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Forest Service Slates Urban Wood Utilization Webinar for Oct. 8

The U.S. Forest Service is relaunching the semi-annual Urban Wood Utilization Webinar series with an update on standards for certification and chain of custody for urban, salvaged and reclaimed woods

The webinar is scheduled for 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, Oct. 8.

The webinar will also include regional reports of the urban wood movements. Confirmed speakers include Don Peterson, executive director of Renewable Resource Solutions, who was instrumental in the launch of the Urban Wood Network, and Jennifer Alger, CEO of Far West Forest Products and president of Urban Salvaged and Reclaimed Woods Inc.

No pre-registration is required to watch the webinar. Simply log into 

The last Urban Wood Utilization Webinar was held in April 2018. Since then, Ed Cesa, the former host, has retired from the U.S. Forest Service.

Ann Sarnecki, partnership coordinator of the Forest Products Laboratory in Madison, is now in charge of the webinars.

 Click here to access archived webinars dating back to early 2015.

Wood-Mizer’s New SlabMizer Flattens Wide Slabs

With the growing demand for high-quality finished wood slabs in the woodworking industry, Wood-Mizer of Indianapolis introduced the SlabMizer MB200 Slab Flattener ideal for sawmill owners, woodworkers, and professional workshops. Built in the USA, Wood-Mizer said the SlabMizer efficiently surfaces and flattens wood slabs, boards, burls, cookies, and other wide material with minimal labor.

Compared to a traditional router or planer, Wood-MIzer said the SlabMizer flattens wider and thicker material up to 56 inches wide and 8 inches thick in less time using powered cutter head directional controls with variable feed speed. For larger capacity, a 5-foot modular table extension can be added to increase the material length. The company said a 72-inch width option is coming soon. 

SlabMizer Features

  • 56-inch maximum material width and 8-inch maximum thickness

  • 13-foot material length or longer with 5-foot modular table extensions 

  • Powered cutter head directional controls with variable feed speed or manual feed

  • 5,500 rpm 5-inch cutter head with five four-sided carbide knives

  • Orbital sanding head attachment for fine finishes

Greg Bacon, sales director of Wood-Mizer, said, “The SlabMizer satisfies the needs of operations producing high-value finished slabs and reduces the manual labor required to finish these wide slabs that are extremely valuable in the woodworking industry.”

For more information, visit

Wisconsin Urban Wood Slates Webinar for A&D Pros

Wisconsin Urban Wood and the Wisconsin DNR, in partnership with the Urban Wood Network, are organizing a webinar for architects and designers. Urban Wood: Using Local Materials to Enhance Design & Sustainabilty on Projects is scheduled for 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 2. The program is 

The type of material used in a construction project has a significant effect on the project’s sustainability and wellness goals. When considering using wood in a project, many architects and designers look for materials that are certified, salvaged or reclaimed. While these types of wood are sourced responsibly, they often are not sourced locally. Urban wood provides a responsible and locally sourced option for wood building materials.

This webinar will introduce attendees to urban wood, explain what it is, where it comes from, grade, characteristics, and considerations when sourcing. The presentation will explore how wood can support sustainability goals such as supporting the local economy, reducing waste, and how the use of wood can achieve wellness goals on a project.

The webinar is AIA approved for 1.5 LU|HSWs.

To register for this webinar visit

Maggie Pipek: Licensed Architect in WI, LEED AP BD+C, WELL AP Sustainability Specialist, NCARB, USGBC, Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council Member

Dwayne Sperber: Founder and owner of Wudeward Urban Forest Products, Wisconsin Urban Wood Founding Member, Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council Member

Learning Objectives

  • Identify applications for urban wood on projects and understand urban wood as a resource available to the construction industry, especially in light of the devastation from disease and insect.
  • Understand how to correctly specify urban wood for a project; ensuring that the architect, contractor and millworker acknowledge the considerations that are unique to urban wood.
  • Understand how choosing wood as a building or finish material can support the environmental and wellness goals on a project.
  • Understand requirements for WELL feature 87 Beauty and Design and feature 88 Biophilia.

This presentation is provided with support from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.


Fiserv Forum Design Firm Wins Wisconsin Urban Wood Use Award

Eppstein Uhen Architects (EUA), one of three design teams hired by the Milwaukee Bucks to design Fiserv Forum, received the second annual Wisconsin Urban Wood Utilization Award. The award was presented during a June 20 ceremony on EUA’s Milwaukee office rooftop terrace.

The award celebrates the innovative use of urban wood – beautiful, rich, unique lumber sourced from trees located on urban streets, in parks, on residential land or on commercial property. In the case of Fiserv Forum, all urban wood came from trees that once lived in Wisconsin, and much of it was reclaimed from Milwaukee’s urban areas.

Materials used in Fiserv Forum were selected to represent Wisconsin’s rich past of wooded landscapes and industrial manufacturing. EUA is being honored for using local white oak lumber in establishing the Northwoods-inspired look and feel of the concourses, incorporating urban wood-added texture, warmth and character to the spaces.

“When developing the design for Fiserv Forum, it was important that we consider sustainable wood that had a story,” says Jeremy Hackbart, senior project architect for EUA. “Wisconsin Urban Wood and the repurposed white oak we selected have direct ties to the local community and state. Whether they realize it or not, patrons walking through the concourses will be surrounded by wood from trees that once grew here – not trees harvested as building materials, but trees that were allowed to live out their lives in an urban environment, and then hand-selected for a second life in this stunning environment.”

EUA worked with Wisconsin Urban Wood supplier Wudeward Urban Forest Products to source nearly 20,000 board feet of urban white oak lumber that was used to make bar ceilings, concession fronts, and harvest tables on the main and upper concourses. The oak was installed in random widths to showcase the natural deviation of grain, knots, and clarity from one board to the next. The application spreads throughout the facility in an homage to the massive shade tree.

EUA also used upcycled Wisconsin Urban Wood for the dramatic 18-foot backdrop developed as the main feature in the exclusive BMO Club, a premium space located near the players’ tunnel, where guests can enjoy a lounge-like atmosphere before taking their seats. This visually stimulating mosaic was assembled from 3.5-inch squares of upcycled cherry, walnut and maple Wisconsin Urban Wood end grain pieces, machined with varying depths.

Understanding Urban Wood
When urban trees need to be removed due to failing health, damage, or construction, urban wood stewards, like Wisconsin Urban Wood, reclaim these magnificent resources, saving them from wood chippers and firewood piles to be used to their highest purpose. These organizations assure the trees are processed into lumber, giving the trees a second life as sound, usable boards that are perfect for flooring or millwork; decorative planks for architectural woodwork including doors, cabinets, stairs, and railings; and uniquely characterized planks for interior finish work like wainscoting, wall cladding, molding and trim.

Architects, interior designers, builders, homeowners, developers, manufacturers and furniture makers around the country recognize that using reclaimed urban wood not only repurposes these trees to their highest potential, but utilizes an abundant resource that, if resourced regularly, could fulfill almost one third of the country’s annual hardwood needs.

About Fiserv Forum
Fiserv Forum is a preeminent sports and entertainment arena in downtown Milwaukee that opened on Aug. 26, 2018. The building was awarded LEED Silver earlier this year. Designed by Populous, Eppstein Uhen Architects and HNTB, the venue offers incomparable sightlines, customer service, technology and amenities. Fiserv Forum includes 17,341 seats for basketball and up to 18,000 for concerts, with 34 luxury suites and three clubs. The new venue hosts a diverse variety of events, including the Milwaukee Bucks, Marquette University men’s basketball, major concerts, family shows and other sports and entertainment events, and has been selected to host the 2020 Democratic National Convention. In addition to Fiserv, Founding Partners for Fiserv Forum include BMO Harris Bank, Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin, Johnson Controls and Miller Brewing Company.

About Eppstein Uhen Architects
Eppstein Uhen Architects (EUA) is best known for designing environments that elevate people’s potential. More than 230 employees in Milwaukee, Madison, Des Moines and Denver demonstrate unparalleled commitment to the markets, communities and clients they serve. The respected 112-year old firm specializes in several markets including education, workplace, healthcare, senior living, student housing, mixed-use, entertainment and science + technology. 

About Wisconsin Urban Wood
Wisconsin Urban Wood (WUW) is a network of companies and organizations committed to the social, economic and ecological benefits of urban trees. WUW’s independent businesses and organizations are part of a 501c3 nonprofit network that reclaims urban trees for their highest and best uses – first for their environmental benefits as living healthy trees, and next for their wood after their growing years are over. WUW collaborates to divert removed trees from waste streams and is inspiring behavior changes and practices to maximize utilization of urban and community forest products. 

The Wisconsin Urban Wood Utilization Award is a sponsored award category presented by Wudeward Urban Forest products and funded in part by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Forestry Division and the U.S. Forest Service.  These institutions are equal opportunity providers. 

About Populous
Populous is a global architecture and design firm that designs the places where people love to be together, like Yankee Stadium, the London Olympics, and the Super Bowl. Over the last 36 years, the firm has designed more than 3,000 projects worth $40 billion across the world’s top cities, including the designing and planning of more than 85 arena projects ranging in size from collegiate facilities to major NHL and NBA venues. Designs for places like Fiserv Forum, T-Mobile Arena, Amway Center and Ford Center create emotional connections between people and the civic, sports and entertainment places and events they love best. Populous has 18 offices on four continents with regional centers in Kansas City, London and Brisbane. 

About Mortenson
­Mortenson is a U.S.-based, top-20 builder, developer and provider of energy and engineering services committed to helping organizations move their strategies forward. Mortenson’s expanding portfolio of integrated services ensures that its customers’ investments result in high-performing assets. The result is a turnkey partner, fully invested in the business success of its customers. Founded in 1954, Mortenson has operations across North America with offices in Chicago, Denver, Fargo, Iowa City, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Portland, San Antonio, Seattle, Washington, D.C., and in Canada. Mortenson has been a staple in the Milwaukee community for over 30 years working with customers including Kohler Company, Aurora Health Care, Marquette University, Milwaukee School of Engineering, the Milwaukee Bucks, and Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin. Mortenson’s Milwaukee operations employs more than 300 craft workers and professional team members. 


Texas Urban Wood Firm Focuses on ‘Tree to Home’

Refined Elements, of Dripping Springs, TX, near Austin, along with its subsidiary Texas Sawmill, is engaged in transforming trees salvaged from Texas and nearby states into “naturally inspired furniture” and other custom wood products.

Devin Ginther, president, founded Refined Elements in 2013 , as a live edge furniture business. He said he stated Texas Sawmill in late 2017. “We are working to become the largest urban sawmill in Texas,” Ginther said. He hastened to add. “(That’s) not saying much as there’s not much of a sawmill industry here.”

Ginther said he is an “active member” of the Urban Wood Network “We are focused on being advocates for the urban lumber movement in Texas. As a state, we are far behind (others) but are working to change that!”  

The photos that accompany this post are but two examples of live edge tables milled by Texas Sawmill and transformed into furniture by Refined Elements. 

“All of our tables are produced from salvaged and rural trees,” Ginther said. “We also provide the history of the trees on the bottom of all of our tables along with paper certificates. Most of the slabs used to produce these tables, we physically salvage ourselves, mill, dry, etc.  We do all the metal and base work in-house, too. 

The first live edge table in the slide show is made from a black walnut that was removed in Longmont, CO. It is believed to date back to 1867.

The other live edge table shown is from a Texas pecan born in approximately 1904 in Brackettville, TX.  

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‘Upcycle Urban Wood’ theme of Arbor Day Foundation Bulletin

The Arbor Day Foundation shined a bright spotlight on urban wood uitlization in its July-August edition of Tree City USA, a bi-monthly publication focused on tree care, urban forestry, replanting, arboriculture and more.

The most recent edition of Tree City USA bears the headline: “Upcycle Urban Wood: Putting Urban Tree Waste to Work.”  The abstract summarizing the bulletin reads, “Although it is the mission of the Arbor Day Foundation to inspire the planting and nurturing of trees, a fact of life is that some trees come down. It may be on their own due to storms, and sometimes it is through management practices as trees succumb to insects, encroach on wires, or become dangerous. What happens next is also part of good stewardship. This bulletin highlights all the ways people are putting tree waste to good use.

The bulletin is circulated to Arbor Day Foundation donors and also can be downloaded for $3 by clicking here.




Madison, WI: A Progressive Urban Wood City

Editor’s note: Madison, WI, has been a leader among U.S. municipalities in salvaging urban trees from the waste stream. The following information is featured on the Urban Wood Network’s website as a shining example of how a city can play a leadership role in the urban wood movement.

The City of Madison Parks Model (MP) works as a cost neutral trade between Madison Parks (Parks) and WUW partners. Parks provides the logs and WUW sawyers produce lumber for park benches, maintenance materials, and over time, finished conference tables. “Knowing the trees will live on makes us feel a lot better about having to take them down,” says Charlie Romines, Asst. Superintendent for Parks Operations “[C]utting the trees to preserve the log actually reduces fatigue and boosts morale for our crews.” The remainder of the wood from Park’s trees is kiln dried and available through local businesses. Many of the first logs removed under the MP quickly found a home in a local development featuring ash countertops.

The adaptive reuse of urban wood allows us to be sure that EAB won’t have the last word when it comes to our ash trees. We think Madison residents will share our appreciation for this silver lining to the loss of our ash trees and other park trees,” says Eric Knepp, Parks Superintendent. The success of this arrangement ultimately lies in the hands of local residents. When residents buy local wood, they reduce transportation emissions, reduce waste, and make it possible for local businesses to stay involved in salvaging the wood from these trees.

A sample of the WUW-Madison Parks Proposal can be found here.

Add Your Voice in Support of ‘OAKtober’

Editor’s note: Information for the campaign requesting that Illinois continue proclaiming October “OAKtober,” was submitted by the Chicago Region Tree Initiative.

OAKtober- Oak Awareness Month: A Brief History

  • In 2015, the Chicago Region Trees Initiative spearheaded a project to raise awareness about 
    • the value of oaks and oak ecosystemsneed to restore them across Illinois
    • the need to restore them across Illinois
  • Our partners sent letters of support to Governor Rauner
  • Governor Rauner signed a proclamation instituting October as OAKtober- Oak Awareness Month in Illinois.

Continuing to raise awareness
New governor, same request! 
In the beginning of August we are submitting an OAKtober- Oak Awareness Month proclamation request to our new governor, J.B. Pritzker. Click here to read our request.

We need your help! Here are some ideas for how you can get involved with OAKtober – Oak Awareness Month:

  • First, send a signed letter of support addressed to Governor Pritzker from your organization. Use this template or draft your own, and forward it to Melissa Custic by August 7.

  • Plan an OAKtober event! Check the OAKtober website for inspiration: lectures, family days, guided hikes, native plant sales, stewardship days, and more! Event flyer templates and the OAKtober logo are downloadable and ready for use. Make sure to submit events here with keyword OAKtober.

  • Write an article or blog post about oaks in your area: why they’re important, what’s going on in your neck of the woods, where to paddle your canoe for the best oak appreciation, what oaks and companion species you’ve got for sale, and whatever is most relevant & important to your community.

  • Post to social media and use #OAKtober. (Tip: Posts that are brief and have pictures are shared most frequently!)

  • Let us know what you are doing (i.e. send pictures, updates, flyers, plans, etc) so we can share and promote your activities!    

How to Get Your Urban Wood Business Featured

Aspiring to inspire, that is one of the missions of Illinois Urban Wood.

For the last four years, this website has featured profiles of urban wood entrepreneurs across the country and Canada. Their profiles and urban wood projects also have been included in the monthly Illinois Urban Wood Update that is sent to nearly 1,000 subscribers.

Getting your business and projects featured is as easy as 1, 2, 3.

  1. Send me one to four photos of a project or projects to
  2. Include a brief description of the project or projects. Even bullet points will suffice.
  3. Include a link to your website if you have one.

I hope to hear from you soon!

Rich Christianson
Illinois Urban Wood









NC Urban Forest Council Plans Urban Wood Use Workshop

The North Carolina Urban Forest Council will present Urban Wood Use as part of its 2019 Carolina Canopy Workshop Series. The event is scheduled for Aug. 23 at Reedy Creek Park in Charlotte, NC.

According to the organizers, “A tremendous amount of sound wood is wasted regularly in communities across the state whenever shade trees must be removed. Most is ground to mulch at a significant cost to the municipality, or at best, cut into firewood. This workshop is intended to bring together suppliers, processors, and end users of urban wood who recognize the value of the resource and wish to make better use of the material. The workshop serves as a step to further develop the NC Urban Wood Groups in North Carolina and to link potential partners.”


8:15 am     Registration

8:30 am     Welcome and Introduction

8:45 am     Certification Partnership to Support Urban Wood Utilization and Community Benefits

                 Katie Fernholz, Dovetail Partners, Inc

9:45 am     Washington DC Urban Wood Program

                 Duff McCully, District of Columbia

10:45 am   Break

11:05 am   Biochar – How it’s Made and What it Could Mean for Your Business

                 Bartlett Reseach Lab

12:05 pm   Lunch – provided by Arborguard Tree Specialists

1:05 pm     Expanding Business Opportunities in Urban Trees

                  Bill St. Pierre, St. Pierre Woodworking

2:15 pm     Virginia’s Urban Wood Program

                  Lara Johnson & Joe Lehnen, Virginia Department of Forestry

3:15 pm     NC Urban Wood Group Discussion and Next Steps

Reedy Creek Park (Shelter #3), Charlotte NC

For more information and to register, visit the NCUFC’s website.