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The Urban Wood Network Launches New Website

Urban-Wood-Network-Home-PageCrystal Falls, MI — The Urban Wood Network, a multi-state collaborative project that is promoting full-circle urban forest management, announces the launch of its new website: urbanwoodnetwork.org. The website serves as an industry resource for those interested in: adding urban wood to their existing business model; starting a new company dedicated to urban wood; joining a statewide network for urban wood providers; or starting a new network in their state.

The Urban Wood Network is made up of urban forestry efforts in Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, and Wisconsin, working collaboratively to capture the full worth of community trees from seed to sawdust. This often means expanding the public benefits of urban trees, from shade to finished wood products.

Urban wood, which is wood processed from felled urban and community trees, can be used for a wide range of products. Any piece of wood that can produce lumber can be used for a broad range of general and specialty use products from flooring to one piece table tops. Lesser quality wood can be used for playground/trail chips, mulch, firewood, or pulpwood. The Urban Wood Network always promotes the highest use that is economically achievable.

“We’ve learned from experience that the only way to have an ultimate impact, to truly establish full circle urban forestry management, is to work cooperatively from arborist to value-added manufacturer,” said Don Peterson, on behalf of the Urban Wood Network. “A cohesive supply chain is the only way to get the highest product from these trees. Now, we want to use our collective experiences to assist other businesses and other states to join this developing industry.”

Keys to Success
Urban wood success stories are a main feature of urbanwoodnetwork.org. The success stories highlight municipalities, arborists, sawmills, suppliers, manufacturers and makers, and design professionals that have put urban trees to better use, and demonstrate the social and economic benefits of doing so.

An interview with Recycle Ann Arbor’s Kirk Lignell tells how the urban wood supplier located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, grew dramatically after the Emerald Ash Borer destroyed local ash trees. Now Recycle Ann Arbor’s urban wood supply chain includes six different sawmills. Customers range from artisans to furniture makers.

The City of Eau Claire success story tells how this municipality partners with local sawmills through a Use Agreement, allowing them access the city’s marshalling yard to recover and utilize removed trees.

Full Circle Grant
In 2014, the four states of the Urban Wood Network received funding support for their project “Bringing Urban Forestry Full Circle: Localized Approaches for Capturing Value and Enhancing Public Benefits of Urban Forests.” Funding is from the USDA Forest Service Northeastern Area, State and Private Forestry Landscape Scale Restoration Grant Program.

The project aims to build regional and national awareness of the urban wood market, strengthen the urban wood supply chain, and build a common platform for the urban wood marketplace.

“It is interesting how many partners have been involved over the years, so many people at different levels trying to work together to create a strong market for urban wood products,” said Jessica Simons, on behalf of the Sustainable Resources Alliance in Michigan. “It says a lot about this kind of movement when different agencies, organizations, and businesses are excited to work together to make it happen.”

About the Urban Wood Network
The Urban Wood Network seeks to inform, collaborate, and connect to build community, business and consumer confidence in the urban wood industry. It is made up of individual and organizational efforts in Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, and Wisconsin that have been dedicated to building urban wood awareness since the early 2000s. They are united today to promote and demonstrate urban wood utilization. Learn more at www.urbanwoodnetwork.org



Treecycle America Entrepreneur Forges an Urban Wood Network

Treecycle AmericaUsually when a tree care service, sawmill or custom woodworking business takes a shining to urban wood, the owner sets out to forge a network to sustain his business.

Treecycle America of Charlotte, NC, takes the opposite approach. The company was launched to create an urban wood network of tree care, sawmill and woodworking vendors to put felled and fallen trees in the greater Charlotte area to their best possible use. The company’s website proclaims that Treecycle America is a “Certified Urban Forestry & Local Marketplace. A collaborative network of certified architects, designers, developers, municipalities, arborists, sawmills, woodworkers, and makers embracing the common goal of using urban trees to their fullest potential.”

One of the novelties of Treecycle America’s Market, is its TreeID chain of custody system. It allows consumers to view the map and history of the trees used to create products. The product mix includes kiln-dried lumber, live edge slabs, furniture, fireplace mantels, DIY kits and handmade artisan crafts.

Damon Barron, co-founder of Treecycle America, was a featured speaker at the 2015 TEDx conference in Charlotte. The TED conferences are infamous for featuring speakers at the forefront of the convergence of Technology, Entertainment and Design. Each speaker is required to present their topic in 18 minutes or less. Barron accomplished his spiel in less than 12 minutes based on the video below.

Barron, who accumulated more than 15 years in commercially forested lumber and wood products, said, “I see a vision to the future of 10 billion inhabitants and the need to pay more attention to the local resource at hand, regardless where that might be.”

Learn more about Treecycle America at treecycleamerica.com



Video: Introducing the Urban Salvaged & Reclaimed Woods Network

Jennifer Alger, CEO of Far West Forest Products in Sheridan, CA, is a long-time proponent of repurposing trees salvaged from the urban forest, as lumber and wood products. She recently took the lead in launching the Urban Salvage & Reclaimed Wood Network to bring together urban wood stakeholders west of the Rockies. Alger will participate in the expert panel assembled for the seminar, “The Urban Wood Revolution Is NOW! Come Join the Network,” scheduled for Aug. 24 at the International Woodworking Fair in Atlanta.

Learn more about Urban Salvaged & Reclaimed Woods Network.



CHECK IT OUT: URBANWOODNETWORK.ORG IS UP & RUNNING!

The big news in this month’s Illinois Urban Wood Update is that UrbanWoodNetwork.org is live and serving as a beacon to urge all who visit – municipal mangers, arborists, sawyers, lumber sellers, woodworkers, designers and more – to “Join the Movement.”

Urban Wood Network’s mission manifold: “to inform, collaborate, and connect to build business and consumer confidence in the urban wood industry. Whether you are looking to expand your existing model or want to start a new business dedicated to urban wood, click here to see how we can help you be successful.”

The website’s launch represents a collaboration of the wood utilization teams of the four states participating in the Bringing the Urban Forest Full Circle project funded by the U.S. Forest Service: Illinois, Michigan, Missouri and Wisconsin.

This is only phase one. Websites are created to change with the times. The Urban Wood Network welcomes and encourages your feedback to make the site more valuable and relevant.

Also featured in the July Update is a pair of worth-a-look videos:
First, watch how Tom Hogard, a.k.a. Tom The Sawyer found a solution to milling a 5,000-pound burr oak log that was way too big for his portable sawmill to handle.

Then, watch and listen to the urban wood “elevator pitch” succinctly uttered by Sean O’Brien, owner of Pacific Coast Lumber.

Finally, kudos to our brethren in Virginia for organizing the Mid-Atlantic Urban Wood Conference set for Aug. 15-16 in Richmond, VA. It’s great to see so many exciting urban wood activities springing up all over the nation.

Until next time, don’t forget to share your urban wood news!

Enjoy the issue.

Rich Christianson
Communications Director
Illinois Wood Utilization Team

READ THE JULY ILLINOIS URBAN WOOD UPDATE



Save the Date: 2016 Urban Wood Conference & Networking Event

McDonald's-CampusThe unique opportunities and benefits of developing and sustaining an urban wood marketplace will be thoroughly explored at “Bringing the Urban Forest Full Circle,” a conference and table top exhibition scheduled for Friday, March 18, 2016 at Hamburger University in Oak Brook, IL.

The event is being organized by the Illinois Wood Utilization Team (WUT), a broad-based group dedicated to promoting the harvest and best use of wood cultivated from urban and community trees. WUT members include representatives of state and municipal government agencies, arborists, land managers, sawyers, lumber distributors, architects, designers, woodworkers, green builders and academia.

The Bringing the Urban Forest Full Circle Conference will provide a vital forum for all urban forestry stakeholders to address the steps needed to create and sustain a viable value-added market for lumber salvaged from trees removed or harvested from urban forests which includes trees on private and public lands in and around cities of all sizes. Urban trees capable of being processed into quality lumber include those infested by the emerald ash borer, damaged by storms, removed by public utilities and other life-ending causes.

The conference will focus on industry best practices for urban tree removal and milling through wood product manufacturing and marketing.

Hamburger University, situated on McDonald’s heavily wooded, 80-acre corporate campus near several major expressways, is an ideal location for the Bringing the Urban Forest Full Circle Conference. McDonald’s has a long history of environmental stewardship of its campus forest and in recent years has lost hundreds of trees to the emerald ash borer.

The emerald ash borer is considered the most destructive pest to ever invade North American forests. The exotic beetle is blamed for killing tens of millions of trees in more than 20 states and several Canadian provinces. Up to now, the vast majority of these terminally infested trees upon removal have been expeditiously chipped or ground into mulch. Fact is the majority of these ash trees contain perfectly usable wood that can readily be turned into lumber for making furniture, cabinets, flooring and other secondary wood products. The end game of the Bringing the Urban Forest Full Circle Conference is to rally all stakeholders to take action and give these dying urban forest trees a second life as functional and decorative furnishings and objects.

“Reclaiming valuable wood products from felled tree landscape trees is just a smart idea,” said Edith Makra, chairman of the Illinois Wood Utilization Team. “There are so many stakeholders – from arborists who must fell trees and industries who make wood products to consumers who find the story of urban compelling. The aim of our conference is to link these key players in the supply chain to spark an innovative, sustainable urban wood products industry in our region.”

Additional information about the Bringing the Urban Forest Full Circle Conference, including registration, sponsorship and display table details, will be posted at IllinoisUrbanWood.org as they become available.

To learn more about attending, sponsoring or exhibiting at the conference, contact Rich Christianson, conference director, at richsonmediapro@gmail.com, 773-822-6750.

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About the Illinois Wood Utilization Team
Founded in 2007, the Illinois Wood Utilization Team is a network of land managers, professionals in the wood products industry, natural resource and green building experts and artisans dedicated to promoting and developing a sustainable market place for achieving the best possible use of trees felled in the urban forest. The Illinois WUT is part of a four-state grant project funded through the USDA Forest Service Northeastern Area. Other grant partners include the Southeast Michigan Resource Conservation and the Southeast Michigan Resource Conservation and Development Council and Recycle Ann Arbor; the Missouri Department of Conservation; and the Sustainable Resources Institute Inc. and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

 



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.



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 



What’s That Urban Log Worth?

Scott Wunder, a custom sawyer and woodworker based in St. Charles, MO, also is a ‘wunderful’ blogger. Over the years he has tackled a variety of subjects, many of them relative to the world of urban wood. I think one of his most interesting and germane to the urban wood conversation is rhetorically titled, “What Is Your Log Worth?”

“The short answer,” Wunder writes, “is probably not as much as you had hoped, but you’re not here for the short answer, so I’ll give you the long one.”

If you’ve got a few minutes, it’s well worth the read.

Also featured in this issue
The Urban Wood Network concluded its four-part “How-to Do Urban Wood” webinar series with “Starting a State Urban Wood Network.” The presentation illustrates by example, featuring three speakers of Wisconsin Urban Wood. You can catch this and the other three webinars On-demand.

Since retiring from his professorship at Purdue University, Dan Cassens has more time to devote to Cassens Lumber, a custom sawmill operation in West Lafayette, IN. Cassens is the featured guest in one of the “Milling Your Own Lumber” video series presented by Poplar Woodworking in conjunction with Wood-Mizer.

Dovetail Partners, a forest consulting firm with strong ties to urban wood markets, invites urban wood enterprises to get listed on its “Buy Local – Wood Products Campaigns” map. Learn how in this edition of the Illinois Urban Wood Update.

Think urban wood for that special someone on your holiday list!

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

READ THE NOVEMBER ILLINOIS URBAN WOOD UPDATE



UWN Webinar #3: Producing Urban Wood Products

“Producing Urban Wood Products – What, How and Where,” the third in a series of informative webinars presented by the Urban Wood Network, is available on demand.

Consumers from all over the country are joining the urban wood movement and are buying urban wood products in all shapes and sizes, from cutting boards to fine furniture to architectural lumber.  This webinar will discuss examples: of urban wood products, urban lumber sourcing, and examples of local/ regional/national markets.

Participants will learn:

  • The diversity of products made from urban wood
  • How to connect with urban wood sources
  • How to identify markets for urban wood products
  • Urban wood products branding opportunities
  • Who to contact for assistance
  • How to partner with an urban wood network to achieve their goals

Speakers:
Rick Siewert – Wood From the Hood, MN;

Paul Hickman – Urban Ashes, MI; and

Rocky Levy – Icon Modern, IL.

Watch the Webinar Now!

https://usfs.adobeconnect.com/p4rt63uihedi/?proto=true

Learn more about the Urban Wood Network’s “How-to Do Urban Wood” webinar series.



Making the Transition from Teaching to Running an Urban Wood Business

Skorup made this live-edge table from tornado-salvaged wood.

Steve Skorup of Sandwich, IL, may have retired from high school teaching, but he’s hardly retired. His new day job is harvesting urban trees to make into furniture and other wood products. He’s found diverse sources for urban logs and has made friends with a pair of local sawyers to mill them for his shop. Read more about Skorup and his urban wood business, SAWINC, in this edition of the Illinois Urban Wood Update.

Also featured in this issue

Dwayne Sperber, owner of Wudeward Urban Forest Products of Milwaukee, presented the first Wisconsin Urban Wood Utilization Award to the architects and builders of the DoMUS apartment complex. The award recognized the project’s use of Wisconsin Urban Wood shelving in 117 luxury apartments. His goal is to make this an annual award. Way to go, Dwayne!

We’ve featured several videos produced Tom Hogard of Eudora, KS, better known in urban wood circles as Tom The Sawyer, over the years. Tom recently began blogging on his website. In one of them he tackles the challenging question, “Can you cut your lumber costs significantly by patronizing your local sawmill?” Read the article in this month’s Update for Tom’s answer.

The Urban Wood Network presented its third in its “How to Do Urban Wood” webinar series last week. It will soon be archived to watch on-demand. The second webinar, “How to Produce and Market Urban Lumber,” was recently added to the archives. A handy link is offered in the newsletter to check it out.

As always, send me your urban wood news and photos. Steve Skorup did it, so can you!

Rich Christianson

Communications Director
Illinois Wood Utilization Team