Category: News

Don Peterson, Founding Executive Director of Urban Wood Network, Passes Away

Donald “Buck” Peterson, a career forester, consultant and urban wood advocate, died of natural causes while working at his Crystal Falls, MI, office on Jan. 3. He was 65.

Peterson was instrumental in establishing the Urban Wood Network in 2017 and served as its executive director until late 2021.

Peterson graduated from Michigan Technological University in 1979 with a degree in Forest Management. He worked for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources for 12 years serving various roles including forest ranger and forest products marketing specialist. In 1997, he moved to the private sector and became executive director of the Forest Industry Safety and Training Alliance.

In 2001, Peterson founded Renewable Resource Solutions based in Crystal Falls, MI. RSS provided consulting services to help clients achieve their natural resource goals spanning a diverse range of topics including biomass projects, feasibility studies, urban logging projects, and timber sales. 

Read Peterson’s obituary.

Online Directory Lists More than 80 IL Custom Sawmills

In need of a local sawmill in Illinois to convert your removed urban tree into value-added lumber? Then look no further than the Illinois Directory of Custom Sawmills and Woodworkers.

The directory, produced by Jay Hayek of Extension Forestry at the University of Illinois, provides a map-based directory of more than 80 custom sawmill operators and turn-key woodworkers. 

The interactive directory includes the services of each operations, plus address and contact information. It’s a big improvement over the former PDF-based directory of custom sawmills in the Land of Lincoln.

The website notes, “This directory is a work in progress and is not meant to be an exhaustive list of all custom sawmills and woodworkers in the state of Illinois.”

If your custom sawmill operation is not included, contact

Access Directory

Wood-Mizer Anoints Sinker Cypress Desk As Top Furniture Project

Kyle Snellenberger’s hotel lobby desk made from a sinker Cypress log took first place in the 2021 My Wood-Mizer Project competition. Snellenberger said he pulled the log out of the Ouachita River in Louisiana. The log was milled into 3-inch slabs using a Wood-Mizer LT15 wide sawmill.

Wood-Mizer awarded more than $25,000 in prize credits to 30 winners in 10 categories.

Check out all of the projects entered, including homes, cabins, tables, bridges, barns, and more milled and made by Wood-Mizer portable sawmill owners.



Invitation to Take Part in Urban Wood Network-IL’s Dec. 2 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



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.

Traece 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

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.


Video: Urban Sawyer Awarded Grant from Cal Fire

NBC Bay Area news recently aired this profile of Nick Harvey, owner of Bay Area Redwood, as part of its “Climate in Crisis” coverage.

Harvey, a former scientist at the Lawrence Livermore Institute, now operates a mill to convert trees mainly milled in the area’s urban forest into lumber for custom furniture and other value-added products. He was recently awarded a forestry grant for Urban Wood and Biomass Utilization from Cal Fire. Harvey plans to use those funds to further his efforts to salvage wood from urban trees and to plant news trees.