Search Results for "illinoisurbanwood"

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.



Sculptor Adds Urban Wood to Her Palette

Chicago-area artist Margot McMahon’s works have been exhibited far and wide. Her sculptures can be found among private collections around the globe as well as the Smithsonian, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago Historical Society, Chicago Botanical Gardens, and Yale University to name a few.

According to her website, McMahon typically models in clay then casts in metal or concrete, welds in steel and carves in stone. But she also has had opportunity to use urban wood as her medium. Indeed, the carvings adorning this post utilized a 300-year-old maple tree that was downed in a 2011 wind storm.

Responding to an email seeking more information about the tree, McMahon replied, “The maple was in our backyard and on Lake Michigan a sailboat measured 103 mph wind (gusts). The wind came across Wisconsin and traveled along the bird flyway. It hit The Garfield Park Conservatory and broke every rooftop window. I was at an environmental meeting at the Oak Park Library when I saw the sky go dark and suggested we leave our meeting early. I texted the family to stay where they were and wait out the storm.”

McMahon said she had the tree cut into carvable sizes. Some of the log sections were 3 to 4 feet in diameter. “I found carving a 300-year-old tree meaningful,” she said.

McMahon’s local urban wood connections include serving on the Outdoor Committee of Chicago Sculpture International. CSI collaborates with the Chicago Park District on the The Chicago Tree Project to give “sick and dying trees a second life as a work of vibrant public art.” Her contributions to the Tree Project includes Perch – Preen, a dying ash tree turned artwork in Hale Park.

Learn more about Margot McMahon.

See related article about 2019 Chicago Tree Project.

 



New Sculptures Breathe Fresh Life into Four Dying Trees

The sixth annual Chicago Tree Project, a collaboration of the Chicago Park District and Chicago Sculpture International (CSI), yielded four new tree sculptures gracing Chicago public parks in 2019.

The Chicago Tree Project was started in 2014 when the Chicago Park District was faced with the question of what to do with thousands of trees that had been infected with the Emerald Ash Borer, an invasive insect encouraged by climate change that has been destroying millions of trees in North America for the last ten years.  The Park District approached Chicago Sculpture International (CSI), and together they created a program that would give some of these sick and dying trees a second life as a work of vibrant public art.

Over the years, artists have addressed the trees in a variety of methods, with traditional carving and various media that have been integrated into the trees.  The resulting tree sculptures have been wide ranging in subject matter as well, addressing scientific, spiritual and environmental themes.  These sculptures offer unique and often unexpected encounters for visitors to Chicago parks.  As long as they remain secure, the transformed trees remain standing. Seven of the tree sculptures have been de-installed in the interest of public safety.

Here’s a look at the newest Chicago Tree Project artworks.

Irene Hoppenberg
Lemon Tree
Lincoln Park
“My tree sculpture in Chicago is part of a series of various lemon trees which I have realized in the past. Lemons have a special meaning for me. I live in a northern country (Germany), and there, lemons are a symbol for the longing for the south, the sun and the light. My lemon tree in Lincoln Park is close to North Avenue each. This proximity to the beach provides a southern flair in summer and will remind people in winter of the coming spring.

“I hope that my tree sculpture brings joy to visitors to Lincoln Park but also serves as a visual comment how climate change could influence the natural environment and change its vegetation. The future of all living beings is the responsibility of each individual human and is defined by his actions.”

Anthony Heinz May
La Gioconda
Columbus Park
“Wisps of cubed block chains from woody material of a rotted and dying ash tree are reminiscent of singular human hair strands that might otherwise signify a frazzled, sick or unhealthy condition. The parody provides a dying aesthetic as found within ash trees, where what was once considered beautiful has succumbed to a slow death by infestation of the emerald ash borer. This sculpture simultaneously allows for death and demise of natural aestheticism while claiming a wholly human constructed one. In continuing direct blasphemy of Leonardo Da Vinci and his masterpiece (the Mona Lisa, otherwise known as La Gioconda), which is constantly appropriated for advertising and constant reinvention by modern lore for materialism—this sculpture from a dying tree is yet another example of conceptual theft of Da Vinci in title.”

Jonathan Schork
Thalidomide #12
Midway Plaisance Park
“Following up on tree-carving work I did in the Florida Keys during the ‘90s & ‘00s (partly inspired by the Ewing book, “The Body,” I was interested in creating the latest in a series called Thalidomide, this one number 12 in the series. The trunk and major branches are reduced to create a hand with fingers that have the appearance of a limb influenced by the pregnancy drug thalidomide, the concept being two-fold: 1. by questioning subjective notions of the beautiful and the grotesque, thereby destigmatizing anatomical deformities & amputations with a sculpture that celebrates unconventional morphology; and, 2. to continue to draw attention to the deleterious biological effects of drugs, toxins, and environmental pollutants on humanity, and especially on children and the poor.”

Susanne Ruoff
The Second Skin
Shedd Park
“A tree has died. It has lost all its leaves. With the project The Second Skin, it gets new leaves that cover and protect the old trunk.  The new leaves are cut from wood planks. This wood, too, has once been part of a living tree. Together with the dead tree, they create something new, something that hasn’t been there before.”

 

Visit the Chicago Tree Project’s website.

CSI Sets March 6 Deadline for 2020 Proposals
Chicago Sculpture International, in collaboration with the Chicago Park District, is seeking experienced artists and artist teams to give dying trees in Chicago parks new life. This RFP seeks an experienced artist (or artist team) to turn the tree into a sculpture:  beautiful, original, unique works of art that will become a distinguishing feature in the neighborhood. The approach can be additive and/or subtractive. The trees will be approximately 16-30 ft. tall and may include main side branches.

Artists will be paid a stipend of $3,500 upon completion of the tree sculpture.

Learn more about CSI’s Chicago Tree Project submission guidelines.

 



Urban Wood Use Action Guide Is Chock-Full of Resources

Photo: Urban Industrial NW

Vibrant City Labs has created the Urban Wood Use Action Guide, a new web-based platform dedicated to helping communities develop plans to utilize urban and deconstructed wood.

“Using recovered and fresh-cut urban wood to build and sustain vibrant communities.” is the site’s tagline.

Highlights of the guide include: 

  • Case studies, such as how Elkhart, IN, created value for urban wood in the wake of the emerald ash borer invasion.
  • Research on economic impact, waste management, product reuse and other urban wood topics.
  •  Urban Forestry Toolkit, a curated index of digital tools, apps, and calculators for urban forestry.
  •  Ssearchable library containing a curation of research papers, guides, ordinances and other resources deemed most helpful in making the case for urban forestry or making it happen in a community.

Access the Urban Wood Use Action Guide.



EAB’s Path of Destruction Continues to Widen

Click to expand.

By Rich Christianson

The Emerald ash borer (EAB), the shiny green beetle with an insatiable appetite for ash trees that jump-started the urban wood movement, continues its deadly march across North America.

According to the Emerald Ash Borer Information Network, a website maintained by the U.S. Forest Service, EAB is now found in 35 states and five Canadian provinces. When we last checked in March 2018 – see map below – EAB had been detected in 31 states and two provinces.

Added to the list of state’s with EAB detections within the last 18 months are Maine, Rhode Island, South Dakota and Vermont. The provinces of Manitoba, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia are also new to the map that is periodically updated by the Forest Service.

Florida and Mississippi are the only states east of the Mississippi that have yet to have any reports of EAB infestations. However, Florida, along with Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, and Wyoming have state EAB information available, according to the EAB Information Network.

According to the EAB Information Network, EAB “was originally discovered in southeastern Michigan near Detroit in the summer of 2002. The adult beetles nibble on ash foliage but cause little damage. The larvae (the immature stage) feed on the inner bark of ash trees, disrupting the tree’s ability to transport water and nutrients. Emerald ash borer probably arrived in the United States on solid wood packing material carried in cargo ships or airplanes originating in its native Asia.”

The network also notes that EAB is blamed for killing hundreds of millions of ash trees in U.S., private and urban forests. The USDA has attempted to enforce quarantines of infested areas to halt or at the very least slow the spread of EAB.

The Associated Press published an article on Oct. 7 noting that removal of trees felled by the EAB will cost Nebraskans more than $1 billion over the next few decades. “(B)ut local governments probably won’t be able to afford the cost and it’s not clear how much help they’ll get from the state.”

Missouri is another state grappling with EAB infestation. According to a Nov. 6 report in the Springfield News-Leader, the exotic beetle has been found in 16 new counties, bringing the total to 75 counties throughout the state. The article notes that the city of Springfield budgeted $75,000 for its EAB response. That money was used for insecticides to protect some ash trees and to remove others either in poor condition or poor location.

 



Wisconsin Urban Wood Assists $10K Tree Planting Project

MADISON, WI – Volunteers and representatives of Wisconsin Urban Wood (WUW), Dane County Parks and Catalent Pharma Solutions recently planted 250 trees at the Prairie Moraine County Park in Verona, WI.

WUW received a $10,000 donation from Catalent’s Corporate Responsibility Grants Committee to plant the trees in an effort to help offset the environmental impact of eliminating 250 trees during Catalent’s recent site expansion. Wisconsin Urban Wood worked with Dane County Forester Specialist Adam Alves to coordinate the planting. Alves and his staff will maintain the planting as it grows into a producing orchard.

Wisconsin Urban Wood (WUW) is an organization committed to the social economic and ecological benefits of urban trees. WUW’s motto is Trees First, Wood Next. WUW members like Dane County share the understanding that trees are most beneficial to communities when those trees are growing healthy and strong, but when urban trees must be removed due to circumstance, WUW’s goal is to find the highest use for the removed wood. WUW consists of a partnership of municipalities, arborists, sawyers, kiln operators, makers, artisans, retailers, architects, organizations and advocates who work toward this goal.

Wisconsin Urban Wood is committed to the social, economic, and ecological benefits of urban trees. Partners share a distinct understanding that trees are most beneficial to communities when those trees are growing, healthy and strong. When urban trees have to be removed due to disease, pests or circumstance, our goal is to find those uses that best benefit our local communities. We connect those trees with local processors and woodworkers so the trees can be used for their highest and best uses in lumber, flooring, furniture, art, architecture, and a variety of goods made from wood.

Repurposing urban trees after they are removed changes the way industry sees its supply chain. People who manage urban forests and those that use wood in their projects are finding opportunities to connect and partner toward building new urban forest product markets, building stronger relationships between clients, consumers and communities in the process. Wisconsin Urban Wood is working to build common understanding, language, commitment and consumer confidence in an urban wood brand shared by our membership. We are poised to help individuals and businesses looking to expand their operation or start a new business dedicated to urban wood.

WUW is a Wisconsin DNR Green Tier Charter Member. The WDNR Green Tier program is a free, voluntary program which helps businesses achieve superior environmental performance through environmental management systems. Wisconsin Urban Wood is the flagship member of the Urban Wood Network which serves local urban wood associations and individual members throughout the United States and beyond.



Video: Good Wood Guys Mill Huge Black Cotton Log

Editor’s note: Saw a Facebook post that The Good Wood Guys had joined the Urban Wood Network and decided to check them out.

The Good Wood Guys of Great Falls, MT, is a company dedicated to milling and crafting furniture from salvaged urban trees. According to the Great Falls Tribune, Chris and Susan Crocker launched Good Wood Guys in 2015 and regularly treat members of the community and local organizations to sawmill demonstrations and tours of their facility.

The company’s website notes that Chris holds a Master’s of Art in Secondary Teaching and has gained years of experience working in the lumber trade. Susan grew up working in her parents’ second-hand hardware store and has assisted Chris with everyting from fabricating heirloom table to remodeling projects. She is also a member of the Great Falls Woodturners’ Club.

The accompanying video is one in a series produced by the company. In their words, “Text Maxed out the Woodmizer milling this big (110″ length x 36-46″ diameter) Montana black cottonwood. Watch the Good Wood Guys get it through the mill and make some awesome Good Wood! Filmed October 2019.”

Learn more at GoodWoodGuysOnline.com.



CHICAGO FURNITURE MAKER DIGS THE VIBE OF URBAN WOOD


Brian Keith Ellison’s passion for design steered him away from a career in real estate development and toward launching BKE Designs to manufacture one-of-a-kind furniture pieces. Many of the pieces he fabricates at his Chicago studio incorporate urban wood reclaimed from greater Chicagoland’s urban forests.

Ellison said he has been using urban wood in some of his projects for about 10 years. Two recent examples of custom furniture BKE Designs designed and fabricated with urban wood are shown here. In each case the wood was milled by Horigan Urban Forest Proctus of Skokie, IL.

The first is a conference table for which Ellison book matched a pair of 11-foot by 24-inch live-edge white oak planks. 

The second is a custom console/entertainment unit which Ellison said was fabricated using an approximately 5-foot black walnut live-edge piece.

Ellison explained why he chose to use urban wod for each of the pieces created for separate clients. “The aesthetic goal of the designs made this material most appropriate.”

Ellison, who holds a degree in architecture from the University of Illinois-Chicago, honed his woodworking skills in high school. After 15 years in the real estate development industry, Ellison made a dramatic life changing move to Amsterdam to focus on woodworking and design full time. There he collaborated with the late Dutch designer Faas van Dijk for two years.

In addition to running BKE Designs, Ellison creates public art and volunteers his time to conduct woodworking workshops including for local youth and the Safer Foundation, a non-profit provider of services designed exclusively for people with criminal records.

for Learn more about BKE Designs.



Chicago Plans to Inventory Urban Forest Canopy in 2020

Photo: Morton Arboretum

The Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation plans to conduct a comprehensive inventory of the city’s urban forest canopy next year.

While the stated objective of the audit is to help create a more effective tree trimming schedule, information gathered should also be of great interest to arborists and tree care professionals, as well as businesses dedicated to urban wood utilization.

In a Sept. 27 letter to Inspector General Joseph Ferguson, John Tully, DOS commissioner, writes, “To continue to improve tree trimming operations, in the upcoming 2020 budget year, the Bureau of Forestry will work to develop a comprehensive tree inventory of the entire City canopy, which currently does not exist. This will provide valuable information regarding the number and location of trees as well as size and species. It will also provide information about electric wire interference within the canopy helping to inform the daily scheduling process for tree trimming and removals as well as the Department’s response to weather-related events.”

In an Oct. 30 press release, Ferguson called the tree canopy inventory a “step in the direction.” He added, however, “But (this) is only a starting point for an urgently needed generational re-assessment of the management of the City’s dwindling urban forest whose canopy is substantially smaller than many cities nationally. We strongly encourage DSS to re-evaluate the Monitor Group report the City invested in a decade ago, and work towards seriously implementing the recommendations for a grid-based approach to tree trimming. The benefits of more horticulturally precise and cost-effective tree trimming are substantial for the City and its potential for cost savings, optimized use of taxpayer-funded resources, and preventable liabilities. A thriving and healthy urban forest is critical to mitigating ever-mounting climate change concerns like the urban heat island effect and excessive storm water runoff, and recent studies have revealed stark differences across City neighborhoods that generally correlate with tree canopy percentages.”The Monitor Group report referenced by Ferguson found that DSS has largely used a reactive 311 caller request-based approach to identify trees for trimming. As a result of scheduling tree trimming on a case-by-case basis, city crews spend an inordinate amount of their time traveling to tree trimming sites, resulting in backlogs, allowing for many trees to go untrimmed for than a decade and some wards of the city receiving less tree trimming service than others.

According to the press release, OIG recommended that DSS employ suggestions found in Monitor Group’s report, which details the benefits of switching from the current reactive request system to a grid-based approach. This new approach (previously used by the City and commonplace for most municipal urban forestry programs) would make the Bureau of Forestry much more efficient, reducing the average crew’s travel time by 35% and the average cost per tree trim by 60%. It would also result in arborists determining how best to manage the urban forest rather than safety-driven resident calls, which constitutes an important added level of input to proper holistic management. In response, DSS stated that it will work to develop a comprehensive tree inventory of the entire City canopy within the next year, which will provide valuable information regarding the number and location of trees as well as size and species. However, DSS did not commit to switching to a grid-based approach, stating that it would require 15-20 additional crews to transition to this system, on a cycle of 7-10 years.



Urban Wood Standards & Certification Highlight Webcast

The latest in the ongoing efforts to develop North American urban wood standards and certification was presented during the Oct. 8 Urban Wood Utilization webinar organized by the USDA Forest Service.

The two-hour program is now available on-demand.

Jennifer Alger, president of Urban, Salvaged & Reclaimed Woods, provided the update on Standards for Certification and Chain of Custody (CoC) for urban lumber that have been in the works for over a year. She said a 60-day public comment period that closed on Sept. 30 garnered feedback from stakeholders across the country and Canada.

Alger said the proposed urban lumber standards cover definitions, processing, grading, drying and chain of custody requirements. She said the standards and related certification is needed not only to create guidelines for properly managing the urban wood movement from tree removal through the lumber mill. Certifying urban lumber that meets the standards will help build awareness about urban wood’s socio-economic and environmental benefits in the marketplace.

The webinar also shed more light on the strengthening of cooperation among urban wood groups across the country. The Urban Wood Network has created a steering committee comprised of Alger, representing the west region; Joe Lehnen, forest utilization and marketing specialist for the Urban Wood Program of Virginia, east region representative; and Dwayne Sperber, owner of Wudeward Urban Forest Products, Wisconsin representative.

Other presentations of the webinar included:

  • Outreach to Urban Wood Consumers in Wisconsin & Urban Wood Network Update by Don Peterson, executive director of Renewable Resource Solutions. 
  • Far West Forest Products – Using Salvage Wood (Wood Innovation Grant) by Alger.

  • CalFire Urban Wood Grant at work in San Diego by Cody Harrison, beyond sustainability specialist at Corona Enterprises and Tom Hamilton, CEO of LumberCycle.

The webinar was moderated by Ann Sarnecki, partnership coordinator of the USDA Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory, in Madison, WI.

Watch Webinar