Category: News

Video: Overview of I-Tree Landscape


If you can spare two minutes and 26 seconds, then this video is worth a gander. It provides not only reinforcement of why urban forests are important to our health but also a summary of the U.S. Forest Service’s i-Tree software.

i-Tree is a software suite that provides urban and rural forestry analysis and benefits assessment tools. The i-Tree tools can help strengthen forest management and advocacy efforts by quantifying forest structure and the environmental benefits that trees provide.

Since the initial release of the i-Tree Tools in August 2006, thousands of communities, non-profit organizations, consultants, volunteers and students around the world have used i-Tree to report on individual trees, parcels, neighborhoods, cities, and even entire states. By understanding the local, tangible ecosystem services that trees provide, i-Tree users can link forest management activities with environmental quality and community livability. Whether your interest is a single tree or an entire forest, i-Tree provides baseline data that you can use to demonstrate value and set priorities for more effective decision-making.

Visit the I-Tree Landscape website.



Urban Forest Craft Brewing Opens Amid Pandemic

Rockford, IL’s newest craft brewery pays homage to the urban forest.

Urban Forest Craft Brewing officially opened May 23. The grand opening was limited to curbside service due to Illinois’ shutdown of bars and restaurants due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The interior of the brewery’s taproom, including the bar, tables and floor, are made of salvaged hardwoods.

Urban Forest Craft Brewing

Alex Cando, who co-owns the brewery along with Heath Meyers, told the Rockford Register Star, “It was the name that came first. An urban forest is like, you know, a park in the middle of a sprawling city. We hope that our beer can be kind of that oasis. We really focus on the quality of our beers and want that to shine out in an increasingly more competitive craft beer market. Hopefully, our beer will stand out.”



Taylor Guitars Uses Urban Ash for Tonewood

From left to right: John Mahoney of West Coast Arborists (WCA), Bob Taylor and Scott Paul of Taylor Guitars at the WCA lumber yard

Taylor Guitars of El Cajon, CA, has launched its Urban Wood initiative by incorporating ash milled from community trees as the backs and sides of its new Builders Edition 324ce guitar.

In a video interview with Sweetwater Sound, Mike Ausman, key accounts manager of Taylor Guitars, said the company has found that shamel ash is a more sustainable alternative to Honduras mahogany for the tonewood of guitars, “and it’s growing in our backyard.” 

Shamel ash, also known as evergreen ash, is a fast-growing, wide canopy tree common in Southern California that can reach up to 40 feet high in 20 years. Taylor Guitar has trademarked the shamel wood it uses in its products as “Urban Ash.”

“This ash species happens to be a great mix of the right weight, density, dimensional stability and drying attributes, and responds well to sawing, sanding and finishing,” said Andy Powers, master guitar designer for Taylor. “In almost every physical way I can measure it, it’s reminiscent of really good Honduran mahogany.”

Taylor Guitars’ Builder’s Edition 324ce made with the new Urban Ash™

Taylor Guitars is sourcing its urban ash from West Coast Arborists (WCA) of Anaheim, CA. WCA, a professional tree maintenance and management company that services more than 300 municipalities and public agencies throughout California and Arizona. WCA has developed software that incorporates GPS tracking in creating a database that inventories more than 10 million tree sites.

“Urban Ash on a 324ce Builders edition is just the surface of what this wood is going to be available for,” Ausman said. “I think it’s really great that we have this sustainable source of timber that is available to us and I really think that’s going to resonate with our customers, guitar lovers and collectors because they want to be part of that story” Ausman said. “It’s going to get players and customers invested in how we go forward to make sure guitars of this caliber are going to be available to generations to come. We would rather make guitars out of multiple pieces of true sonic resonating material than exploring artificial material.”

Read expanded story and view video on WoodworkingNetwork.com.



WUW & City of Marshfield Partner on an Urban Wood Use Agreement

Wisconsin Urban Wood (WUW) and the City of Marshfield have joined efforts in a “Use Agreement” that serves as the conduit between the city’s logs and WUW’s sawmill and woodworker partners in the area.

Most people view trees as valuable, whether standing in a wooded grove or as a commodity on a logging truck. Strangely, we don’t value our urban trees in quite the same way. Cities, neighborhoods and homeowners lovingly plant and nurture trees to add beauty and value to urban landscapes and there are nearly four billion trees in America’s urban landscapes. Historically when these trees need to be removed due to death, disease, or development, their stories end; they’ve been just another thing to discard.

Every year thousands of trees are removed from Wisconsin’s streets, backyards, parks and other green spaces due to storms, construction, disease or insects such as the Emerald Ash Borer. This process costs municipality’s money and time while bringing little value back to the community. Much of this removed urban wood is suitable for lumber, flooring, furniture, art, architectural design and household goods. By establishing this urban wood use agreement, Marshfield can utilize this local, sustainable and renewable resource to boost the local economy and reduce community expenses.

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 the City of Marshfield 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, WUW’s goal is to find the highest use for the removed wood. Through the WUW partnership of municipalities, arborists, sawyers, kiln operators, makers, artisans, retailers, architects, organizations and advocates, those trees are connected 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 markets for urban wood products, while building stronger relationships between clients, consumers and communities in the process. WUW 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.

Through the use agreement, WUW members are granted access to the city’s marshalling yard to recover and remove city logs. The Use Agreement reduces disposal costs and the wood finds its way back into the community in beautiful ways.

Learn more about Wisconsin Urban Wood.



Video: Urban Wood Rescue of Sacramento

KCRA reports on how Urban Wood Rescue repurposes trees at the end of their life in Sacramento’s urban forest.

Urban Wood Rescue boasts that it has diverted approximately 200,000 board feet of lumber from the landfill. The lumber was milled from trees removed at the end of their lifespan in Sacramento, billed as the “City of Trees.”

Urban Wood Rescue is a program of the non-profit Sacramento Tree Foundation, dedicated to creating and sustaining a healthy urban forest in Sacramento through tree planting, education, and community programs for more than 40 years.

Local TV station KCRA, broadcast a feature about Urban Wood Rescue’s efforts to repurpose trees, which after being milled and dried, are sold as lumber and slabs to local woodworkers and artisans. KCRA’s feature includes interviews with Bethany Hannah, program director of Urban Wood Rescue and Mike Coffey, owner of Coffey Custom Builds.

Learn more about Urban Wood Rescue.



Urban Wood Movement’s Growth Focus of IWF 2020 Seminar

Free presentation at North America’s largest woodworking event will highlight opportunities for woodworkers to leverage the unique local appeal and environmental benefits of using urban wood.
International Woodworking Fair

August 25-28, 2020

Seminar Organizer

Seminar Organizer

Sponsor

ATLANTA – The Urban Wood Network (UWN), in partnership with the International Woodworking Fair (IWF), will present a free seminar, “The Urban Wood Movement: Expanding from Coast to Coast.”

The 90-minute session is scheduled for 1 p.m. Wednesday, August 26. This represents the third consecutive edition of the biennial event to feature a seminar devoted to urban wood utilization. IWF, North America’s largest gathering of woodworking professionals and suppliers, runs August 25-28 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.

“It’s amazing how far the urban wood movement has advanced since we held the first seminar at IWF 2016,” said Rich Christianson, editor and publisher of IllinoisUrbanWood.org, a website advocating the responsible reuse of felled community trees for lumber and wood products. “Since then, the Urban Wood Network has emerged as a rapidly expanding national association representing stakeholders up and down the entire supply chain including arborists, sawyers and custom woodworkers. We’re looking forward to sharing the latest information at IWF, including the creation of national standards and certification of urban wood lumber and products that will help drive market demand.”

“Lumber produced from urban wood can be utilized in a broad range of scales ranging from one-of-a-kind custom furniture pieces to large-scale construction projects,” said Don Peterson, executive director of the Urban Wood Network. “As detrimental as the wide sweeping urban tree mortality has been to communities, it has also made large volumes of urban wood available for conversion into lumber, providing enough resource for large scale projects.”

Christianson will moderate the session that will feature a trio of presenters, all representatives of companies belonging to the Urban Wood Network. They include:

  • Jennifer Alger, CEO of Far West Forest Products based in Sheridan, CA. Far West is a family-owned logging and sawmilling business that actively promotes the use of local native species and underutilized logs including reclaimed urban wood.
  • Carmen Rodriguez, chief marketing officer of Eutree based in Villa Rica, GA. Eutree is a boutique lumber mill that partners with Atlanta-area tree services repurpose trees as lumber, flooring, slabs and more.
  • Dwayne Sperber, owner of Wudeward Urban Forest Products based in Milwaukee, WI. Wudeward exclusively sources Wisconsin Urban Wood in working with architects, interior designers, builders, homeowners, developers, manufacturers and furniture makers nationwide.

The panel of experts will discuss urban wood’s unique local appeal, environmental advantages, finding local sources, business benefits and more. The presenters will also answer questions about urban wood utilization directed by individual audience members.

The Georgia Forestry Commission has signed on as the first sponsor of the IWF 2020 urban wood seminar.

For more information about the IWF urban wood seminar, including sponsorship opportunities, contact Rich Christianson at richc.illinoisurbanwood@gmail.com or phone 773-822-6750.

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About the International About the International Woodworking Fair
The International Woodworking Fair, owned by the Woodworking Machinery Industry Association and the Wood Machinery Manufacturers of America, is North America’s largest industrial woodworking event. IWF 2020 is scheduled for August 25-28 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. It is the “must-attend” show for manufacturers of furniture, cabinets, flooring and other secondary wood products. More than 30,000 visitors registered for IWF 2018, which featured displays of machinery and supplies from nearly 1,100 companies covering 1 million square feet of exhibit space. Learn more and register at iwfatlanta.com.

About the Urban Wood Network
The Urban Wood Network (UWN) is a national association established to inform, collaborate and connect to build business and consumer confidence in the urban wood industry. UWN’s membership includes municipalities, government agencies, arborists, saw mills, woodworkers and other stakeholders in the United States, plus Canada and other countries. Learn more about the UWN and membership benefits at urbanwoodnetwork.org.



Urban Lumber Business Strategies Theme of May 13 UWN Webinar

The Urban Wood Network (UWN) will present part three of its Future Visioning webinar series on May 13 with “Urban Lumber Business.”  UWN invites municipalities, arborists, sawyers, woodworkers, advocates and all others interested in advancing the urban wood movement to participate in this 75-minute webinar.

The Urban Lumber Business webinar will highlight proven strategies for scaling up and marketing an urban wood business. It will include how to use the new urban wood industry standard and chain-of-custody certification to simplify a business’s processes. The presentation will also walk participants through some of the bottlenecks that exist in urban lumber processes and how to overcome them.

This webinar has been approved for 1.25 CEUs through ISA: BCMA Management, Certified Arborist, and Municipal Specialist.

UWN Future Visioning Webinar Schedule
March 11: The Urban Wood Network: Future Visioning
WATCH ON DEMAND

April 8: Urban Lumber Standards
AVAILABLE ON DEMAND SOON

May 13: Urban Lumber Business

June 10: What to Do with the Rest of the Tree(s)

July 8: Forming a State Organization: Nebraska Urban Wood
REGISTER NOW FOR ANY OR ALL WEBINARS



At-risk Youth Learn About Urban Wood

Editor’s note: The following article was written by Lekas & Levine Public Relations.

That buzzing sound recently heard throughout Allendale’s Lake Villa campus was the sound of transformation at work.

Literally, it was a large hydraulic sawmill cutting fallen trees into slabs, the first step to turning those dying white oaks into timeless handcrafted furniture.

In a deeper sense, it echoed Allendale Association’s mission of helping youth who have experienced various forms of trauma and adversity find their strength and capacity, transforming over time into healthy, independent adults.

The new, repurposed wood program is a collaboration between Allendale — a not-for-profit facility for kids with serious emotional, mental and behavioral challenges — and Jeff Clark, owner of Old School Timber Works Company in Libertyville. Clark is passionate about repurposing Illinois’ urban hardwood, as well as teaching life skills to at-risk youth.

Woodworking has long been a part of Allendale’s Career and Technical Education Program, which helps students develop vocational skills. Its wood shop instructor, Rob Serdar, a third-generation carpenter, was seeking ways to develop the program when the opportunity arose.

“Our hope is to expand our students’ imaginations and capabilities,” Serdar said, “while providing locally-sourced, high-quality wood pieces that will bring exposure to Allendale and give students a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

In addition, Clark — whose company provides on-site milling services, sells repurposed lumber and creates custom wood pieces — believes students will benefit from a better understanding of responsibly sourcing their lumber.

The process is known as Tree to Table; i.e., repurposing fallen lumber into furniture and goods rather than dumping and chipping it.

“Over a billion board feet of quality urban hardwood is wasted every year in the U.S.,” Clark said.

“These kids were part of a sustainable process in which they created beautiful, white oak lumber, saving and repurposing a worthy asset. Maybe that’s a life lesson that goes beyond milling lumber.”

One day in December, Clark brought his sawmill to Allendale’s 120-acre, wooded campus. He cut several downed white oaks into slabs, while the wood shop students cleaned, transported and stacked the slabs in preparation for the next step: curing them in Allendale’s new kiln.

The kiln, a large space filled with fans and dehumidifiers that dry out the wood, was funded through a grant provided by the Grace Bersted Foundation, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee. The grant also provided for initial supplies needed to get the program running.

Days after the event, students were still talking about it and itching to get their hands on the wood. Since then, they’ve used it to make several pieces of furniture and decorative home signs. Clark is slated to share tips and techniques in upcoming classes.

As the students’ skills advance, Serdar said, they’ll start building more elaborate tables, shelving and benches, as well as cutting boards, Charcuturie platters and decorative wood signs.

Some of the benches will be placed around campus and donated to the village of Lake Villa. In addition, creations will be sold at Allendale’s community craft and floral sales, perhaps as early as spring.

The proceeds will not only fund the purchase of ongoing supplies, but benefit the students’ vocational stipends. Meanwhile, as salvaged wood products become increasingly popular, the kids are gaining the skills to secure a place in this growing field, along with an appreciation for the environment and a lifelong passion that will serve them well.



Slideshow: Nebraska’s Ash Wood Showcase

 
The creative output of more than 20 woodworkers and artists was featured in the Ash Wood Showcase held last month at Turbine Flats in Lincoln, NE.
 
The event, part of Lincoln’s First Friday Artwalk, was facilitated by the Nebraska Forest Service. More than 200 people viewed the furniture and crafts, a sampling of which is displayed in the accompanying slideshow.
 
“The response was incredibly positive,” said Heather Norbert, forest products marketing coordinator for the Nebraska Forest Service. “During the event we also had our forest health staff there to answer questions about the emerald ash borer. They said they talked to more folks at this event than they typically do at agricultural events. The Lincoln Parks and Recreation Department was there as were representatives from a few local wood products businesses. All in all the event was quite successful.”

The ash wood used in the showcase was donated by the city of Lincoln, milled by the forest service and dried at Big Red Sawmill in Palmyra, NE.

The emerald ash borer’s migration to Lincoln threatens more than 50,000 private and public ash trees. 



Award-Winning Book Celebrates Chicago Tree Project

Chicago-area Sculptor Margot McMahon, whose works with urban wood were featured here in a January post, is also the author of “The Fifth Season: The Chicago Tree Project.” The book won first place in the annual state-wide Mate E. Palmer Professional Communications Contest. McMahon’s salute to public tree art qualifies for judging in the NFPW national contest.

The book showcases 50 dead trees sculpted by 30 renown artists – including the author – gracing dozens of Chicago Park District parks.

From McMahon’s website: “The first section of the book is an explanation of the importance of keeping condemned trees in urban nature. The second section is poetry of the vital life within a dying tree including feeding birds, creating burrows for animals and interactions with the grove of like trees. The third section is a service workshop to care for the park and parkway saplings.”

The book, published by Lambert Academic Publishing, is available on Amazon

McMahon was recognized by the Illinois Woman’s Press Association with the 2019 Mate E. Palmer First Place Public Service Award for her contributions to the Chicago Tree Project. Learn more at thechicagotreeproject.org.