Why I Joined UWN-IL, By Max Brown, Glen Ellyn Village Forester

By Maxwell Brown
Village of Glen Ellyn
Village Forester

Working in Glen Ellyn’s Public Works Department and managing our village’s urban forest inevitably results in removing large trees for a variety of reasons. 

Currently, the disposal of logs from our municipal tree removals is performed by a paid contractor. The contractor usually hauls away the logs to process into woodchips for mulch or firewood. Over time, I began to think, there has to be a better way as I came to realize that this wood should be viewed as an asset rather than as waste. There has to be a better, more environmenally responsible use of these logs that would benefit our community and make sense financially.

It turns out I wasn’t the only one with those thoughts. I learned about the Urban Wood Network and how it is comprised of a group of like-minded representatives of municipalities, tree care businesses, sawmills, suppliers, manufacturers, and design professionals working to promote urban wood utilization and assist the development of local networks to get urban wood into the hands of people who will utilize it in more value-added ways other than just firewood or mulch.

I found that joining the Illinois Chapter of the Urban Wood Network is a great way to become involved at the ground level and help develop a program in Illinois that falls in line with the national organization’s mission to repurpose felled urban trees to their highest possible value. Doing so could potentially benefit hundreds and hundreds of people here in Illinois. 

Without a doubt, our urban forest is most beneficial when trees are alive and thriving. When a tree does need to be removed, though, I would love to provide these logs to someone who recognizes its value as urban wood so that can be repurposed as furniture, flooring and other wood products. 

The UWN-IL Chapter is working to make this happen. I encourage all Illinois urban wood stakeholders to learn more about the benefits of joining the Urban Wood Network and joining our cause.