Category: Blogs

MAY 18 Update: Researchers Sound the Alarm on Urban Tree Loss

A new study by researchers of the U.S. Forest Service estimates that U.S. urban areas are losing about 36 million trees per year. You can read a summary about the study, with a link to a more in-depth report, in this month’s Illinois Urban Wood Update.

No doubt, I think its fair to say that a good number of these 36 million trees could produce lumber to make things. But I think it’s also fair to say that probably only a very small percentage of the lumber-bearing trees have had a date with a sawmill.

The wasted opportunities to repurpose more of our felled and fallen urban tress points to the need for municipalities to incorporate urban wood utilization in their urban forestry plans. Some do, but far more don’t.

In this regard and on a more encouraging note, you can read how 95 Chicago-area communities recently signed the Greenest Region Compact. The GRC is a guide that cities can use to implement local actions to promote sustainability and create healthy, thriving communities. One of the goals of the GRC is “Harvest and utilize high-value wood products from trees that must be removed.”

Kudos to Edith Makra, director of environmental initiatives at the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus and former chair of the Illinois Wood Utilization Team, who authored the GRC.

Meanwhile, the emerald ash borer has finally found its way into Vermont. It’s amazing that it took this long considering how the EAB has ravished ash trees in surrounding states. As state foresters brace for the deadly beetle’s invasion, they are already considering how they might put some of the tree casualties to use.

Finally, the free urban wood seminar being organized by the Urban Wood Network at the International Woodworking Fair in Atlanta, has three new sponsors. Richelieu Hardware, Dynabrade and Safety Speed Manufacturing have joined lead sponsor Wood-Mizer in supporting this special presentation at North America’s largest gathering of professional woodworkers. I’m looking forward to moderating the session, “The Urban Revolution Is NOW! Come Join the Movement,” scheduled for August 24 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.

READ THE MAY 2018 ILLINOIS URBAN WOOD UPDATE

 



Urban Wood Movement Takes Woodworking Industry’s Biggest Stage in Atlanta

Growing demand for urban wood lumber and products is paramount to advancing the urban wood movement and cause.

One way to increase demand for urban wood begins with making woodworkers – particularly custom woodworkers – aware of the potential of using this under-utilized material in their cabinet, furniture and other projects.

The Urban Wood Network (UWN) aims to do just that by presenting a free 90-minute seminar August 24 at the International Woodworking Fair in Atlanta. IWF is the woodworking industry’s largest North American event; more than 17,000 professionals attended the show two years ago.

This actually represents an encore performance. More than 130 people registered for the urban wood utilization seminar at IWF 2016.

Representatives of three regional urban wood utilization efforts will present including Dwayne Sperber, representing UWN; Jennifer Alger, representing the West Coast’s new Urban Salvaged & Reclaimed Lumber; and a third speaker to be announced soon representing the Southeast’s urban wood movement. Yours truly will moderate this panel of distinguished and passionate speakers. A big thanks to Wood-Mizer for signing on as the major sponsor of the program.

You can learn more about the IWF urban wood seminar: The Urban Wood Movement Is Now! Come Join the Movement in this edition of the Illinois Urban Wood Update.

Also featured this month:
Watch a video to see how Hunski Hardwoods has established a successful business salvaging and milling felled urban trees in Sacramento, CA. It’s the 4th episode of Wood-Mizer’s Urban Sawmilling series.

Make it a double feature by checking out a video showing how New York state deploys its fleet of 22 drones to get a bird’s-eye view for monitoring the health of its public and urban forests.

In case you missed the Spring Urban Wood Webcast presented by the Wood Education & Resource Center of the Northeast Forest Station, you can now view it on-demand. Included are updates on the Urban Wood Network, Virginia Urban Wood group, urban wood certification efforts and urban wood utilization in Kansas City, MO.

READ APRIL 2018 ILLINOIS URBAN WOOD UPDATE

Don’t forget to share your urban wood stories, photos and experiences.

Until next month, enjoy!

Rich Christianson
Communications Director
Illinois Wood Utilization Team
info@illinoisurbanwood.org



SIGN UP FOR FREE URBAN WOOD NETWORK WEBINAR

The Urban Wood Network (UWN) will present a free informational webinar at 11 a.m. Tuesday, April 17. If you have an interest in help advance the urban wood movement, then sign up now to attend. This is a great opportunity to get acquainted with the UWN, its mission and its aspirations. In addition, you’ll be able to ask questions and provide much welcomed input.
The Urban Wood Network was launched last summer by representatives of Illinois, Michigan, Missouri and Wisconsin. Membership is not only open to entities and individuals in those states, but to others east of the Rocky Mountains.

Speaking of webinars, the Wood Education and Resource Center will present its Spring Urban Wood webcast on Tuesday, April 3. Highlights include updates of the Urban Wood Network and work to develop urban wood certification standards.

Read this month’s Illinois Urban Wood Update for more details about each of these webcasts and registration information.

Also, this month, read about the Virginia Urban Forest Council’s new urban wood business directory and the latest updates on the spread of the dreaded emerald ash borer throughout North America.
Don’t forget to share your urban wood success stories, photos and experiences.

Enjoy!
Rich Christianson
Communications Director
Illinois Wood Utilization Team
info@illinoisurbanwood.org


FEB Update: ICON MODERN HOSTS ARCHITECTURAL WOODWORERS

Thank you Rocky Levy and Aaron Tvrdy, co-owners of Icon Modern, for organizing a workshop focused on urban wood use for architects, designers and architectural woodworkers. It was great to see more than two dozen in attendance at this special event. Rocky and Aaron have done a tremendous job of pioneering urban wood use in corporate projects and are currently working on furnishings for the new McDonald’s headquarters.

Read and see photos from the workshop in this month’s edition of the Illinois Urban Wood Update.

Also in this edition of the Update:
> Tom The Sawyer demonstrates milling an urban honey locust log.> Michigan, one of our Urban Wood Network partners, launches a new website. Congrats!

> Dovetail Partners takes the lead on creating certification standards for urban wood.

Reminder: Take advantage of free membership by signing up for the Urban Wood Network now.

As always, share your urban wood stories, photos and experiences.

 Until next month, I remain,
Rich Christianson
Communications Director
Illinois Wood Utilization Team
info@illinoisurbanwood.org


ARTS INITIATIVE PAYS HOMAGE TO CHICAGO PARK DISTRICT TREES

Artist Janet Austin captures ‘The A”maze”ing Larvae of the Emerald Ash Borer’ in her sculpture at Palmer Square Park.

Through special arrangement with Chicago Sculpture International, more than two dozen dead or dying trees, have been transformed into works of art on Chicago Park District land throughout the city during the last four years.

The 2017 collection of tree sculptures includes the “A”maze”ing Larvae of the Emerald Ash Borer,’ a creative look at the pest and the path it created boring into the tree it ultimately killed.
Check out the story in this month’s Illinois Urban Wood Update and then visit the Chicago Tree Project website to view all of the creations and the park that each one graces.
Also, this month, watch the third episode of Wood-Mizer’s Urban Sawmilling Series. This video features the owners of Van Urban Timber in Vancouver, BC.

I was happy to receive a call from a writer for Tree Services magazine for information about the urban wood movement. I was delighted to oblige with discussing the Illinois Wood Utilization Team’s mission to putting felled and fallen urban trees to their best and highest valued use. A link to the article is included.

If you haven’t already done so, I urge you to check out the invitation to join the Urban Wood Network. Free membership is being offered until June.
Keep me in mind if you have a story, photo or comment to share about your involvement in the urban wood movement.
Until next time,
Rich Christianson
Communications Director
Illinois Wood Utilization Team
info@illinoisurbanwood.org


DEC Update: Join the Urban Wood Network

The Urban Wood Network, a multi-state collaborative project led by Illinois, Michigan, Missouri and Wisconsin, is opening up membership to other organizations and unaffiliated urban wood stakeholders.

The Urban Wood Network (UWN) will promote the UWN brand as an assurance of sustainability and stewardship of urban wood utilization; develop a long-term structure for membership and longevity of the UWN; and provide services to members to assist them in meeting their short and long-term goals.  Members agree with the UWN’s key tenets.

While the Illinois Wood Utilization Team is a founding member of UWN, I encourage you to check out the membership agreement. If you subscribe to the central tenants of membership, then take advantage of the opportunity to sign on as a charter member. Free membership is being offered through June 18, 2018.

Learn more in this month’s Illinois Urban Wood Update.

Also in the December issue:

  • The most-clicked urban wood news and blog posts of 2017;
  • An interview with Laureen Blissard, technical director for the GreenBuilder Coalition and principal of LTLB Envirotecture of Naperville, IL, a strong advocate of environmental sustainability, including urban wood utilization and its role in LEED building credits;
  • Download for free a copy of Wood-Mizer’s Urban Sawmilling Guide, featuring articles by Sam Sherrill and case studies of successful urban wood businesses.

If I can offer a resolution to add to your list, don’t be shy about sending us your urban wood stories, photos, videos, events, comments, etc.

May the New Year bring you peace, health and prosperity.

Rich Christianson
Communications Director
Illinois Wood Utilization Team

info@illinoisurbanwood.org

READ THE DECEMBER ILLINOIS URBAN WOOD UPDATE



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.



Come Feel the Heat! ISTC Wood Waste Boiler Demo

The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, a partner of the Illinois Wood Utilization Team, is inviting businesses to participate in an open house and demonstration of a boiler system fueled by low-value wood waste. The demonstration is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 7 in Urbana.

Come see for yourself how more of this under-utilized material can be put to use in place of propane and other heating fuels and at the same time reduce the need for landfilling.

Read more about the wood waste boiler demonstration and learn how to RSVP in this month’s Illinois Urban Wood Update.

Also, relax and check out a couple of videos focused on urban wood businesses.

The first is meant to kick off a series of videos produced by TX Urban Sawmill, a new company in Austin, TX. The second video is actually Episode 2 of Wood-Mizer’s Urban Sawmilling series. The video profiles the father and daughter team that run Manayunk Timber in Philadelphia.

Plus, see how Grand Rapids is promoting its urban forest through its annual Mayor’s Tree of the Year awards. Talk about writing a backstory for future urban wood products!

If you got a story, photo, video, event, comment to share about urban wood, bring it on. I’m all ears!

Read the November 2017 Illinois Urban Wood Update.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Rich Christianson
Communications Director
Illinois Wood Utilization Team
info@illinoisurbanwood.org



Video: Reclaiming Wood from Historic Philadelphia Buildings

 

Wood-Mizer presents Episode 2 of its Urban Sawmilling series, a collection of videos profiling companies advancing the urban wood movement.

Episode 2 features Steve Ebner and his daughter Rebecca who run Manayunk Timber, an urban sawmill in Philadelphia, PA. Established in 1984, Manayunk Timber specializes in reclaiming old-growth, high-quality wood from 19th century Philadelphia buildings and offering local, sustainable lumber for restoration, renovation, custom woodworking and new construction projects.

Learn more about Manayunk Timber.

 



Video: Pioneering Urban Wood Use in Austin

Devin Ginther and Aaron Mitchamore are co-founders of TX Urban Sawmill LLC, a newly-established company dedicated to salvaging lumber from felled urban trees in and around Austin, TX. Ginther is also owner of Refined Elements, a company that specializes in inspired natural design, live edge furniture, solid hardwood furniture and specialty lumber sales, including urban wood.

Ginther said the accompanying video kicks of a series of urban wood videos that will be throughout 2018.

TX Urban Sawmill’s motto is “Help us save Texas, one tree at a time.” The company has formed a partnership with Austin Tree Experts to help identify trees at the end of their service that have the potential to yield valuable lumber and is actively pursuing relationships with other area businesses that share the vision of repurposing urban trees as furniture and other wood products.