Whether we and our politicians know it or not, Nature is party to all our deals and decisions, and she has more votes, a longer memory, and a sterner sense of justice than we do.
I traveled to Kirkland this week to observe the planning process of a ‘Nature Explore’ playground at a new pre-school. Nature Explore is a collaborative program of Arbor Day Foundation and Dimensions Educational Research Foundation that supports learning through nature and outdoor classrooms. The owner of the pre-school, which is designed for infants through kindergarten, recognizes the value of connecting kids, even the tiny ones, to nature through interactive learning opportunities and play in natural settings. This will be no ordinary preschool, but one that recognizes and supports, through hands-on experiential learning, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (termed STEM curriculum by educators). I’m excited to see the conceptual design for the play area, and will be sure to share it with Tree Link readers.
Getting children involved in hands-on outdoor learning activities helps them develop an awareness of nature and to learn environmental stewardship. But beyond that, it is just healthy to be outside. Research shows that individuals that feel connected to nature have better physical, mental and emotional health. And even small ‘doses’ of nature can lower stress, increase focus, and raise energy levels.
Summer is a great time of the year to get out and appreciate our amazing natural resources, including the urban forest. I hope you have the opportunity to grab more than a small a dose of nature, enjoy the urban forest, and to find an opportunity to share with the young-ones among us.
By Linden J. Lampman, program manager, DNR Urban and Community Forestry Program
The first two installments of the DNR Urban Forestry Program’s new seminar, “Asset Management for Community Trees,” held in Ellensburg and Chelan, were advertised directly (by email) to potential participants in those regions of the state. However, this approach was less effective than we expected, and we’ve received a number of questions about the registration process for other events, prompting us to rethink our direct-email approach.
So, we’re taking this opportunity to announce an open registration process for any of the upcoming seminars. Simply send an email to email@example.com and indicate which seminar you want to register for by listing the name of the host city (see below) and provide the name of your organization, as well as the first and last names of the individuals from your organization who wish to reserve a seat. We will confirm receipt of your email RSVP and follow up with specific event details 7-10 days in advance of each individual seminar.
Municipal staff are our target audience, however, the invitation is not exclusive; other public employees, non-profit staff, and community volunteers are welcome to attend. No International Society of Arboriculture (ISA)
continuing education units will be offered, but we are pursuing and intend to offer certification maintenance credits for American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) planners.
This seminar will explore options for inventorying public trees, information-based strategies for managing your community forest, and tips on how to make the most of a tree inventory or similar type of natural resource assessment.
Each seminar will take place from approximately 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Seminars will be free of charge; however, all attendees must register in advance and provide their own lunches.
The following is a list of seminar dates with the host cities and associated regions for each one:
- June 9: Vancouver; Southwest Washington
- June 11: Olympia; South Puget Sound
- August 25: Poulsbo; Peninsula
- August 27: Mount Vernon; Northwest Washington
- September 15: Bellevue; Seattle Area
- October 13: Tri Cities; Mid-Columbia
- October 15: Spokane; Spokane Area
A sample agenda is as follows, though it is subject to change based on feedback from prior seminar events:
9:00-9:30: Attendees arrive
9:30-9:45: Welcome and introductions
9:45-10:15: Introduction to Asset Management for Trees
10:15-10:45: Tools and Technologies for Natural Resource Inventory
10:45-12:00: Field Exercise: Collecting Tree Inventory Data
12:00-12:30: Break for Lunch
12:30-1:00: What Data to Collect and Why
1:00-1:45: Making your Inventory Work for you
1:45-2:15: DNR Inventory Grants
The Washington Community Forestry Council (WCFC) is soliciting nominations for their Urban Forest Stewardship Award. The award is typically presented at each meeting of the Council, which takes place in different locations throughout Washington state, four times per year. The next meeting will be held in North Bend on Wednesday, September 12.
If you know a deserving individual or organization in the King County region, please consider submitting a nomination for the September award. A copy of the nomination form with instructions can be downloaded here.
Urban Forest Stewardship Award Criteria
The award will be presented to individuals who best meet the following criteria:
- Demonstrated continued interest and participation in community beautification, habitat restoration or forestry programs.
- Provided extraordinary services without the motive for financial reward.
- Are known for their leadership and services among their fellow volunteers and within their communities.
- Have not received a high degree of formal recognition for their contributions to urban and community forestry.
- Participated in or been responsible for organizing an activity that is consistent with the purpose of the Washington State Department of Natural Resources Urban and Community Forestry Program and the mission of the Washington Community Forestry Council.*
- Participated in or been responsible for organizing an activity that is consistent with the local jurisdiction’s urban and community forestry objectives. The local jurisdiction may include city, county or tribal governments or authorized advisory committees such as Tree Boards.
* The purpose of the Washington State Urban and Community Forestry Program is to “educate citizens and decision-makers about the economic, environmental, psychological and aesthetic benefits of trees and to assist local governments, citizen groups and volunteers in planting and sustaining healthy trees and vegetation wherever people live and work in Washington state.”
The mission of the Washington Community Forestry Council is to “provide leadership to create self-sustaining urban and community forestry programs that preserve, plant and manage forests and trees for public benefits and quality of life.”
A new research report from the USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station investigates the connections between urban greenery and community vitality.
This report, entitled “Urban Green Space and Vibrant Communities: Exploring the Linkage in the Portland Vancouver Area” investigates the interactions between household location decisions and community characteristics, including green space.
Household location decisions are a primary driver of land-use change, and collective location decisions affect community characteristics. At the same time, community characteristics affect location decisions. Neighborhoods or communities that have well-managed green space programs are more attractive to residents, a two-way interaction that tends to be self-reinforcing.
Communities with high amenities and public services attract high-income residents, enhancing the tax base and the provision of amenities and services. This report surveys the literature investigating these interactions and explores several applicable empirical approaches for the Portland, Oregon, and Vancouver, Washington, metropolitan area.
If this year’s fire season will be anything like last year, then even those of us on the west side of the mountains need to be prepared for the incidence of wildfire.
If you’re a homeowner, there are many things you can do to make your property “Firewise.” If you’re representing an entire community, the Firewise Communities/USA Program might be just the thing you’re looking for to educate your neighbors and reduce wildfire risk. Plus, if you’re a natural resource professional, now is a great time to brush up on principles of fire behavior and assess the local conditions of the forest lands you manage.
Check out some of the following links to information about wildland fire and firewise principles:
Living with Wildfire, Washington State University
Fire-resistant Plants for Home Landscapes, Washington State University, Oregon State University, and the University of Idaho.
A Land Manager’s Guide for Creating Fire-resistant Forests, Oregon State University.
Firewise, National Forest Protection Association.
Firewise Assistance in Washington State, Washington State Conservation Commission.
In the past two editions of the Tree Link, we polled readers to get their opinions on the optimal timing for tree planting, offering separate polls for eastern and western Washington just in case opinions differed due to differences in climate and other planting conditions.
The good news is that in both polls, no one voted for June, July and August as an appropriate time for tree planting, so at least we’re all on the same page there. Whew!
In eastern Washington, 46% of respondents feel that September, October, and November are optimal planting months, but much to my surprise, 31% say that December, January, and February was the optimal time. Really? Maybe I need to spend more winter days in eastern Washington because this one is a bit of a head-scratcher. To round out the results, 23% of eastsiders will tell you that Spring is the optimal planting season.
Results were similar west of the Cascades, where Springtime was voted the least desirable planting season next to summer. Only 17% think that March, April, and May is the best time to plant trees in western Washington. Forty-three percent of respondents voted for autumn as the best planting season, and closely behind, an additional 40% believe that December, January, and February are optimal tree planting months. Now in this case, I can see planting (and I have planted) trees in western Washington during the winter because the ground rarely freezes and it rains all the time.
Isn’t it wonderful that here in Washington we have the luxury of being able to plant trees for nine months out of the year? Except of course for those cold and dry winter months in eastern Washington… I still think those results are awfully suspicious.
So, maybe the Washington State Arbor Day actually should take place in the fall, but that will take an act of the Washington State Legislature to make that change official. In the meantime, we’ll be saying Happy Arbor Day Washington once again come April.
Enjoy the summer and by all means, please don’t plant any trees until September.
This article was reprinted as it originally appeared on the Alliance for Community Trees’ website:
Los Angeles, CA (June 4, 2015) — Studies continue to accumulate demonstrating the health benefits of spending time in nature, or even just looking at nature. In a presentation at the Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA) conference, MaryCarol Hunter, a landscape architect and ecologist at the University of Michigan, describes her efforts to determine exactly what “dose” of nature is going to have the most impact.
As reported by Jared Green in the American Society of Landscape Architects article, “What Dose of Nature Do We Need to Feel Better?,” Hunter and her team examined 44 people over 8 weeks. She asked them to go out and immerse themselves in urban natural environments at least 2.5 times per week for a minimum of 10 minutes. Using a custom-designed smartphone app, these people walked or sat in nature and then answered questions about their mental well-being, both before being exposed to nature and then after. They were asked to record the types of landscapes they saw, the weather, and then take photographs of their preferred views, “scenes they were drawn to, that gave them that ‘ahhhh’ feeling.” As the walked and recorded their thoughts, the app also tracked their location.
The early results show that the “nature pill works.” Among all participants, they reported significantly less stress, an increased ability to focus, and increased satisfaction with their mood and energy levels after being exposed to nature. But Hunter admitted that “self-reported data is viewed as worthless; people want physical proof,” so before and after the nature exposure, they also studied participants’ cortisol levels, a physical indicator of stress, which correlated with the self-reported responses more than 60 percent of the time. She said this shows the data is largely credible.
While Hunter said it’s still too soon to tell what the optimal dose of the nature pill is, even just “10 minutes is effective.” Hunter hopes to have findings and a replicable methodology on deciphering “the nature pill” ready by November 2015. Read more about this study and several others under way through EDRA.
If you are willing to take the time and effort needed to do a successful native plant salvage project, the result can be a locally-adapted, high quality planting stock of trees, shrubs, groundcovers, grasses, and fungi for your restoration and reforestation projects. There are lots of opportunities to salvage native plants, such as before you start moving dirt for roads, building and logging operations, or if you know that a major change in land use is planned in a forest near you.
Salvaging differs from ordinary native plant gathering in that the plants to be removed in a salvage operation would otherwise be destroyed by some activity conducted by the landowner. When plants are removed in a non-salvaging program, much more care must be given to protect the plant community that will remain after the gathering operations and to protect the soil from erosion or compaction.
Before you start the salvage project you need to have some basic knowledge of how to make your efforts as successful as possible. The first step is to do an inventory of the plants in the area that will be disturbed. Conduct a plant identification walk and mark the ones you want to move. Once you know what kinds of plants are available for salvaging you can develop a plan.
Large woody plants like trees and shrubs have spreading root systems. On a six-foot conifer tree, the roots feeding the tree can extend more than six feet away from the trunk of the tree. If you dig up the tree with just a two- foot root ball, the chances of it surviving are less than 15 percent. To ensure survival you must root-prune the plant during the dormant season.
Root pruning is where you go out from the trunk about half way to the drip line (the outermost length of the branches) and cut a circle in the soil around the tree with a shovel. By pushing the shovel into the ground around the tree you will cut the roots (prune them). Leave the plant for one growing season. This pruning will stimulate the tree to produce more fine roots closer to the plant, so it can better feed and water itself after you move it. It will also ensure that more soil is moved with the plant.
Moving and replanting
The next dormant season after the root pruning step is the time move the plants. Before you move the plant, do a light top pruning. On woody shrubs you can remove up to 40 percent of the total top of the plant. On trees, aim to maintain 50 percent of the tree’s height in green, growing limbs. Choosing small plants to move rather than large, older plants also will result in better survival rates.
After digging the plants, protect the roots right away. Cover them with wet burlap or place them in container where you can cover the roots with leaf mulch or soil. For the best chances of survival, keep these plants in a transplant bed for a year. Some land owners develop transplant beds under deciduous trees or in raised beds filled with a mixture of composted leaves and native soil. A transplant bed can be any place where the newly moved plants have light shade and protection from animal damage. Plan on watering plants in the transplant bed a couple of times during the dry season.
A good plant salvage program takes work, but it will reward you with thousands of healthy native plants that will improve the diversity and productivity of your family forest.
By Jim Freed, WSU Extension Forest Products Specialist, firstname.lastname@example.org
Urban vegetation is good for your health
The Green Cities: Good Health website offers summaries and links to peer-reviewed research citing the benefits of urban vegetation to public health. Or, if you’re more a visual learner, watch the video.
Support for U&CF from Washington’s Municipal Research and Services Center (MRSC)
Did you know that MRSC website has an entire page dedicated to urban forestry? Forward this link to others in your community as proof that many Washington cities have embraced urban forest management and that you’re not simply a kooky treehugger with an agenda.
Sustaining America’s Urban Trees and Forests
This 28-page report from the USDA Forest Service was published in 2010 and concisely summarizes the importance of, need for, and challenges associated with sustaining our urban forests. Think of it like a quick “urban forestry 101″ with vivid images to support its themes.
The emerald ash borer is marching westward
Yikes! The emerald ash borer has decimated ash trees and urban forests throughout upper midwestern states and has recently been discovered in Colorado. Let’s hope it never makes it to Washington. In the meantime, you can prepare for this worst-case scenario by learning to assess your ash tree for signs of emerald ash borer from the Colorado State Extension Service.
City trees are threatened by string trimmers
If you need to teach others about how damaging lawn maintenance equipment can be to trees, this succinct little video from Portland’s Friends of Trees will do just the trick.
A year in the life of a forest
While this may not be specifically educational in nature, we can learn a lot by observing nature’s rhythms. Check out “A Forest Year“.
What will the climate in your city be like by 2060?
The Scenario-Based Projected Changes Map is an online map that provides easy access to localized scenarios of projected changes in annual total precipitation, precipitation intensity, annual average temperature, 100-year storm events, and sea-level rise from EPA’s Climate Resilience Evaluation and Awareness Tool.
June 16: L&I Conference for Arborists
When: Tuesday, June 16; 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Where: L&I — L&I Headquarters — 7273 Linderson Way SW, Tumwater, WA 98501
To Register: Sign up at www.lni.wa.gov/Workshops or call: 360-902-4599.
June 30, July 14 & August 4: Tour the Traps: WSDA Pest Detection in Action
When: Tuesday, June 30, 10:00 – 11:00 am; Tuesday, July 14, 10:00 – 11:00 am; Tuesday, August 4, 10:00 – 11:00 am
Where: Washington Park Arboretum, 2300 Arboretum Dr E, Seattle, WA 98112 (Meet at the Graham Visitors Center patio)
Would you like to learn more about efforts aimed at detecting the presence of high consequence insect pests in our region? Washington State Department of Agriculture’s insect pest program works to prevent the establishment and spread of a selected group of non-native insects that are known threats to Washington State’s agricultural products and environmental resources. Join Jenni Cena, pest biologist with the Entomology Branch of the WSDA, for a walking tour of the various types of traps that WSDA uses for pest detection in the Washington Park Arboretum and throughout Washington. Participants will learn about pest identification and possible control measures.
July 20-22: Tree Risk Assessor Qualification (TRAQ) Course and Exam
When: Monday, July 20 – Wednesday, July 22
Where: University of Washington, Center for Urban Horticulture, 3501 NE 41st Street, Seattle, WA 98105
July 24: Developing Field Assessment Skills for Common PNW Tree Diseases
When: Friday, July 24, 9:00 am – 4:15 pm
Where: Mercer Island Community Center, 8236 Southeast 24th Street, Mercer Island, WA 98040
August 8-12: “Where the Trees Meet the Seas” – 2015 ISA Annual International Conference and Trade Show
When: Saturday, August 8 – Wednesday, August 12
Where: Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center, Orlando, FL
Additional information: Please visit www.isa-arbor.com.
August 25: First Annual Olympic Peninsula Urban Forestry Seminar: Asset Management for Community Trees
When: Tuesday, July 25; 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Where: Poulsbo, WA
Cost: This seminar will be free of charge however participants must RSVP in advance and provide their own lunches.
For more information or to RSVP for this seminar, contact email@example.com
August 27: First Annual Northwest Washington Urban Forestry Seminar: Asset Management for Community Trees
When: Thursday, July 27; 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Where: Mount Vernon, WA
Cost: This seminar will be free of charge, however, participants must RSVP in advance and provide their own lunches
For more information or to RSVP for this seminar, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
August 27-29: Farwest Show
When: Thursday, August 27 – Saturday, August 29
Where: Oregon Convention Center, Portland, OR
Additional information: Please visit www.farwestshow.com.