Monthly archives: May, 2015

‘Full Circle Urban Forestry’ Lesson of New Children’s Book

The-Playground-TreeSustainable urban wood usage has been promoted countless ways over the last decade, from meetings with locals to published reports. However, to our knowledge “The Playground Tree,” is the only example of a children’s book based on the topic.

Author Jeanette Joy’s whimsical tale of the journey of an urban tree, beautifully illustrated by J.R. Ralph), was published in December 2014. In the story, a playground tree is attacked by the emerald ash borer and must be taken down. However, not all is lost, as the tree is harvested into lumber that is crafted into classroom tables.

“The Playground Tree” conveys a wonderful “Circle of Life” message. The book is available for $10.00. Click here to order a copy.

Joy’s book is copyrighted by the West Chicago Park District, which knows firsthand about finding value from felled trees.

After a massive storm knocked down more than trees in Reed Keppler Park in July 2012, West Chicago Park District officials worked to salvage logs from the damaged trees. Some of the reclaimed wood was donated to the Architecture & Furniture class of the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT). There, students created some 50 pieces of furniture and artwork that one-year later were displayed as part of IIT’s Out of the Woods exhibit during West Chicago’s annual Railroad Days festival. The works were sold or raffled off; proceeds benefited Reed Keppler Park and The Conservation Foundation.

Illinois Wood Utilization Team Receives ‘Bringing the Urban Forest Full Circle’ Grant

The Illinois Wood Utilization Team is pleased to participate in Bringing Urban Forestry Full Circle, a new, multi-state collaborative project that will promote full-circle urban forest management to capture the full worth of community trees from seed to sawdust, expanding the public benefits of trees, from shade to finished wood products. The project is supported by the USDA Forest Service Northeastern Area, State and Private Forestry Landscape Scale Restoration Grant Program.

Interested persons and parties are invited to connect with this project by exchanging information.

Along with regional program leadership provided by Glacierland RC&D, located in Green Bay, WI, these lead partners in four states are working together:

Illinois – The Metropolitan Mayors Caucus and Illinois Wood Utilization Team

Michigan – Southeast Michigan Resource Conservation and Development Council and Recycle Ann Arbor

Missouri – Missouri Department of Conservation

Wisconsin – Sustainable Resources Institute Inc. and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

UrbanForestLogoBringing Urban Forestry Full Circle (Full Circle) will draw from the broadly collaborative work that was done to create the Urban Forest Products Alliance (UFPA) in 2009-10. The U.S. Forest Service Wood Education Resource Center supported that effort that created a consensus strategic plan to “promote the sustainable recovery and the highest and best use of the products of urban forests.” The Full Circle project proposal can be downloaded from the Forest Service website at:

Full Circle has a two-tiered work plan.

1. First, the partners will be guided by the UFPA strategic plan to build regional and national capacity for an urban wood market. The project partners will create a marketing plan for urban wood; maintain a website to promote urban wood knowledge and bolster industry by advocating and educating the public of high-value uses of urban wood. Most importantly, the project will bring together established and nascent urban wood efforts in the partner states and beyond, providing leadership and sharing of information.

2. At the state level, each of the partner will work to strengthen its state’s urban wood utilization capacity program. Existing state urban wood teams in Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin will be strengthened and a new team will be formed in Missouri. The partner states also will work together to convene their own urban wood conference sharing experiences and resources.

We invite you to (re)connect with this group by signing up for email updates. By signing up, you’ll be among the first to learn about events, demonstrations, reports and other news from this project. To subscribe to Urban Forest Products Alliance e-mail news alerts, follow this link: UFPA e-mail news alerts. If you are not already participating in the UFPA Linked In group, please also join that international informal dialogue. (You will need a Linked In profile to join.)

UFPA has sustained urban wood dialogue in the past few years despite lack of organizational capacity and funding. The U.S. Forest Service now reinvigorates the movement by supporting Full Circle for 2 years. Please join us.

Nick Kuhn, Missouri Department of Conservation
Edith Makra, Illinois EAB Wood Utilization Team and the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus
Don Peterson, Sustainable Resources Institute, Inc.
Jessica Simons, Southeast Michigan Resource Conservation & Development Council and Recycle Ann Arbor’s Urbanwood Project
Glacierland RC&D


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