Tag: Illinois Wood Utilization Team

GWTP Celebrates 25 Years Training Low-Income Chicagoans for Woodworking Careers

Since being established 25 years ago, the Greater West Town Training Partnership (GWTP) has trained and placed some 900 low-income adults with jobs in Chicago-area woodworking firms.

Doug Rappe, GWTP program coordinator and a member of the Illinois Urban Wood Utilization Team, has been involved with GWTP since its inception in 1993. The Woodworking Machinery Industry Association honored Rappe for his long-standing commitment to workforce development with its prestigious Educator of the Year Award in 2014.

GWTP is part of the Greater West Town Community Development Project, a not-for-profit entity that gets its funding from a variety of public agencies and charitable foundations. In addition to woodworking, GWTP offers a hands-on shipping and receiving training program. The two training programs each occupy space in a 55,000-square-foot facility that formerly housed an envelope manufacturer located at 500 N. Sacramento Blvd.

Read more about this award-winning program.

Learn more about the Greater West Town Partnership Project.



Q&A with Erika Horigan of Horigan Urban Forest Products

Horigan Urban Wood ProductsHorigan Urban Forest Products of Skokie, IL, has been blazing trails in the utilization of urban wood for 15 years. In recent years the Horigans moved into larger quarters that includes a sawmill, warehouse and retail operation.

Erika Horigan, who co-owns the company with her husband, Bruce, discusses how Horigan UFP got started and her enjoyment in seeing felled community trees get a second chance as lumber and wood products.

“We first thought of the idea of milling urban logs in the late ‘70s. My husband Bruce, who is a certified arborist, was working in the tree care industry. He could hardly believe how many good milling logs were going into the landfill.”

Read about the company’s success on UrbanWoodNetwork.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


Tree Services Magazine Focuses on Using Urban Tree Waste

The October 2017 issue of Tree Services magazine featured an article on managing urban tree waste.

“Wood Waste Considerations,” included quotes from Rich Christianson, communications director of the Illinois Wood Utilization Team about putting felled urban trees to their highest and best use. Christianson noted that tree care professionals “are on the front lines – they often know of desirable trees that are coming down because of whatever reason, whether its emerald ash borer, storm damage or utility work – so we’re trying to get them more involved.”

Read the full article.

 



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



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!



AUG UPDATE: House Supports Urban Forestry Funding

Riverside-Urban-Oak-Table209214Things weren’t looking so good for Urban and Community Forestry (U&CF) programs when President Trump unveiled his 2018 budget zeroing out funding. But the House of Representatives has picked up the pieces and allocated $27.3 million to support the health of our nation’s urban forests. That’s a handful of sawdust relative to the overall $4 trillion budget, but welcomed nonetheless by the agencies throughout the United States and its territories.
Continuation of U&CF funding still requires support of the U.S. Senate. As you can read in this month’s Illinois Urban Wood Update, the Sustainable Urban Forestry Council and the National Arbor Day Foundation’s Alliance for Community Trees Program have been rallying support to lobby the Senate to maintain funding. You can also watch an on-demand webinar explaining what’s at stake and how to get involved.
Speaking of involved, the Village of Riverside showed its support of the Chicago area’s urban wood movement. Village officials gave their blessing to have a 160-year-old oak tree downed in a March storm repurposed into a trio of desks for the village hall. Kudos to Riverside Forester Michael Collins for seeking and winning the support of elected officials. I had a chance to meet with Michael, Dan DeSerto of Bull Valley Hardwood, which milled the log, and Paul Meyers of Woodstock Woodworks, who expertly crafted the pieces. I’ll be writing a story for a national woodworking trade publication for the time being, check out the Riverside-Brookfield Landmark’s report.
Need a break from reading? Check out the video that shows how Indy Urban Hardwood utilizes its portable sawmill to salvage fallen and diseased urban trees in Indianapolis. It’s Episode One of Wood-Mizer’s new Urban Sawmill series.
And don’t forget to send us your urban wood news, stories, events and more.
Until next month, enjoy!
Rich Christianson
Communications Director
Illinois Wood Utilization Team

READ THE AUGUST

ILLINOIS URBAN WOOD UPDATE



160-Year-Old Oak Tree Begets Three Tables for Riverside’s Village Hall

urban wood

Paul Meyer of Woodstock Woodworks, left; Jessica Frances, Riverside village manager; Dan DeSerto of Bull Valley Hardwood; and Michael Collins, Riverside village forester, pose with one of the three trustee tables crafted from a 160-year-old oak tree.

Three custom tables, crafted from the wood of an estimated 160-year-old oak tree downed in a March 2016 storm, were delivered earlier this month to the Riverside village hall.

The story of the tree’s transformation into the trustee tables, was chronicled by the Riverside-Brookfield Landmark. Three key players of the project included Michael Collins, village forester of Riverside; Dan DeSerto, owner of Bull Valley Hardwood; and Paul Meyer, owner of Woodstock Woodworks & Studio Ltd.

Collins was inspired to have the old oak made into something after it was bowled over by a wind storm in March 2016. He sought and got the blessing and backing of Riverside Village Manager Jessica Frances and the village board of trustees. Collins called DeSerto of Bull Valley Hardwoods to mill a 30-inch–diameter  log from the tree and dry the lumber it yielded. DeSerto recommended local custom woodworker Paul Meyers to create the Prairie-style furniture.

The story also gives a shout out to Edith Makra and the Illinois Utilization Team.

Read the full article.

 



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

Sawmill-SidThe Illinois Urban Wood Utilization Team pays homage to Sawmill Sid, one of our brethren repurposing urban forest trees one log at a time in the Toronto area.

Sawmill Sid, a family-owned business, claims it kept nearly 220,000 cubic feet of urban wood out of the landfill last year. This wood was milled and into lumber, furniture, flooring, beams, and corporate gifts.

Beyond those types of products, Sawmill Sid aims to “to do our part in building sustainable communities. Our goal is to re-purpose our wood products and turn the by-products into biofuel.”

On a closer-to-home reason for being, Sawmill Sid was recognized for contributing wood to build “buddy benches” at all Simcoe County District School Board elementary schools.

Learn more at sawmillsid.ca.

 



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.