It has already been a busy year for the UCF program, and it looks like it won’t slow down, which is a good thing…

Legislation for SHB2768 to provide funding for the Evergreen Community Act has taken precedence over all else this season. Thanks to DNR’s policy team and the bill sponsors, it is still moving forward in the senate. The bill addresses a priority of the Washington Community Forestry Council to focus program activities in areas of environmental health disparities, to address environmental justice issues. We are very hopeful that the bill will pass. If funded, we will be able to strategically align program investments and prioritize pilot projects (one on each side of the Cascades) in some of the most vulnerable communities in our state. More information about the bill, including bill sponsors, may be found at this link.

Arbor Day (or some celebrate all month!) is on the horizon. Many communities are in the midst of planning to engage residents through educational and volunteer events. If you need planning inspiration, check out the Arbor Day Foundation’s website for resources: https://www.arborday.org/celebrate/

The Arbor Day Foundation manages an interactive map of local community events. Consider adding your event to the map, and raise the visibility of your community’s urban forestry program. Navigate to this link: https://celebratearborday.com/

Based on the number of applications we received, it seems that our Community Forestry Assistance and Community Planning and Engagement grants were in great demand this year. We received over $280,000 in funding requests for both grants, and were able to fund a little over $125,000 in grant projects. Check out the list here.

If you have an idea for a project and would like assistance planning for a proposal (we generally announce “grant season” in the October Tree Link), please feel free to call on a UCF team member.

And speaking of members, we are looking forward to welcoming a brand new Outreach and Special Projects team member. Daria Gosztyla will be joining us in April. Watch for more information about her in the April Tree Link.

Happy spring!

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