sarah 6-13 photoI’m going discuss two great projects we have ongoing at the Urban & Community Forestry Program in this month’s Coordinator’s Corner. First, the great work that the Washington Conservation Corps/Puget SoundCorps crews have completed in local communities throughout the Puget Sound area and Southwest Washington will continue for another year. We’re happy to announce that more communities can now take advantage of this great resource! Local project proposals for crew time from October 1, 2013, through September 30, 2014, are now being accepted. Proposals may be submitted through December 31, 2013; however, the earlier that you submit yours, the more likely that assistance (limited to three crews) will still be available. Crews will be located in east King County, Thurston County and Southwest Washington, enhancing our ability to provide this service to a broader range of communities. Crew time is valued at approximately $5,000/week—a significant addition to your TCUSA budget, by the way. Look online for more information and the application form. Make your trees happy—apply for crew time today!

We are also happy to kick off an Urban Wood Utilization project. The first step was hiring an intern to do a feasibility study. It is with pleasure I introduce you to Nikkole Hughes. Having recently graduated with a degree in Natural Resource Policy from Washington State University (Go Cougs!), this project is right up Nikkole’s alley. She will be attending Evergreen State College in the fall to pursue a Master’s in Public Administration with a concentration in Environmental Policy. As a native to the greater Seattle-Tacoma metro area, Nikkole is specifically interested in urban sustainability and growth issues from a policy perspective.

We’re in the process of joining with the City of Olympia and other South Sound communities to build an urban wood salvage program in partnership with the Department of Corrections. Our vision is to create an innovative recycling loop in which urban wood waste from municipal hazard tree abatement is milled and crafted into high-value products by offender work crews at Cedar Creek Corrections Center. This unique collaboration would provide green jobs training to an at-risk population while simultaneously diverting wood from the municipal waste stream. Among the anticipated outcomes of this pilot project is a framework or model with which DNR can collaborate with other communities and corrections centers to implement wood utilization programs across the state. If you have questions about the project, contact Nikkole at nikkole.hughes@dnr.wa.gov, 360-902-1637

Have a safe and enjoyable summer…and don’t forget to water your newly planted trees!