It is hard to believe that a year has passed since taking the helm as Urban and Community Forestry (UC&F) program manager. I have pulled out the ‘newbie’ card more than once but have managed to get my feet under me–now we are off and running in 2015.

The end of one year and the beginning of the next means the U&CF program is collecting and approving Tree City USA applications. We are hoping that a record number of communities will be recognized as Tree City USA’s this year. If you have not yet sent in an application, there may still be time. Check in with Ben Thompson at 360-902-1382.

Our program staff and I will also be reviewing and scoring proposals we’ve received for our Community Forestry Assistance, Tree Inventory, and Tree Planting grants. Those of you who have submitted applications should be hearing from us on the status of your proposals within the next six weeks. We are all eager to see what kinds of exciting grant projects will shape urban forestry in Washington throughout this new year.

I’m thrilled to report that our partners Garth Davis, Spokane Conservation District Forester and Leif Fixen, Snohomish Conservation District Resource Planner, are again joining us as part of the technical assistance team. Garth covers Pend Oreille, Stevens, Lincoln, Adams, Whitman and Spokane counties, while Leif works up in Whatcom, Skagit, Snohomish and Island counties. If you have tree questions, need staff training, or would like planning and management assistance, Garth, Leif, and Ben are available to help your community.

This year, we will be offering regional workshops to teach about performing tree inventories and what to do with the data once you have it. An inventory is an excellent first step toward sustainable tree management. Knowing more about your existing trees helps you plan and budget for the planning, planting, care, and maintenance of your community forest into the future. Watch for dates for the Inventory Workshop in upcoming editions of Tree Link or for an email announcing a workshop in your region.

Finally, it is not too early to start planning for Arbor Day, which is only a few months away. We will once again offer Arbor Day tree planting grants to our Tree City USA communities. Watch for the formal announcement in next month’s Tree Link. And please let us know if you’d like us to attend your event to present a Tree City award, one of our favorite spring-time activities.

Happy New Year to all.

By Linden J. Lampman, program manager, DNR Urban and Community Forestry Program