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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.



Lumber Woman Repurposes Wood from Topeka’s Urban Forest

As the story goes, Tina Albright was inspired to launch Lumber Woman & Co. after a large limbs of sycamore tree in her family’s yard fell on her husband’s car.

According to the Topeka Capital Journal, Albright’s search to find someone to mill the tree’s log into lumber to build a treehouse led her to Tom Hogard, aka, Tom The Sawyer. Hogard milled the log but also convinced her that the wood was far too valuable to be squandered on a tree house.

She agreed and the wood instead became new flooring for the Albright’s home and food for thought to start a business around selling urban wood slabs and wood products.

Check out Lumber Woman & Co. on Facebook.

Read the Topeka Capital Journal’s full article.



The Greenfield, WI, Urban Wood Model

Greenfield, WI, a Tree City USA, has developed the Greenfield Model to repurpose trees removed by the city into lumber and other value-added products. The Greenfield Model is based on the Milwaukee Model and consists of three key players: the city, a container company and a medium-sized sawmill.

The model in use begins with training city tree crews in tree removal practices that that preserve their wood whenever possible. Greenfield estimates that it up to 30% of its tree removals are eligible for milling at Kettle Moraine Hardwoods, its sawmill partner. Sawn and dried lumber is sold to area companies and individuals. The other trees are used for things like pallets, mulch, biofuel, animal bedding, and firewood.

Read more about this Wisconsin Urban Wood success story on the Urban Wood Network’s website.

The GM began as a project between Wisconsin Urban Wood and the City of Greenfield and was facilitated by a 2016 grant from the WIDNR Urban Forestry Division.



Forest Service Extends Wood Innovation Grant Deadline

The U.S.D.A. Forest Service announced that the Wood Innovations Grants deadline, originally scheduled for Jan, 23, has been extended to Feb. 25 due to the government funding shutdown.

The Forest Service invites grant applications for projects that expand wood product and wood energy markets, reduce wildfire risk, and improve forest health.

Grants provided through the agency’s Wood Innovations Program simultaneously boost local economies while helping make communities safer through the reduction of hazardous fuels on the landscape.

In 2019 the program will invest up to $8 million in projects designed to have a long-term impact on both Forest Service and other forest lands. Funding is available to support a diverse range of activities, such as completing the engineering designs, cost analyses, and permitting necessary in the final stages of commercial construction projects that use wood as a primary building material; establishing Statewide Wood Utilization Teams and Statewide Wood Energy Teams; and developing clusters of wood energy projects in a geographic area.

Since 2005 over 310 grants have been awarded to small businesses, non-profits, institutions of higher education, tribes, states, and local governments to promote the economic and environmental health of communities. Since 2013, this funding has also helped establish 10 Statewide Wood Utilization Teams and 22 Statewide Wood Energy Teams that collectively expand and support wood products and wood energy markets.

Information on how to apply is available on the Wood Innovations homepage.

The mission of the U.S.D.A. Forest Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains world-renowned forestry research and wildland fire management organizations. National forests and grasslands contribute more than $30 billion to the American economy annually and support nearly 360,000 jobs. These lands also provide 30 percent of the nation’s surface drinking water to cities and rural communities; approximately 60 million Americans rely on drinking water that originated from the National Forest System.



UWN Q&A: Tim O’Neill, Urban Lumber Company

Tim O’Neill, owner of the Urban Lumber Company, has been salvaging wood from Kansas City’s urban forest to sell to local woodworkers since 2012.

The Urban Lumber Company has grown leaps and bounds since its humble roots operating out of a garage and now operates as an independent LLC from Missouri Organic Recycling. As of November 2018, The Urban Lumber Company’s website boasts that it has recycled a total of 1,149,822 pounds of wood and yielded 157,170 board feet of lumber from its sawmill operation.

While the company sources wood from municipalities and individual homeowners, O’Neill says, “(O)ur biggest and best source for logs are developers and architects for larger construction projects. When construction companies have to do a major demo, they bring us in to grab logs off of the site. This helps them, and it softens the impact of new construction, both environmentally and socially.”

Read the full interview on UrbanWoodNetwork.org.



New Report Explores How Certification Can Grow Urban Wood Demand

Dovetail Partners takes a closer look at developing industry-recognized urban wood certification to help grow awareness and demand for urban wood lumber and products in its recently released report, “Increasing Urban Wood Use Awareness and Product Demand: An analysis of green market opportunities.”

This analysis examined existing programs used in the management and care of the urban forest to identify areas of alignment and potential for green market opportunities. The analysis included identifying needs and gaps in addressing urban wood use and opportunities to increase awareness and product demand.

The project includes working with partners to develop an urban wood certification approach that could be adopted and promoted by existing programs utilized by municipalities and businesses. Dovetail’s partners include The Arbor Day Foundation, Society of Municipal Arborists, Right-of-Way Stewardship Council, Utility Arborists Association, and Tree Care Industry Association. The results of this collaboration are meant to support state urban wood groups, help create consistent messaging, and will be presented to various audiences and venues.

Several areas of opportunity are available for development of an urban wood certification approach and for the promotion of urban wood use. The opportunities summarized in the report include green markets related to:
• green building programs;
• third-party forest certification programs;
• third-party forest certification chain-of-custody programs;
• mutual recognition and program partnerships; and
• regional activities.

Click here to download the report for free.



Urban Wood Toolkit Offers Guidance for Utilizing Community Trees

The Urban Wood Toolkit was designed to be used by municipal foresters, city managers, community volunteers, or students who are interested in finding the highest and best use for removed urban and community trees.  Using wood from urban and community tree care residues is an effective way to reduce municipal forestry costs and waste, promote stronger linkages with the forest products industry, and produce new economic opportunities.

The Urban Wood Toolkit helps users to prioritize the most important goals and objectives for their community’s wood, recognize the types of information or resources necessary to advance, and identify the types of services that you may need from additional partners. The following toolkit bulletins are currently available:

The Urban Wood Toolkit was developed in 2018 by Verdant Stewardship and Spalted Banjo Consulting through support from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the Sustainable Resources Alliance, and the USDA Forest Service Northeastern Area.



Urban Wood Network Sets 2019 Membership Fees

The Urban Wood Network (UWN), a network of independent businesses, organizations, municipalities and advocates who utilize urban wood, was brought into existence in 2018.  Members were offered free membership for 2018 thanks to support from a USDA Forest Service Northeastern Area, State and Private Forestry Landscape Scale Restoration Grant, and the Urban Wood Network established connections with over 150 members in more than 20 states, two Canadian provinces and Switzerland.  With the completion of the grant, the UWN is relying on membership fees and sponsorships to provide the necessary funding to maintain and expand the Network.  The 2019 membership fee has been set at $50 per entity and founding sponsors are being sought.

We’ve learned from experience that the only way to have a lasting impact, to truly establish full circle urban forestry management, is to work cooperatively from arborist to value-added manufacturer. A cohesive supply chain is the only way to get the highest product from these trees. We want to use our collective experiences to assist other businesses and other states to join the urban wood industry.

Through the power of the network, UWN has been able to connect members with specific interests or needs with other members who have that expertise. UWN has also been able to connect members with technical resources outside of the network. In addition, UWN has connected members within the same state who were previously unaware of each other.

Join the urban wood movement today by becoming a member of the Urban Wood Network.  The membership agreement can be completed online at: www.urbanwoodnetwork.org/join-the-movement/membership-agreement.

To date, UWN has been directed by representatives from Illinois, Michigan, Missouri and Wisconsin who were partners in the grant project.  Going forward, a steering committee will be formed to provide direction for UWN’s next steps.  Each state that has 5 or more members will elect a UWN Committee Representative for their state and those members not in a state with five or more members will elect a Regional Representative.  The US will be split into an eastern and western region (based on the Mississippi River) and each region will elect one committee member. 

In 2018 UWN established the urbanwoodnetwork.org website and the “How To Do Urban Wood Webinar Series”:  Webinar #1: Urban Tree Removals – Reducing Costs and Promoting Utilization, Webinar #2: Urban Lumber – How to Produce and Market It, Webinar #3: Producing Urban Wood Products – What, How and Where, and Webinar #4: Starting a State Urban Wood Network.  These webinars are archived for viewing on the UWN website.  New memberships, resources and webinars will be shared on the website as they are developed; UWN members will help identify topic areas of need.

UWN is hosting an Urban Wood Toolkit Webinar on January 30 at 1:00 PM EST which will provide participants with a set of resources developed by some of our Michigan members.  These resources collectively make up the Urban Wood Toolkit. The toolkit guides urban wood advocates through the development of an urban wood plan for their community.  The toolkit was produced with the assistance of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. 

The UWN is a program of the Sustainable Resources Institute, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization specializing in natural resource research, education, training and certification.

For more information visit urbanwoodnetwork.org, or contact us by email at info@urbanwoodnetwork.org or by phone at (906) 875-3720. 



A Look Back at 2018’s Most Viewed Posts

The polls are closed and the winners are known. Here are the Top 10 most viewed posts at illinoisurbanwood.org for 2018.

  1. Urban Wood Network Announces ‘How-to Do Urban Wood’ Webinar Series
  2. Chicago Tree Project Continues to Transform Dead Trees into Sculptures
  3. How Much Is Your Log Worth?
  4. UWN to Present Free Urban Wood Seminar at IWFF 2018
  5. Retired Teacher Focuses on Growing Urban Wood Business
  6. Watch Tom the Sawyer Transform an Urban Honey Locust Log
  7. Join the Urban Wood Network Movement
  8. Book Chronicles Urban Tree to Table Movement
  9. Q&A with Erika Horigan of Horigan Urban Forest Products
  10. Story of Riverside’s Wind-Felled Oak Featured in Woodshop News

Top 10 Posts of 2017

Top 10 Posts of 2016



Urban Wood Toolkit Webinar

I hope everyone is enjoying a wonderful holiday season

There has been little down time for the Urban Wood Network. Fresh off the heels of its well-received “How-to-Do Urban Wood” webinar series, UWN is organizing a special presentation focused on the new Urban Wood Toolkit assembled by our colleagues in Michigan. The free 90-minute webinar is scheduled for 1 p.m. EST Wednesday, Jan. 30. 

There has been little down time for the Urban Wood Network. Fresh off the heels of its well-received “How-to-Do Urban Wood” webinar series, UWN is organizing a special presentation focused on the new Urban Wood Toolkit assembled by our colleagues in Michigan. The free 90-minute webinar is scheduled for 1 p.m. EST Wednesday, Jan. 30. 

The Urban Wood Toolkit provides a comprehensive checklist for implementing or expanding an urban wood use network. Kudos to Jessica Simon, Margaret Miller and everyone else who participated in creating this marvelous series of documents. Read this month’s newsletter to learn how to register for this special webinar presentation. 

Also in this month’s Illinois Urban Wood Update: 

  • Read how Hoppe Tree Service of Milwaukee has taken a full-circle approach to urban forestry by launching the Urban Wood Lab, a retail outlet for lumber, slabs and wood products created from urban tree removals. 
  • Eutree, an urban sawmill and lumber supplier based in Villa Rica, GA, was honored by Green America with a People and Planet Award. 
  • Sawmilling “out-of-shape” logs to improve yield is the theme of a 2014 report available from the U.S Forest Service, Northern Research Station, in Princeton, WV. It’s worth a read by all of you sawyers out there.

Happy New Year!
See you in 2019!! 
Rich Christianson
 Communications Director
Illinois Wood Utilization Team
info@illinoisurbanwood.org

READ THE DECEMBER ILLINOIS URBAN WOOD UPDATE