sarah 6-13 photo
Sarah Foster

As spring turns to summer and trees are actively photosynthesizing away, my thoughts start to subtly shift to issues that face our forests — namely, wildland fires. Experts are predicting an early and prolonged fire season in much of the West, including Washington. While I did not enjoy the rainy month of May, I know it helped to quell the fire danger in our wildland-urban interface areas. There are many ways that communities and homeowners can protect themselves from fires. Visit www.firewise.org for more information. Eighty-five percent of fires in Washington are caused by humans; as you plan your recreation activities for summer, please remember Smokey Bear’s messages. Visit smokeybear.com  for a fire prevention refresher.

Starting June 10, the Urban and Community Forestry Program welcomes Nikkole Hughes to the team. Nikkole is working as an intern this summer to research the feasibility of developing an urban wood utilization project with community partners, Department of Corrections at Cedar Creek, The Evergreen State University, and DNR’s Pacific Cascade Region.

Nikkole is a recent graduate of Washington State University (Go Cougs!). She graduated from the Honors College with a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resource Sciences and a Minor in Political Science.

On another note, it is our pleasure at the Urban & Community Forestry Program to announce two more recipients of the Tree City USA tree planting grants. The cities of Olympia and Vancouver are receiving funds for projects in 2013. There is still just under $50,000 available for additional projects. If your community is a Tree City USA (or qualifies and can apply along with your application) and would like to participate, please view our planting grant information or give me a call with any questions. Funding assistance for tree planting is from the USDA Forest Service Urban & Community Forestry Program. If you have any questions or ideas, please call me at 360-902-1704 or email at sarah.foster@dnr.wa.gov.