoting urban wood utilization, we are interested in that organization partnering with us and becoming an UWN member. You would then be a part of UWN through that organization. If there isn’t such an organization in your state, then we welcome you as an UWN member and will assist you in building an organization in your state.

What does membership involve? To be an UWN member simply sign the attached agreement, if you agree with the tenets in the agreement. Because of the funding we have received from a USDA Forest Service grant, we are able to offer UWN membership at no cost through 6/30/18. UWN will continue to work on developing our network, organizational structure, dues structure, sponsorships, and member benefits with the plan to have UWN fully functional as a service organization by then.

Download UWN Membership Agreement

Agreements can be sent via email to info@urbanwoodnetwork.org or by postal mail to 1353 W. Hwy US 2, Suite 2, Crystal Falls, MI 49920.

Thank you for your interest; we look forward to receiving the signed agreement from you. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

UWN Partners
Rich Christianson, Illinois
Jessica Simons, Michigan
Russell Hinnah, Missouri
Don Peterson, Wisconsin



Illinois Architect Takes the LEED in Urban Wood Movement

Laureen-BlissardLaureen Blissard, technical director for the GreenBuilder Coalition and principal of LTLB Envirotecture of Naperville, IL, is a strong advocate of environmental sustainability, including urban wood utilization.

“I have only worked on a few urban wood projects from start to finish, but whenever an opportunity presents itself, I advocate for its use,” Blissard told the Urban Wood Network. “For example, when we are brought in at the beginning of a residential construction project and see the trees that need to be cleared from the property. Many times they are fully grown and great candidates for lumber. I also participate in speaking engagements to promote how architects can incorporate urban wood into a design.”

Blissard is a LEED-certified architect and has been active with the Illinois Wood Utilization Team. She said Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design has been a driver for incorporating urban wood in some building projects. “Those interested in LEED tend to focus on one point when it comes to wood — if it is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) as coming from a responsibly managed forest. If urban wood does not have FSC certification they won’t go for it. But urban wood can help a project pick up several points in other LEED categories, such as recycled materials, reclaimed materials, and locally manufactured and harvested resources. That last LEED characteristic of ‘local’ can be a key opportunity — especially now that LEED v4 reduces what is considered the local radius from 500 miles to 100 miles. Ultimately, the real challenge is figuring out how to fit urban wood into the LEED program and then working with people to get them past the misconception that if it is not FSC certified that it can’t qualify for points.”

Read the full interview with Laureen Blissard on UrbanWoodNetwork.org.

UWN-logo



Wood-Mizer Offers Free Urban Sawmilling Guide

Wood-Mizer-Urban-Sawmill-Cover

Salvaging, Sawmilling, and Marketing Urban Wood Guide is a free down-loadable publication available from Wood-Mizer of Indianapolis, IN.

“As we see it, every urban tree we use for lumber is one less tree that must be cut from our forests and one less piece of green waste that would be dumped in our landfills,” Wood-Mizer, a manufacturer of stationary and mobile sawmills, says. “Everyone we talk to about harvesting urban timber is enthusiastic about the idea. We hear from people all over the world who want to know what they can do in their local cities and towns to help make a difference.”

The urban sawmill guide includes an intro and other information from note urban wood expert Sam Sherrill, case studies of urban wood businesses and other information for those looking to enter or grow their place in the urban wood movement.

The guide is free to download and is an adjunct of Wood-Mizer’s new Urban Sawmilling video series.

Click here to access the guide.

 

 



ISTC Open House Offers a Look at Heating with Wood Waste

ISTC-LogoA demonstration of a waste wood-powered commercial heating system is scheduled for 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 7, at the Country Arbors Nursery, 1742 County Rd. 1400 N., Urbana, IL 61802.

The open house and demonstration, organized by the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC), is geared for those interested in learning about the potential benefits for heating agricultural buildings, schools, churches and other structures with wood and other biomass fuels. 

An estimated 1 million tons of renewable wood in Illinois could be used to displace the use of fossil fuels. Wood heating systems could be an attractive option in buildings currently using propane, and where sawdust and other wood wastes could be utilized, saving the cost of disposal.

The ISTC, which is leading this project, is offering free engineering study assistance through the rest of 2017 to gauge the feasibility of this fuel in specific applications.

Lunch will be served during the open house. Please RSVP to schandr@illinois.edu by Tuesday, Dec. 5.



Fall Urban Wood Utilization Webcast Available On Demand

WERC-Fall-2017-WebcastThe Fall 2017 Urban Wood Utilization webcast, hosted by the Wood Education and Resource Center on Oct. 10, is available for on-demand download.

Highlights include updates of the Urban Wood Network by Don Peterson, and the new Virginia Urban Wood group by Joe Lehnen.

Here’s the full agenda:

Urban Wood Utilization Webcast Agenda, October 10, 2017

1:00 p.m. Introduction and Overview
– Ed Cesa, US Forest Service, Wood Education and Resource Center

1:10 p.m. Update on International Society of Arboriculture’s BMPs for Urban Wood
– Eric Wiseman, VA Tech

1:20 p.m. Update on the Four State Bringing Urban Forestry Full Circle Project
– Don Peterson, Glacierland Resource Conservation & Development Council

1:40 p.m. VA Urban Wood Group Update
– Joe Lehnen, VA Department of Forestry

1:50 p.m. Firewood Processing Productivity Study Update
– Harry Watt, NCSU Wood Products Extension

2:00 p.m. The Urban Forest Resource – Building Supply Chains for the Future
– John Stephenson, Stephenson Tree Care

3:00 p.m. Final Comments and Date for Next Webcast
– Tuesday, April 10, 2018, 1:00 p.m. EDT

Download the Webcast

 



Grand Rapids Tree Awards Create Urban Wood Plot Lines

Mayors-Tree-of-The-Year-2017-second-placeBy Rich Christianson

If you love hearing about urban trees repurposed as furniture and other wood products, then you gotta love the Mayor’s Tree of the Year program in Grand Rapids, MI. While the focus is clearly on saluting trees that are thriving, great back stories are being created in the process that will add tremendous value to the lumber these trees will – hopefully – yield when they must come down.

The annual award program was initiated in 2012 by the Friends of the Grand Rapids Parks. The Arbor Day Foundation recognized Friends of Grand Rapids Parks for its launch of the Urban Forest Project, which includes a crowd-sourced map on which the public can plot the locations of trees.

The 2017 Mayor’s Tree of the Year dedicated in September is a  “European Beech tree chosen for it’s size, beauty and context within the history of Oakhill cemetery . This magnificent tree has a diameter of 48 inches and a canopy spread of nearly 90 feet.” Adding to the plot line is this quote from the resident who nominated the tree for the award. “It has an amazing sinuous trunk. One side looks like it has toes! It has a sweeping canopy like an umbrella (it works like a real one, too!) and it has its very own bench.” (See local TV station’s report in video below.)

There would be a great tale to tell about any furniture or wood products made from this award-winning tree that stands guardian to a cemetery. Talk about full circle!

The runner-up trees are no slouches.

Second place went to a white mulberry in John Ball Park. Said the nominator, “I love how much character this tree has. Viewed from a distance, it looks a bit like an overgrown shrub, but once you approach it, you see that it’s a tree that’s leaning out to encircle a small, private area with a couple of picnic tables. It makes the city feel miles away.”

An historic 200-plus-year-old red oak, the largest and oldest tree on Calvin College’s main campus, took third place honors. “We collect seeds to grow plants and trees for our rain gardens,” said the nominator. “Every year I collect a couple acorns from this tree to germinate. We grow up these acorns in our nursery and plant the saplings in rain garden across the Grand Rapids community. Not only is this tree beloved by those at Calvin, It’s babies are growing throughout the city to be enjoyed by many others.”

I hope Grand Rapids citizens will enjoy these trees for many years to come, but when the time comes that they must be removed, may their stories be cherished as future heirlooms for generations to come.

Read more about the 2017 Mayor’s Tree of the Year program.

 

 

 

 



Every Urban Tree Tells a Story; Got One to Share?

furniture 209214

Oak/Cherry Coffee Table by Michael Dimitroff of the Chicago Park District.

Many of the urban trees that get repurposed as lumber and ultimately furniture or other wood products have a back story. It may be the backyard tree that shaded a generation or more of the same family. Or it may be the tree in the park renown for snagging kites.

There are as many potential story lines as there are urban trees. If you have one to share, we’d love to hear it. Simply send a photo or two and a short write up about the tree and how and why it was transformed into something of value for its second life. Even a handful of bullet points will suffice. We’ll do the rest and share your story with our audience on the IL WUT website and monthly Illinois Urban Wood newsletter.

Direct your urban tree tale to Rich Christianson at richc.illinoisurbanwood@gmail.com.

Let’s aspire to inspire others how to put urban trees at the end of their life to their highest and best possible use!



OCT Update: Tree ‘Cookies’ Make Nifty Award Plaques

cookcounty209214I don’t think they would be too good for dunking in a glass of milk, but the ‘tree cookies’ serving as plaques for the inaugural Force of Nature Awards presented by Chicago Wilderness sure have a tasty design.

The unique tree ring plaques, still framed by their bark, were crafted from a tree removed from the Cook County Forest Preserves by the CCFP’s sign shop foreman Roy McNaughton. You can view photos of McNaughton’s handiwork and read about the awards in this month’s Illinois Wood Update.

Also in the October edition, learn why Schmidt Custom Floor joined the urban wood movement. The Waukesha, WI, company’s story is but one of many company profiles featured on UrbanWoodNetwork.org.

This month’s featured video shines a spotlight on Richmond Hill’s emerald ash borer management strategy, which includes utilizing as many of the infested trees in the Toronto suburb as possible.

Do you have urban wood news, stories, events to share? Then send it to us at info@illinoisurbanwood.org.

Have a Spooktacular Halloween!

Rich Christianson
Communications Director
Illinois Wood Utilization Team

READ THE OCTOBER 2017 ILLINOIS URBAN WOOD UPDATE