Tag: urban forestry

Event to Highlight ‘Urban Wood from Coast to Coast’

“Urban Wood from Coast to Coast” is the working title of a three-hour session planned for the annual Partners in Community Forestry Conference Nov. 20-21 in Cleveland, OH.

This interactive session will tentatively include information and project examples from Baltimore, MD; throughout California, and the Upper Midwest region. The session will demonstrate how urban trees and wood deconstruction materials are being put to use as value materials through local networks across the country.

Supporting highlights being planned, include:
● Video Showcase: show series of #forestproud 5-minute videos on urban reclaimed and fresh cut wood;
● Maker Showcase: show examples of products, branding, and social media campaigns that work;
● Discussion and update of opportunities to connect urban wood with green market opportunities, including green building and certification;
● Explore the economics of urban wood: how to develop a business plan to launch a fresh-cut urban wood operation; and
● Engage in roundtable discussions on regional urban wood initiatives in California, the Upper Midwest, Baltimore, and other areas.

Katie Fernholz of Dovetail Partners and Sarah Hines of the USDA Forest Service are leading the effort. They are working with Pete Smith, urban forestry program manager of the Arbor Day Association.

Learn more about the conference at arborday.org.

Study: U.S. Metro Areas Losing 36M Trees Annually

A new study authored by David Nowak Eric Greenfield of the U.S. Forest Service concludes that the U.S. is losing some 36 million trees each year in U.S. metropolitan areas. That equates to about 175,000 acres of mostly urban forest.

The study, published in Urban Forestry & Urban Greenery, has been cited by numerous media and websites including Science Alert. The Science Alert article notes that the tree loss totals about $96 million a year in benefits such as removal of air pollution, sequestering carbon and conserving energy by providing shade to buildings.

Urban development, catastrophic storms like Hurricane Katrina and insect infestation are among the culprits to the nation’s shrinking urban tree canopy.

The researchers used paired aerial photographs from Google Earth to monitor forest coverage in 1,000 locations for each of the 50 states across the United States from 2009 to 2014, according to Science Alert.

Read Science Alerts‘ full article.

Webinar Registration Open: The Urban Wood Network – Join the Movement

Tuesday, April 17, 2018 / 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. CST

The Urban Wood Network invites land owners, arborists, sawyers, woodworkers and all others interested in helping advance the urban wood movement to participate in this free 90-minute webinar.

Learn more about the UWN, its goals and how to become a member. In addition, ask questions or share your input with how the UWN can best serve your needs.

The Urban Wood Network was founded in 2017 by individuals and entities from Illinois, Michigan, Missouri and Wisconsin who have been dedicated to building urban wood businesses since the early 2000s.  We united to promote and demonstrate urban wood utilization. We are doing more than just saving trees from a waste stream; we are giving them a second life at their highest use, whether its mulch and firewood or premium end products like furniture and flooring.

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 on a local level. 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 others to join this developing industry.

Plan on to join us for this webinar and learn how you can join the urban wood movement.  Speakers will include Don Peterson, Rich Christianson, Russel Hinnah, Jessica Simons, and Dwayne Sperber.

This webinar is provided free of charge, but pre-registration is required.  Register by April 13.  For additional information or questions, contact the Urban Wood Network at info@urbanwoodnetwork.org or 906.875.3720.


  1. Introduction
  • Bringing Urban Forestry Full Circle – A USDA Forest Service Grant
  • Founding Members
  1. The Urban Wood Network (UWN)
  • Mission
  • Membership
  • How to join
  • How can the UWN serve you?
  1. Future Webinars for:
  • Arborists
  • Municipalities
  • Saw mills
  • Value-added
  • Retailers

About the Presenters
Don Peterson is the Executive Director of the Sustainable Resources Institute and Wisconsin Urban Wood.  Don has led the development of several forest industry related associations and has facilitated large-scale mechanized tree removals in urban settings in Wisconsin.

Rich Christianson is Owner of Richson Media, a Chicago-based communications firm focused on the North American woodworking industry and is Communications Director of the Illinois Wood Utilization Team.

Russell Hinnah is a Community Forestry Program Supervisor and Certified Arborist at the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Jessica Simons is the owner of Verdant Stewardship, a consultancy with expertise in urban wood use and other natural resources management issues. She coordinates the Michigan Urban Wood Network and the national Firewood Scout program on behalf of the Sustainable Resources Alliance and provides ongoing support for Recycle Ann Arbor’s Urbanwood Project.

Dwayne Sperber, Owner of Wudeward Forest Products, is a supplier or urban wood, an industry advocate, a Wisconsin Urban Wood founding partner, and a member of the Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council.


This project is supported by the USDA Forest Service Northeastern Area, State and Private Forestry Landscape Scale Restoration Grant Program. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD). To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

On Demand: WERC Urban Wood Utilization Webcast


USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.

The Wood Education and Resource Center (WERC) in Princeton, VA, is an office of the U.S. Forest Service, Northeastern Area. WERC’s mission is to facilitate interaction and information exchange with the forest products industry to enhance opportunities for sustained forest products production in the eastern hardwood forest region of the United States. As part of its involvement with urban wood utilization, WERC conducts biannual conference calls that allow urban wood groups to exchange ideas and learn from one another. These conference calls are archived as webcasts on the WERC’s website.

The most recent webcast from April 2016 includes presentations on Tree Care Industry Association’s draft urban forest products standard; overview of mechanical harvesting of urban trees in Kenosha County, WI; updates from Michigan, Illinois, and Wisconsin; and an overview of Michigan State University’s Sustainable Wood Recovery Initiative.

Click here to download the April 2016 WERC Urban Wood Utilization Webcast.

Click here to view list of all WERC Urban Wood Utilization Webcasts.

Forest Fast Break Video: Urban Forests

Dovetail Partners hosts ForestInfo.com, which hosts a series of videos called Forest Fast Breaks. Each video is designed to convey complex forestry topics into concise, engaging animated shorts with sound effects and narration. The videos are suitable for third grade through adult learners.

Oregon Forest Resources Institute produced the videos. Urban Forest Fast Breaks related to urban forestry were produced with support from the North Carolina Urban and Community Forestry Grant Program.

See all Forest Fast Break videos.


USDA Forest Service Awards Urban Forestry Challenge Grants

USDA-Urban-ForestryAgriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the 2016 USDA Forest Service’s National Urban and Community Forestry Challenge grant recipients. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is providing $900,000 in funding to four goal recipients who will demonstrate how healthy urban forests can increase public health benefits, improve development and redevelopment efforts, and contribute to urban food production

“Urban forests are integral to strong, vital, and healthy communities, enriching the lives of the more than 80 percent of Americans who live in cities and towns,” Vilsack said. “The grants announced today will make important strides in innovative research and community projects that will help keep our urban forests valuable contributors to our daily lives.”

Forest Chief Tom Tidwell said, “As our urban communities grow and  confront rapid development and climate change, urban trees will be more important than ever by  providing  rich habitats, capturing storm water and helping provide clean air and water. The grant recipients will help to improve the public’s health, well-being and create resilient ecosystems for present and future generations.”

The grant recipients, whose work will highlight the economic and social value of urban forests, are committing an additional $1.1 million to their projects bringing the total investment through this project to $2 million.

In the United States alone, urban trees store over 708 million tons of carbon, which is equivalent to the annual carbon emissions from about 500 million automobiles. Urban trees help further reduce emissions by lowering electricity demand for summer air conditioning and winter heating. Well-maintained urban forests can help address climate and extreme weather impacts by reducing storm water runoff, buffering high winds, controlling erosion and minimizing the impacts of drought. Urban forests also provide critical social and cultural benefits providing places for people to recreate and gather with their communities.

The U.S. Forest Service, together with many partners, plays a pivotal role in ensuring urban and community forests continue to provide their life enriching benefits. In partnership with state forestry agencies, the Forest Service helps over 7,000 communities to plan, manage, and grow urban forests through the Urban and Community Forestry Program and the National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council’s Ten Year Action Plan.

The 2016 grant recipients and amounts are:

State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry,

A Decision Support System to Develop, Analyze, and Optimize Urban and Community Forests: $285,340 to create a decision support system for i-­Tree Landscape to allow forest managers and planners to achieve desired benefits and service from urban and community forests. Developed by the Forest Service, i-Tree is a ground-breaking interactive web tool helping communities identify and make the most of their urban trees.

Earth Learning Inc., Community Food Forestry Initiative: $175,627

to address tree canopy loss due to re-development by providing planners, decision-makers, and designers  with a comprehensive set of resources to integrate food-producing trees and plants into the urban landscape.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Dept. of Recreation, Sport and Tourism, Urban Forestry’s Return On Investment Tying Residential Nature To Health Care Expenditures: $278,383 to document the effects of urban and community forests on health care savings by examining the impacts of urban forests on major U.S. population groups, particularly the underserved, giving the findings direct relevance to communities across the nation.

Georgia State University, The Impact of Natural Environments on Symptom Expression in Children with Autism$160,650 to research the impact of nature on symptom severity in children with autism. A “Lessons Learned” document will provide best practices for working with children with autism.

For more information about the National Urban and Community Forestry Challenge grant recipients, please visit www.fs.fed.us/ucf/nucfac.html.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.

MSU Retails Wood Goods Crafted from Campus Trees

By Rich Christianson

Michigan State University (MSU) in East Lansing, MI, is graduating many of its felled campus trees into lumber, dining tables, picture frames and other wood products, rather than relegating them to the chipper for mulch and biofuel.

The university created the MSU Shadows Collection as part of its Sustainable Wood Recovery Initiative. The collectibles, ranging from business card holders ($25) and diploma-sized frames ($50 to $150) to an American elm Waterford side Table ($750) and walnut coffee and occasional table set ($2,150), are all produced by local artisans from trees removed from campus due to decline, storm damage or construction. The items are sold online through the MSU Surplus Store with profits supporting the MSU Department of Forestry and the planting of new trees on the university’s campus

According to a presentation by Paul Swartz, campus arborist, there are more than 24,200 trees on the 2,100-acre campus and approximately 3,000 acres of farms south of the main campus. In the past these trees and branches were chipped and used as landscaping much or burned as biomass fuel. But that was before the university adopted the Sustainable Wood Recovery Initiative, “a cross-functional collaborative formed to look at processes and development of comprehensive business plan for urban wood utilization on campus.”

Among the many highlights of the initiative noted by Swartz include:

  • Developing a model recovery and repurposing supply-chain system for trees removed from MSU for the development of value added products that provide economic, environmental and social benefits to the MSU community;
  • Creating a comprehensive campus tree management system that expands the current tree inventory, maintenance, and removal practices to include wood recovery and utilization;
  • Moving from “cradle-to-grave” to a recycling-based “cradIe-to-cradIe” plan;
  • Improving waste reduction and conserving resources in line with the highest and best-use model of solid waste management promoted by MSU Sustainability; and
  • Improving the university’s total capacity for carbon sequestration through long-term use of solid wood products.

The program is being directed by Dan Brown, wood recovery coordinator at MSU. Approximately 300 trees will be removed each year. Logs suited for lumber will be milled and kiln dried MSU in a 45-year-old steam kiln operated by students under Brown’s guidance. The kiln will dry about 10,000 board feet of lumber per year.

Brown attended the March 18 Bringing the Urban Forest Full Circle Conference in Oak Brook. He toted an American elm waterfall side table made by Michigan artisan Nathan Shaver to the conference that was displayed in the Urban Wood Products Showcase.

Hardwood Workshop Covers Logs to Lumber

Illinois Wood Utilization Team

Dan Cassens prepares to cut a log on a Wood-Mizer portable sawmill.

Illinois Wood UtilizationTeam

Prof. Cassens had an attentive group of students eager to learn more about hardwood properties and markets.

By Rich Christianson

Attaining the most value from hardwood logs, including those harvested from the urban forest, was the running theme of the Hardwood Lumber & Sawmill Workshop held Thursday, March 17 at the historic Mayslake Peabody Estate in Oak Brook, IL.

Prof. Dan Cassens, wood products extension specialist at Purdue University, and owner of Cassens Lumber of West Lafayette, IN, presented a mix of classroom and hands on instruction to an audience mostly made up of sawyers, woodworkers and arborists.

Some of the classroom topics Cassens lectured on included wood quality and characteristics, log scaling, hardwood grading pricing and marketing, optimizing sawing patterns and wood moisture and drying. All of the topics were geared to helping nimble custom wood producers better understand how they can successfully compete in hardwood lumber and product markets.

The classroom exercises were broken up by a mid-day sawmill demonstration. Cassens used a portable Wood-Mizer sawmill to mill logs provided by the DuPage County Forest Preserve into lumber.

The workshop was organized by the Illinois Wood Utilization Team on the eve of the Bringing the Urban Forest Full Circle Conference.

‘What to Do with Urban Wood’ Symposium Coming Jan. 7, 2016

The symposium will include a portable sawmill demonstration at Petrifying Springs golf course.

The symposium will include a demonstration of mechanized tree removal at Petrifying Springs Park & Golf Course.

“What to Do with Urban Wood.”

That’s a loaded question if there ever was one and the answers will be presented at the Symposium on Large Scale Urban Tree Removal & Utilization Thursday, January 7 in Somers, WI.

With the increased number of trees killed by invasive insects and disease, municipalities are trying to find the most economical way to remove trees, while also encouraging alternative uses for urban wood materials rather than disposal of them in a landfill.

This program will provide attendees the opportunity to learn about current urban wood utilization efforts, urban tree removal options, markets for urban wood and to participate in a panel discussion on the Kenosha County Parks Tree Removal Project. An outdoor session will include a demonstration of mechanized tree removal.

Speakers include:

  • Scott Koerner, owner of Koerner Forest Products, a multi-faceted timber harvesting and trucking company.
  • Scott Lyon,  Forest Products Services Specialist of WDNR, provides assistance to forest products companies and private individuals, including wood utilization and marketing plans for trees affected by invasive species, disease or storm damage.
  • Jon Rudie, Parks Director for Kenosha County, has worked for the organization for more than 40 years.
  • Kim Sebastian,  a Regional Urban Forestry Coordinator of WDNR, assists communities in building sustainable tree care programs with strong, local support through technical and public awareness assistance, education, training and resource development.
  • Don Peterson, Executive Director of the Sustainable Resources Institute ( SRI), has more than 30 years of experience with timber sales and marketing forest industry products; he has been working on urban wood utilization projects for the past 13 years.
  • Dwayne Sperber, owner of Wudeward Urban Forest Products, is a founding partner of Wisconsin Urban Wood, and was appointed to the Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council in 2014.

During the afternoon session at nearby Petrifying Springs Park & Golf Course, attendees will be able to observe urban tree felling and removal operations with mechanized logging equipment. This type of equipment has been used to remove large amounts of trees in several Wisconsin communities. Mechanized removal is one of the safest and most efficient tree removal methods and often a low cost option to remove a large number of urban trees under the right circumstances while also producing the volumes of wood needed to effectively market urban wood.

The program is being organized by the Sustainable Resources Institute, Kenosha County Parks Department, WDNR Division of Forestry, USDA Forest Services’ Forest Products Marketing Unit, and Wisconsin Urban Wood.

Registration is $20 per person and includes lunch. Click here to register: sustainableinc.org/events.

For additional information, contact Kari Devine at kari@sustainableinc.org or 877-284-3882.

Keep Spreading the News

NewsboyBy Rich Christianson

We have received awesome initial coverage to our press release announcing the inaugural Bringing the Urban Forest Full Circle Conference, March 18, 2016 at Hamburger University in Oak Brook, IL.

By my count, the press release has been posted by 11 publications and government entities. We thank the following organizations for showing our conference some love!

  • Illinois Biochair Group
  • Cabinet Makers Association
  • FDMC Magazine
  • Great Lakes Pollution Prevention Roundtable
  • Illinois Biomass Working Group
  • Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs
  • Illinois State Technology Center
  • International Interior Design Association, Illinois Chapter
  • Wood & Panel USA
  • Wood Machinery Manufacturers of America
  • Woodworking Network

Hopefully I’ve missed some postings and apologize if this is the case. Please do me a big favor and send me a link or a note to richsonmediapro@gmail.com.

In any event, there is still plenty of time to keep the promotional bus for the Full Circle Urban Forest conference rolling. Our next press release – coming soon – will focus on the conference speakers and topics.

Welcome to the more than 50 new subscribers who signed up to receive the monthly Illinois Urban Wood Update at last week’s highly successful Illinois Arborist Association Conference & Tradeshow in Tinley Park, IL.

Allow me to conclude by sending a huge WUT shout out to our friends at the IAA for being gracious hosts and great allies for the urban wood cause!