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Invitation to Join the Urban Wood Network

UWN-logoThe Urban Wood Network (UWN) appreciates your interest and would like to invite you to join us.

Free membership is being offered through May 31, 2018.

UWN partners have been dedicated to building urban wood businesses since the early 2000’s and united to promote and demonstrate urban wood utilization. Our mission is to inform, collaborate, and connect to build business and consumer confidence in the urban wood industry. Firstly, joining the urban wood movement means becoming a valuable link in the urban wood supply chain. And secondly, it means connecting with other efforts around the country. The more we position the industry as a cohesive group, the greater awareness we can bring to urban wood utilization and the better access we can provide to those who want to grow with it.

The Urban Wood Network is committed to work in partnership with the full diversity of industry stakeholders to build a common understanding, language, commitment, and eventually, brand for the urban wood marketplace.

If you currently belong to another organization whose primary goal is promoting urban wood utilization, we are interested in that organization partnering with us and becoming an UWN member. You would then be a part of UWN through that organization. If there isn’t such an organization in your state, then we welcome you as an UWN member and will assist you in building an organization in your state.

What does membership involve? To be an UWN member simply sign the attached agreement, if you agree with the tenets in the agreement. Because of the funding we have received from a USDA Forest Service grant, we are able to offer UWN membership at no cost through 6/30/18. UWN will continue to work on developing our network, organizational structure, dues structure, sponsorships, and member benefits with the plan to have UWN fully functional as a service organization by then.

Download UWN Membership Agreement

Agreements can be sent via email to info@urbanwoodnetwork.org or by postal mail to 1353 W. Hwy US 2, Suite 2, Crystal Falls, MI 49920.

Thank you for your interest; we look forward to receiving the signed agreement from you. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

UWN Partners
Rich Christianson, Illinois
Jessica Simons, Michigan
Russell Hinnah, Missouri
Don Peterson, Wisconsin



The Urban Wood Network Launches New Website

Urban-Wood-Network-Home-PageCrystal Falls, MI — The Urban Wood Network, a multi-state collaborative project that is promoting full-circle urban forest management, announces the launch of its new website: urbanwoodnetwork.org. The website serves as an industry resource for those interested in: adding urban wood to their existing business model; starting a new company dedicated to urban wood; joining a statewide network for urban wood providers; or starting a new network in their state.

The Urban Wood Network is made up of urban forestry efforts in Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, and Wisconsin, working collaboratively to capture the full worth of community trees from seed to sawdust. This often means expanding the public benefits of urban trees, from shade to finished wood products.

Urban wood, which is wood processed from felled urban and community trees, can be used for a wide range of products. Any piece of wood that can produce lumber can be used for a broad range of general and specialty use products from flooring to one piece table tops. Lesser quality wood can be used for playground/trail chips, mulch, firewood, or pulpwood. The Urban Wood Network always promotes the highest use that is economically achievable.

“We’ve learned from experience that the only way to have an ultimate impact, to truly establish full circle urban forestry management, is to work cooperatively from arborist to value-added manufacturer,” said Don Peterson, on behalf of the Urban Wood Network. “A cohesive supply chain is the only way to get the highest product from these trees. Now, we want to use our collective experiences to assist other businesses and other states to join this developing industry.”

Keys to Success
Urban wood success stories are a main feature of urbanwoodnetwork.org. The success stories highlight municipalities, arborists, sawmills, suppliers, manufacturers and makers, and design professionals that have put urban trees to better use, and demonstrate the social and economic benefits of doing so.

An interview with Recycle Ann Arbor’s Kirk Lignell tells how the urban wood supplier located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, grew dramatically after the Emerald Ash Borer destroyed local ash trees. Now Recycle Ann Arbor’s urban wood supply chain includes six different sawmills. Customers range from artisans to furniture makers.

The City of Eau Claire success story tells how this municipality partners with local sawmills through a Use Agreement, allowing them access the city’s marshalling yard to recover and utilize removed trees.

Full Circle Grant
In 2014, the four states of the Urban Wood Network received funding support for their project “Bringing Urban Forestry Full Circle: Localized Approaches for Capturing Value and Enhancing Public Benefits of Urban Forests.” Funding is from the USDA Forest Service Northeastern Area, State and Private Forestry Landscape Scale Restoration Grant Program.

The project aims to build regional and national awareness of the urban wood market, strengthen the urban wood supply chain, and build a common platform for the urban wood marketplace.

“It is interesting how many partners have been involved over the years, so many people at different levels trying to work together to create a strong market for urban wood products,” said Jessica Simons, on behalf of the Sustainable Resources Alliance in Michigan. “It says a lot about this kind of movement when different agencies, organizations, and businesses are excited to work together to make it happen.”

About the Urban Wood Network
The Urban Wood Network seeks to inform, collaborate, and connect to build community, business and consumer confidence in the urban wood industry. It is made up of individual and organizational efforts in Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, and Wisconsin that have been dedicated to building urban wood awareness since the early 2000s. They are united today to promote and demonstrate urban wood utilization. Learn more at www.urbanwoodnetwork.org



Treecycle America Entrepreneur Forges an Urban Wood Network

Treecycle AmericaUsually when a tree care service, sawmill or custom woodworking business takes a shining to urban wood, the owner sets out to forge a network to sustain his business.

Treecycle America of Charlotte, NC, takes the opposite approach. The company was launched to create an urban wood network of tree care, sawmill and woodworking vendors to put felled and fallen trees in the greater Charlotte area to their best possible use. The company’s website proclaims that Treecycle America is a “Certified Urban Forestry & Local Marketplace. A collaborative network of certified architects, designers, developers, municipalities, arborists, sawmills, woodworkers, and makers embracing the common goal of using urban trees to their fullest potential.”

One of the novelties of Treecycle America’s Market, is its TreeID chain of custody system. It allows consumers to view the map and history of the trees used to create products. The product mix includes kiln-dried lumber, live edge slabs, furniture, fireplace mantels, DIY kits and handmade artisan crafts.

Damon Barron, co-founder of Treecycle America, was a featured speaker at the 2015 TEDx conference in Charlotte. The TED conferences are infamous for featuring speakers at the forefront of the convergence of Technology, Entertainment and Design. Each speaker is required to present their topic in 18 minutes or less. Barron accomplished his spiel in less than 12 minutes based on the video below.

Barron, who accumulated more than 15 years in commercially forested lumber and wood products, said, “I see a vision to the future of 10 billion inhabitants and the need to pay more attention to the local resource at hand, regardless where that might be.”

Learn more about Treecycle America at treecycleamerica.com



Video: Introducing the Urban Salvaged & Reclaimed Woods Network

Jennifer Alger, CEO of Far West Forest Products in Sheridan, CA, is a long-time proponent of repurposing trees salvaged from the urban forest, as lumber and wood products. She recently took the lead in launching the Urban Salvage & Reclaimed Wood Network to bring together urban wood stakeholders west of the Rockies. Alger will participate in the expert panel assembled for the seminar, “The Urban Wood Revolution Is NOW! Come Join the Network,” scheduled for Aug. 24 at the International Woodworking Fair in Atlanta.

Learn more about Urban Salvaged & Reclaimed Woods Network.



CHECK IT OUT: URBANWOODNETWORK.ORG IS UP & RUNNING!

The big news in this month’s Illinois Urban Wood Update is that UrbanWoodNetwork.org is live and serving as a beacon to urge all who visit – municipal mangers, arborists, sawyers, lumber sellers, woodworkers, designers and more – to “Join the Movement.”

Urban Wood Network’s mission manifold: “to inform, collaborate, and connect to build business and consumer confidence in the urban wood industry. Whether you are looking to expand your existing model or want to start a new business dedicated to urban wood, click here to see how we can help you be successful.”

The website’s launch represents a collaboration of the wood utilization teams of the four states participating in the Bringing the Urban Forest Full Circle project funded by the U.S. Forest Service: Illinois, Michigan, Missouri and Wisconsin.

This is only phase one. Websites are created to change with the times. The Urban Wood Network welcomes and encourages your feedback to make the site more valuable and relevant.

Also featured in the July Update is a pair of worth-a-look videos:
First, watch how Tom Hogard, a.k.a. Tom The Sawyer found a solution to milling a 5,000-pound burr oak log that was way too big for his portable sawmill to handle.

Then, watch and listen to the urban wood “elevator pitch” succinctly uttered by Sean O’Brien, owner of Pacific Coast Lumber.

Finally, kudos to our brethren in Virginia for organizing the Mid-Atlantic Urban Wood Conference set for Aug. 15-16 in Richmond, VA. It’s great to see so many exciting urban wood activities springing up all over the nation.

Until next time, don’t forget to share your urban wood news!

Enjoy the issue.

Rich Christianson
Communications Director
Illinois Wood Utilization Team

READ THE JULY ILLINOIS URBAN WOOD UPDATE



Save the Date: 2016 Urban Wood Conference & Networking Event

McDonald's-CampusThe unique opportunities and benefits of developing and sustaining an urban wood marketplace will be thoroughly explored at “Bringing the Urban Forest Full Circle,” a conference and table top exhibition scheduled for Friday, March 18, 2016 at Hamburger University in Oak Brook, IL.

The event is being organized by the Illinois Wood Utilization Team (WUT), a broad-based group dedicated to promoting the harvest and best use of wood cultivated from urban and community trees. WUT members include representatives of state and municipal government agencies, arborists, land managers, sawyers, lumber distributors, architects, designers, woodworkers, green builders and academia.

The Bringing the Urban Forest Full Circle Conference will provide a vital forum for all urban forestry stakeholders to address the steps needed to create and sustain a viable value-added market for lumber salvaged from trees removed or harvested from urban forests which includes trees on private and public lands in and around cities of all sizes. Urban trees capable of being processed into quality lumber include those infested by the emerald ash borer, damaged by storms, removed by public utilities and other life-ending causes.

The conference will focus on industry best practices for urban tree removal and milling through wood product manufacturing and marketing.

Hamburger University, situated on McDonald’s heavily wooded, 80-acre corporate campus near several major expressways, is an ideal location for the Bringing the Urban Forest Full Circle Conference. McDonald’s has a long history of environmental stewardship of its campus forest and in recent years has lost hundreds of trees to the emerald ash borer.

The emerald ash borer is considered the most destructive pest to ever invade North American forests. The exotic beetle is blamed for killing tens of millions of trees in more than 20 states and several Canadian provinces. Up to now, the vast majority of these terminally infested trees upon removal have been expeditiously chipped or ground into mulch. Fact is the majority of these ash trees contain perfectly usable wood that can readily be turned into lumber for making furniture, cabinets, flooring and other secondary wood products. The end game of the Bringing the Urban Forest Full Circle Conference is to rally all stakeholders to take action and give these dying urban forest trees a second life as functional and decorative furnishings and objects.

“Reclaiming valuable wood products from felled tree landscape trees is just a smart idea,” said Edith Makra, chairman of the Illinois Wood Utilization Team. “There are so many stakeholders – from arborists who must fell trees and industries who make wood products to consumers who find the story of urban compelling. The aim of our conference is to link these key players in the supply chain to spark an innovative, sustainable urban wood products industry in our region.”

Additional information about the Bringing the Urban Forest Full Circle Conference, including registration, sponsorship and display table details, will be posted at IllinoisUrbanWood.org as they become available.

To learn more about attending, sponsoring or exhibiting at the conference, contact Rich Christianson, conference director, at richsonmediapro@gmail.com, 773-822-6750.

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About the Illinois Wood Utilization Team
Founded in 2007, the Illinois Wood Utilization Team is a network of land managers, professionals in the wood products industry, natural resource and green building experts and artisans dedicated to promoting and developing a sustainable market place for achieving the best possible use of trees felled in the urban forest. The Illinois WUT is part of a four-state grant project funded through the USDA Forest Service Northeastern Area. Other grant partners include the Southeast Michigan Resource Conservation and the Southeast Michigan Resource Conservation and Development Council and Recycle Ann Arbor; the Missouri Department of Conservation; and the Sustainable Resources Institute Inc. and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

 



ALOHA STATE’S GOT URBAN WOOD

Chicago, Milwaukee, Kansas City and Ann Arbor. There’s no need to think twice about any of those cities being bountiful sources of urban wood. But Kamuela, HI?

I find cause to pause.

Kamuela is on the Big Island of Hawaii and home to Kamuela Hardwoods. The company’s successful urban wood business is perhaps the most intriguing episode of Wood-Mizer’s Urban Sawmilling Series of videos.
Alex Woodbury, a woodworker, who co-founded the business with Josh Greenspan, an ISA certified arborist, says, “Up until recently, as much as 33% of our waste stream produced by our small island population of under 200,000 people was in the form of green waste, and in that green waste was an untold number of millable urban trees. For almost a decade we’ve been diverting some of that waste and producing beautiful sustainable lumber with it.”

Learn more and watch the video about this 49th-stage urban wood enterprise in this month’s Illinois Urban Wood Update.

If you are in a video watching mode, then check out the short presentation produced by Forest Proud that celebrates the omni importance of urban forests.

Also, in this month’s issue, read about Lumber Woman & Co., an urban wood business run by Tina Albright of Topeka, KS. It’s another story of homeowner who had a V8-moment about the potential of putting community trees to good use after researching what to do about a tree that needed to come down on her property.

Plus, the city of Greenfield, WI, represents a case study of how a community can take the initiative to repurpose tree removals into lumber and other wood products. The Greenfield Model is one of many inspirational stories shared by the Urban Wood Network.

Finally, speaking about the Urban Wood Network, learn how to become a member and the benefits that come with it. The initial paid membership drive has netted more than 35 founding members. For only $50 you can join these companies and entities and help shape plans to forward the urban wood movement.

Enjoy!

Rich Christianson
Communications Director
Illinois Wood Utilization Team
info@illinoisurbanwood.org

READ THE MARCH ILLINOIS URBAN WOOD UPDATE



The Greenfield, WI, Urban Wood Model

Greenfield, WI, a Tree City USA, has developed the Greenfield Model to repurpose trees removed by the city into lumber and other value-added products. The Greenfield Model is based on the Milwaukee Model and consists of three key players: the city, a container company and a medium-sized sawmill.

The model in use begins with training city tree crews in tree removal practices that that preserve their wood whenever possible. Greenfield estimates that it up to 30% of its tree removals are eligible for milling at Kettle Moraine Hardwoods, its sawmill partner. Sawn and dried lumber is sold to area companies and individuals. The other trees are used for things like pallets, mulch, biofuel, animal bedding, and firewood.

Read more about this Wisconsin Urban Wood success story on the Urban Wood Network’s website.

The GM began as a project between Wisconsin Urban Wood and the City of Greenfield and was facilitated by a 2016 grant from the WIDNR Urban Forestry Division.



CAN CERTIFICATION DRIVE URBAN WOOD MARKET DEMAND?

Dovetail Partners has released a new report, “Increasing Urban Wood Use Awareness and Product Demand: An analysis of green market opportunities.” The report includes an analysis of “existing programs used in the management and care of the urban forest to identify areas of alignment and potential for green market opportunities. The analysis included identifying needs and gaps in addressing urban wood use and opportunities to increase awareness and product demand.”

Among the opportunities summarized in the report include green markets related to third-party forest certification programs and third-party forest certification chain-of-custody programs.

A link to download the report for free is included in this month’s Illinois Urban Wood Update.

On the subject of links, we got a bunch of them in the article about the new Urban Wood Toolkit. The kit includes a series of six bulletins running the gamut from Bulletin #1: A Guide for Creating Urban Wood Utilization Plans to Bulletin #6: Recommended Resources for Building an Urban Wood Use Plan. Also included is a link to the Urban Toolkit webinar that the Urban Wood Network organized last month.

The Urban Wood Toolkit was designed to be used by municipal foresters, city managers, community volunteers, or students who are interested in finding the highest and best use for removed urban and community trees.

And, speaking about the Urban Wood Network, learn how to become a member and the benefits that come with it. The annual membership dues is only $50 per company. It’s a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor of planning the future direction of this erstwhile organization.

Read all of this and more in the Update.

Enjoy!

Rich Christianson
Communications Director
Illinois Wood Utilization Team
info@illinoisurbanwood.org

READ THE FEBRUARY ILLINOIS URBAN WOOD UPDATE



UWN Q&A: Tim O’Neill, Urban Lumber Company

Tim O’Neill, owner of the Urban Lumber Company, has been salvaging wood from Kansas City’s urban forest to sell to local woodworkers since 2012.

The Urban Lumber Company has grown leaps and bounds since its humble roots operating out of a garage and now operates as an independent LLC from Missouri Organic Recycling. As of November 2018, The Urban Lumber Company’s website boasts that it has recycled a total of 1,149,822 pounds of wood and yielded 157,170 board feet of lumber from its sawmill operation.

While the company sources wood from municipalities and individual homeowners, O’Neill says, “(O)ur biggest and best source for logs are developers and architects for larger construction projects. When construction companies have to do a major demo, they bring us in to grab logs off of the site. This helps them, and it softens the impact of new construction, both environmentally and socially.”

Read the full interview on UrbanWoodNetwork.org.