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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 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.

Now Streaming: Chicago’s Urban Forest Metrics

Chicago Urban Forest Tree app

“My City’s Trees,” allows users ranging from backyard gardeners to city planners and policy makers to explore data associated with Chicago and other cities in the United States.

Urban trees cool cities and clean the air, and the number of urban trees and where they are matter. As part of the Urban Forest Inventory and Analysis program of the USDA Forest Service, Chicago is now one of a growing list of cities where anyone interested in urban forests can use an application called “My City’s Trees” to explore where trees are, where they aren’t, what kinds of trees are growing, and a plethora of other forest metrics. 

“My City’s Trees,” developed through a partnership between the Forest Service and the Texas A&M Forest Service allows users ranging from backyard gardeners to city planners and policy makers to explore data associated with Chicago and other cities in the United States using various spatial themes such as surface temperature, NLCD Land Cover and a Social Vulnerability Index.

Urban areas in the contiguous United States occupy 2.7 percent, or 60.2 million acres, of the land base and contain nearly 81 percent of the U.S. population. Healthy urban tree canopy and sustainable urban land management can help mitigate the environmental impacts of urbanization, and an understanding of the amount of urban forest, the species of trees it includes, and how urban forests change over time is important to managing them. The Forest Service’s Urban Forest Inventory and Analysis program was designed to deliver this information to cities and communities throughout the nation. 

 “My City’s Trees is an important step to understanding and managing our cities’ living infrastructure,” said Mike Brunk, Illinois Urban and Community Forestry Administrator. “Knowing what we have, where we have it and how it is changing provides invaluable resources for communities to live, breathe and grow. The viability of our cities and communities in which we live has direct correlation with our health and the health of our human environment. The study of our urban canopy and the ability to see and compare tree/city relationships will be an invaluable tool to assist people, leaders, and policy makers, in pursuing growth, longevity and harmony for our living infrastructure.”

While the Forest Service will ultimately publish reports on the Chicago urban forest inventory, releasing data via the My City’s Tree application makes information available to all of the community’s urban forest stakeholders more rapidly. The application allows users to learn about the important services trees in their own city provide including:

  • Numbers of trees by species and other attributes;
  • Urban forest carbon stocks and leaf biomass;
  • Compensatory values, which are estimates of the value of the forest as a structural asset, meaning a compensation amount for the physical loss of the trees;
  • Residential energy savings due to tree shading and microclimatic effects of urban trees (currently in development);
  • Surface water runoff that was avoided because of urban trees; and
  • Air pollution removed by trees, plus the economic value of avoided human health impacts from pollution removal by trees.

In addition to adding beauty, neighborhood trees moderate air and water pollution, reduce heating and cooling costs, and provide shade and shelter from hot summer sun. Healthy trees can provide wildlife habitat and improve real estate values. Research is showing that trees improve mental health, strengthen social connections, and reduce crime rates. The My City’s Trees application helps users investigate the impacts and benefits of trees in their own city and others across the nation.

“The Forest Inventory & Analysis Program is continually improving our data collection, analysis and delivery methods,” said Mark Majewsky, the team leader for the Urban FIA program. “My City’s Trees is a big step forward in delivering information that people can use in making a whole range of decisions, from which tree to plant in the front yard to justifying the expenses associated with urban forests.”

The Chicago Urban Forest Inventory and Analysis (UFIA) data will provide continually updated information about changes to the city’s urban forests, directly supporting local programs such as the Chicago Region Trees Initiative while also adding to the base of knowledge about urban forests across the United States. Currently, 40 cities are participating in Urban Forest Inventory and Analysis program, and the program aims to include more than 100 cities, allowing for a strategic national inventory of urban forests.


The mission of the Northern Research Station is to improve people’s lives and help sustain the natural resources in the Northeast and Midwest through leading-edge science and effective information delivery.

The mission of the U.S. Forest Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains world-renowned forestry research and wildland fire management organizations. National forests and grasslands contribute more than $30 billion to the American economy annually and support nearly 360,000 jobs. These lands also provide 30 percent of the nation’s surface drinking water to cities and rural communities; approximately 60 million Americans rely on drinking water that originated from the National Forest System.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Stop 9410, Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call toll-free at (866) 632-9992 (English) or (800) 877-8339 (TDD) or (866) 377-8642 (English Federal-relay) or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish Federal-relay).

Video: Sawing Urban Wood with a Stihl 880 and Alaskan Chainsaw Mill

Joseph La Macchia, who operates a design studio bearing his name in Milwaukee, posted this short video in which he used a Stihl 880 and Alaskan Chainsaw Mill to process urban wood. 

La Macchia pours out his passion for urban wood on his website:

Examples of Joseph La Macchia’s artisanship.

“When a tree can no longer stand in its truest form, I endeavor to turn it into something beautiful and everlasting that can stand in its place. These works are a collaboration between that idea, those felled trees, and my hands. They have crossed that same bridge from death to life on a journey toward what I believe is their truest expression. I know my work will not fit everyone’s aesthetic sensibilities. But it is my sincere hope that when someone encounters it, it compels them to stop and to take notice, and to move them towards the realization that something special happened here, something thoughtful, purposeful, eternal.” 

Learn more about La Macchia Design Studio.

See more of La Macchia’s videos.

Trace Software Simplifies Urban Lumber Inventory Management

Cambium Carbon’s Traece software was specially created for urban sawmill operations to track, sell and manage their inventories.

“Traece reimagines what inventory tracking is,” said Ben Christensen, co-founder and CEO of Cambium Carbon. “Built specifically for sawyers and millers, our platform is poised to support and grow alongside these partner businesses. We believe a thriving circular economy is built on scalable material management, and we think Traece offers users a simple pathway to scaling their urban wood salvage efforts.”  

Traece was initially launched in 2016 as Lumber Tracker. The software allows users to track slabs and lumber from a source tree through milling and drying. It supports a real-time inventory online sales feature through website integration. 

Additional features include:

  • Search and export specific product information and photos;  
  • Add inventory on-the-fly from a phone, tablet, or desktop;
  • Print QR codes for tagging, scanning, and location-based management; and
  • Access dashboards and reports.

Learn more at

Author Spins a Wonderful Tale about Repurposing Her Dying Black Walnut

InsideHook author Claire Young with a slice of “Sally,” the 70-foot black walnut that was converted into valuable lumber after it was removed from her backyard.

Here’s a great narrative about urban wood utilization written by Claire Young for InsideHook: “How to Turn the Dead Tree in Your Yard into a Wooden Heirloom.”

Young goes into impressive detail to explain how a dying 70-foot black walnut tree her family named Sally was removed, milled and converted into an heirloom table.

Young contracted the services of Adrian Plante, owner of Wood Urban Design in Crystal Lake, IL. In addition to its professional arborist services, WUD operates a portable sawmill to convert logs from removed trees into lumber and wood products.

In her article, Young offers a variety of useful tips for homeowners looking to “scavenge” wood from their dearly departed trees. She also goes through the urban tree conversion process from removal through milling options and discusses how she took up woodworking as a COVID-19 hobby.

It’s a fun read that should inspire like-minded homeowners to put their dead trees to a higher purpose. 


New IL Chapter of Urban Woodwork Network Slates Next Steps Zoom Meeting

Dear Illinois Urban Wood Stakeholders,
We held an exploratory meeting of for the Urban Wood Network (UWN) Illinois Chapter on September 20.  Sixteen people, including arborists, sawyers, municipal managers and woodworkers, were in attendance. We were also joined by Kari Devine of the Urban Wood Network. She provided information about UWN membership benefits including branding, marketing, and educational resources.
We got some great feedback from the Zoom meeting and an enthusiastic response to move forward. For those who attended, you’ll be receiving a follow up e-mail with a recap of that meeting. 
We’ll be holding our next UWN meeting to further explore the needs of the Illinois Chapter and establish a steering committee at 10 a.m. December 2.
I sincerely hope you will join us. Please sign up in advance.
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
Erika Horigan
Horigan Urban Forest Products, Inc.
Horigan Tree Care, LLC



Celebrate OAKtober

The majestic oak, the state tree of Illinois, is being celebrated during the officially proclaimed OAKtober- Oak Awareness Month.

The Chicago Regional Trees Initiative (CRTI) has created web pages full of information about OAKtober, including listings of local events. The CRTI even offers templates and other resources to you help plan and promote your own OAKtober event.

How, you might ask, does one celebrate OAKtober? The CRTI offers a host of suggestions, including:

  • Host an oak workday. Individuals can help to remove invasive species to improve growing conditions for an oak ecosystem. Or plant, water, and mulch oak trees.
  • Lead a walk through an oak woodland. Help participants notice all of the wildlife and plants that make up the oak ecosystem.
  • Host a talk. Have a local oak expert give a public talk and invite your organization’s members, and their friends and neighbors.
  • Find your largest oak. Identify the largest oak tree in your community or park, determine its approximate age and introduce community members to the tree and its history.
  • Engage the local schools. Encourage students to write essays or create posters on the importance of oaks to our communities and our ecosystems.
  • Hug an oak tree!

Learn more about how to celebrate OAKtober.

Cheyenne, WY, Braces For EAB’s Arrival

The emerald ash borer (EAB) continues to migrate across the United States, leaving millions of dead ash trees in its wake.

While the deadly beetle yet to be detected in Cheyenne, WY, the city is taking a proactive approach to bracing for its arrival, noting that is has been sited in Longmont, CO, as well as Nebraska and South Dakota. The Cheyenne Urban Forestry Division (CUFD) created an EAB plan in August 2019 and has begun implementing several of its initiatives, including removing and replacing ash in poor health and providing outreach to the public.

Using Tree Plotter, an online tree inventory system, the CUFD estimates that about 750 ash trees are on city-owned property and that there are about 5,700 ash trees on private property. Cottonwood – 1,800 on city-owned land and 15,883 on private property – is the city’s dominant tree species.

Measures of the CUFD’s EAB plan include:

  • Educating CUFD staff including taking workshops and hands-on training in cities affected by EAB outbreaks such as Boulder, CO, and Longmont. Training included sampling ash trees for the presence of EAB as tree removals or maintenance based on government agency and research programs.
  • Conducting inspections and collecting samples of any symptomatic trees reported by citizens or other entities.
  • Educating local, licensed arborists to be trained in proper sampling techniques and encourage them to inspect all ash trees as they do tree removals or maintenance. Ask that they report any suspicious tree samples they encounter to CUFD.
  • Maintaining EAB traps on city properties.
  • Removing and replacing ash trees in fair or worse condition.
  • Evaluating ash trees in good condition other pest infestations and treating them as necessary.
  • Educating the public to be proactive in managing their ash trees tol lessen the negative impacts of EAB once it arrives.
  • Enacting quarantines as deemed necessary to prevent the spread of EAB and associated regulated items beyond the area currently affected.
  • Establishing a marshalling yard to store and process ash wood separate from other tree species in a rapid manner to comply with quarantine regulations.
  • Implementing an urban wood utilization program.

Download the CUFD EAB Plan.


Twin City Closet Turns to Wood From The Hood for Reclaimed Ash Conference Table

Twin City Closet Company (TCCC) is mighty happy with the reclaimed ash conference table gracing its showroom in Mound, MN. The table, featuring a live edge top supported by a u-shaped base, was fabricated by Wood From The Hood of Minneapolis from 8/4 ash.

In a June 3 Facebook post, TCCC exclaims, “A big shoutout to our neighbors over at Wood From the Hood! Their wonderful shop reclaims and repurposes trees into beautiful wood products. When we opened our West Metro Showroom, they engineered a a new conference table out of an Ash tree. We’re proud to support their cause in preserving the natural beauty of Minnesota.”

Rick Siewert, co-owner of WFTH, says the ash tree used for the TCCC’s conference table was salvaged from within zip code 55406 of Minneapolis. “The table was designed by one of TCCC’s designers,” Siewert notes. “It has a light gray stain with a conversion varnish finish on it. The legs have an internal trough through them to hide electrical cords.”

TCCC also operates its flagship showroom in Minneapolis. The company has been providing the closet and home organization solutions since 1991.


Syracuse Designates $2M in Stimulus Money to Plant Trees, Combat Climate Change

Syracuse, N.Y. plans to invest $2 million of the $123 million in pandemic stimulus funding it received from the federal government to plant 3,600 trees over the next three years, according to a report by The 3,600 trees are part of the city’s new ReLeaf Syracuse program to plant 70,000 new trees by 2040.

The city’s Urban Forest Master Plan, adopted in June 2020, spells out the myriad benefts of a sustainable, healthy urban forest. These include improving the quality of life, boosting property values and combatting climate change.

On this latter point, the Urban Forest Master Plan includes the following two tables. The first includes Syracuse’s urban tree specicies that are most threatened by anticipated climate change. The second includes species that could thrive due to anticipated climate change.

How to Read These Tables: Negative change in Importance Value (IV) numbers mean a decrease in suitable habitats; positive values mean increase in suitable habitats, and thus no threat and in fact potential for growth. For example, if current IV = 3.4 and future model shows an anticipated change of -3.4, a total loss of suitable habitat is predicted for that species (Prasad et al 2007).

Click here to download Syracuse’s Urban Forest Master Plan.