Category: News

Chicago Tree Project Continues to Transform Dead Trees into Sculptures

As much as we like to see urban trees reclaimed as lumber and furniture, sometimes the best use of a dying or dead tree is a second life as art.

Chicago Sculpture International (CSI) and the Chicago Park District (CPD), teamed up for “Chicago Tree Project 2017,” the fourth annual citywide effort to transform sick and dying trees into vibrant public art. Using art as a vessel for public engagement, sculptors transformed a variety of trees into fun and whimsical experiences for the greater Chicago community. The collaborative project between CSI artists and CPD and is part of the greater initiative to expand the reach of public art in Chicago.

“The Chicago Park District strives to integrate art and nature in many ways to enhance the experience of public spaces,” said General Superintendent and Chief Executive Officer of the Chicago Park District Michael P. Kelly. “This project builds on the city’s reputation for great public art, and brings the work of local sculptors to a wide array of neighborhoods throughout the city.”

Over the course of the summer and fall, artists adopted trees throughout Chicago and modified them through sculpture using traditional carving methods, as well as mixed media and other embellishments. The transformed trees are in geographically diverse areas to give as many residents as possible access to the pieces.

The decorated and carved trees will remain in the parks as long as the trees remain secure.

2017 Tree Artists included: JR Cadawas, Janet Austin, Sandra Bacon & John Hatlestad, Carrie Fischer, Nick Goettling, Tracy Ostmann Haschke, Anthony Heinz May, Cat Chiu Phillips, and Actual Size Artworks (Gail Simpson & Artistotle Georgiades).

Learn more about the Chicago Tree Project and view more sculptures.

 



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

 



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.