Posts Tagged ‘tree benefits’

By Seth Hawkins, Community Forester, Georgia Forestry Commission

We spend a lot of time sharing the benefits of trees, both tangible and inherent. More times than not, however, we are preaching to the choir of fellow tree advocates. Where we can make real progress is finding better ways to communicate those benefits to the average person who sees trees as just another part of the landscape. One powerful way to help people understand and appreciate everything trees do for us is to present those benefits in terms everyone relates to – money!

The suite of i-Tree Software can help summarize the benefits trees provide in real dollar values. This is an excellent communication tool and proof point for documenting often under appreciated ways our community forests work for us. The City of Winterville recently became a Tree City USA community, which truly was a community achievement. Two public hearings were held, both with well over 50 residents in attendance, during which residents, city council members and the mayor discussed ratifying a community tree ordinance. The members of the proposed tree board conducted an i-Tree Canopy survey of the city and came to the public hearings prepared with facts. They documented the city’s tree canopy coverage of 58 percent, which provides the community with $190,460 in annual ecosystem services! When the benefits provided by the city’s canopy were presented in dollar values, it helped convince many residents and council members that proactively managing the city’s trees was a sound investment with an impressive return.

Those hearings and positive feedback from the community resulted in the city council ratifying a tree ordinance and joining the Tree City USA program. The City of Winterville now has an active tree board, a certified arborist on staff, and has hosted two successful community events centered around trees. A city tree inventory was also conducted for a new community tree management plan. This transformation for Winterville happened in less than two years, and a great deal of momentum gained was due to the commitment of several dedicated community members, equipped with knowledge of the city canopy’s value; knowledge obtained through the free and easy-to-use i-Tree Canopy Program. Any municipal arborist or tree board member can learn to use the program and measure the same canopy benefit values for their community. To get started, all you need is a GIS shapefile of your city’s boundaries and to follow the link below. For guidance, contact your Georgia Forestry Commission community forester.

If we can learn to better communicate all the hard work trees do for us, we can reach an audience that values dollars, and makes sense!

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The February issue of the Urban Update newsletter (click the link above) is full of information for tree board members, including a list of recertified Georgia Tree City USAs, information about the Mayor’s Symposium on Trees and Statewide Arbor Day Celebration on February 17th at Trees Atlanta,  A tree board webinar series, Arbor Day facts, food forests, a tree risk workshop in coastal Georgia, and more!

Happy Arbor Day!

Tree Team

Berry College Tree Team

From the Georgia Forestry Commission, Sustainable Community Forestry Program

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The USDA Forest Service is launching a new monthly webinar series! Second Wednesdays, 1 p.m.-2 p.m. EDT.

Urban Forest Connections webinars will bring experts together to discuss the latest science, practice, and policy on urban forestry and the environment.

Whether you work for a state forestry agency, non-profit organization, municipality, university, private industry, public works, or public health and safety, we have something for you! Each month we’ll highlight a different topic. Our presenters will discuss key issues, share the latest research and technologies, and showcase successful projects and partnerships that are putting science into practice.

The series will kick off on September 10th with a presentation on Urban Forests for Human Health and Wellness by the University of Washington’s Kathleen Wolf and Legacy Health’s Teresia M. Hazen. More details coming your way soon!

We are seeking a 1.0 CEU with the International Society of Arboriculture for each webinar. Check out our webpage for updates on the series.

Urban Forest Connections is a product of the Forest Service’s National Urban Forest Technology & Science Delivery Team. The team’s mission is to help inform environmental stewardship and sustainably sound decisions about urban and community lands and the broader watershed, for wildlife and people.

Future Webinars:

October 8, 2014 | 1:00-2:00 pm ET
What California climate policy means for urban forests
Greg McPherson, USDA Forest Service
John Melvin, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CALFIRE)
Chuck Mills, California ReLeaf

November 12, 2014 | 1:00-2:00 pm ET
Tree Risk Assessment for Municipal Officials
Paul Ries, Oregon Department of Forestry
Jerry Mason, Mason and Stricklin, LLC

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Excerpt from the Society of American Foresters E-Forester, March 28, 2014.

Exploring Connections between Trees and Human Health

US Forest Service (Science Findings # 158) – Humans have intuitively understood the value of trees to their physical and mental health since the beginning of recorded time. A scientist with the Pacific Northwest Research Station wondered if such a link could be scientifically validated. His research team took advantage of an infestation of emerald ash borer, an invasive pest that kills ash trees, to conduct a study that gets closer to a definitive connection between the loss of trees and increased human mortality.

Researchers analyzed data on demographics, tree loss from the emerald ash borer, and human mortality from lower respiratory disease and cardiovascular disease for 1990 through 2007. Results showed that the spread of the emerald ash borer across 15 states-first recorded in 2002-was associated with an additional 15,000 deaths from cardiovascular disease and an additional 6,000 deaths from lower respiratory disease. Human mortality increased the longer emerald ash borer was present and killing trees. Deaths occurred at higher rates in wealthier counties, where more trees are typically found in urban areas.


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The Georgia Forestry Foundation invites you to participate in a statewide contest to express the value of our sustainable working forests and what they mean to you through submission of artwork with a slogan. Schools that participate in the statewide contest will have an opportunity to win a prize valued up to $35,000.

There are two levels of competition:
1) 5th through 8th grade
2) 9th through 12th grade

One winner will be selected from each level. Each winning entry will be awarded a prize valued up to $35,000, which includes a $15,000 cash award to the school, $2,500 cash award and forestry camp scholarship to the student, Project Learning Tree environmental professional development for up to 20 teachers and an invitation to attend the Georgia Teacher Conservation Workshop for two teachers from the winning schools, a field trip for students in the grade level of each winning student, and materials featuring the winning artwork and slogan.

Also, the winning students, their parents or guardians and two school staff members from each of the winning schools will be invited (expenses paid) to attend an award ceremony on Sunday, July 20 at the Georgia Forestry Association’s Annual Conference in Hilton Head Island, SC. Full description of the prize package can be found in the contest terms and conditions found in the contest details.

Visit http://www.forestry4rfuture.org for more information. The contest deadline is April 30.

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The 2014 issue of SHADE is brimming with informative articles on creating green infrastructure, the public health benefits of trees and green spaces, re-greening to reduce stormwater flow, controlling the risk and managing the liability of trees, creating urban orchards, saluting Georgia Tree Campus USAs, the urban forestry accomplishments of volunteers and practitioners from around the state and so much more. We hope you enjoy Shade Magazine in this new format! Click here for your copy.

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by Tim Womick

Today’s (Wed., Feb. 19th) Georgia Arbor Day Tour 2014 audiences were as different as can be.

I could see Ebenezer Baptist Church from where I parked at the first school.

Later, east of Stone Mountain, I spoke with the Future Farmers of America at a middle school where it was “camo-day”.

Talk about one end to the other demographics.

It matters not whom I address my message is generally the same…Trees are wondrous things that supply us with an incredible array of resources we’d be hard-pressed to live without. (Often show vocabulary and subject approach differ vastly.)

At both schools they learned not only that trees clean impurities out of our air but that during a 24 hour period we inhale approximately 24 thousand breaths of oxygen.

They heard that cellulose is the most abundant organic material on the planet and it is used in many ways…from thickening the foods we eat and drink to being turned into fabric we wear.

Both groups shouted back to me “Radiant energy”, “chloroplasts”, “critical root zone”, “root hairs”, “water”, “essential elements” as we discussed photosynthesis.

They learned that it is OK to cut a tree down and that folks remove trees for many reasons… pests, construction and old age.

They also learned that the trees in the forests have their roles to play but the ones where we live…around our homes and schools, in our parks and outside of the places we worship in are all vital.

Some of the kids picked at each performance froze when they found themselves in front of the audience. Others exhibited natural performance skills and relished the attention.

Really, after all, the students at the two different schools were more alike than not. All lived in Georgia, attended public schools and loved to laugh.

I guess that’s the way it is all over the world, we’re more alike than not and we all need trees.

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