The Municipal Forestry Institute (MFI) is an advanced training course for managers of trees in urban landscapes. This week-long intensive educational program is sponsored by the Society of Municipal Arborists in partnership with the USDA Forest Service and focuses on the following four points:
- Developing a leadership approach to your position
- Thinking and planning strategically to advance urban forestry programs
- Working effectively with boards, coalitions, and non‐profit organizations
- Managing the relationship between people and trees
This year, the 2015 MFI Course was held at the Oregon Garden Resort in Silverton, Oregon, February 22-27. Scholarship monies made available through the DNR Urban Forestry Program provided financial assistance to four municipal arborists from Washington to attend: Angel Spell, City of Spokane; Charles Ray, City of Vancouver; Curt Nedved, City of Longview; and Phil Bennett, City of Snoqualmie.
These foresters were asked about their experience and offer the following words to anyone else that is considering attending MFI in 2016:
What is the most valuable thing that you have learned or experienced as a result of attending MFI?
“To think strategically about developing and placing an urban forestry program within the larger context of a municipality. Advocating for trees as a utility that provide benefits, and tying them to utility rates is a great direction to explore.”
“It is a great program and an excellent opportunity to information share and discuss issues with peers who are facing similar issues. I was able to take what I learned and check off tasks right when I returned with great success.”
How will your attendance at MFI translate into benefits to your urban forestry program or the community you serve?
“Being more informed and well versed in any new knowledge, information or technology will make me and my program more efficient and effective. This also will assist in making the program more credible and better known throughout the community.”
“I realized in MFI that I need to build more partnerships, and get the community more involved in the urban forest, so that the weight of it is carried by many hands, and so it is protected by the advocacy of many, even if personnel involved in the program transition.”
Would you recommend MFI to other urban forestry professionals?
“Definitely recommend MFI–it is a very intense learning program with an immense amount of information presented during the week but it is well worth the time and effort to attend. Without the knowledge you gain, just the contacts and peer group I have gained was worth it.”
“I sure would recommend MFI: I have a totally different view of how to run an urban forestry program now, and I think that will pay dividends.”