Archive for the ‘Forests’ Category

College receives 2013 Tree Campus USA recognition

April 10, 2014
Students from the University of Puget Sound helped make their campus a Tree Campus USA®

Students from the University of Puget Sound helped make their campus a Tree Campus USA®

The University of Puget Sound has been honored with a 2013 Tree Campus USA® recognition by the Arbor Day Foundation for its commitment to effective urban forest management.

Tree Campus USA® is a national program created in 2008 by the Arbor Day Foundation to honor colleges and universities for effective campus forest management and for engaging staff and students in conservation goals.

“This national recognition is a well-deserved vote of appreciation for all that our grounds staff do to ensure the Puget Sound campus remains a place of local and regional pride,” said Bob Kief, Vice President for Facilities Services. “I want to thank our Grounds Manager, Joe Kovolyan, and his staff for their dedication and passion in maintaining such a beautiful campus.”

Puget Sound is one among only six colleges and universities in the Pacific Northwest to be awarded the Tree Campus USA® distinction since the program’s creation. Awardees must meet five standards, including: maintaining a tree advisory committee and a campus tree-care plan; dedicating annual expenditures for a campus tree program; observing Arbor Day; and offering a student service-learning project. The Tree Campus USA program is sponsored by Toyota.

“Students are eager to volunteer in their communities and become better stewards of the environment,” said John Rosenow, founder and chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation. “Participating in Tree Campus USA sets a fine example for other colleges and universities, while helping to create a healthier planet for us all.”

The 97-acre Puget Sound campus is home to more than 2,000 trees, including towering Douglas Firs and other native evergreens, alongside deciduous shade and flowering trees such as birch, sycamores, dogwoods, and American Elms.

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Happy Arbor Day! Celebrate trees today and every day

April 8, 2014
Yvonne Sun, a fifth-grader at Clyde Hill Elementary School in Clyde Hill, was Washington State’s winner in 2010 of the National Arbor Day Foundation’s Arbor Day Poster Contest. She demonstrates what trees mean to her.

Yvonne Sun, a fifth-grader at Clyde Hill Elementary School, was Washington State’s winner in 2010 of the National Arbor Day Foundation’s Arbor Day Poster Contest. She demonstrates what trees mean to her.

Arbor Day is a celebration of trees and the many benefits they offer. Today is Arbor Day, and you might want to thank a healthy tree near you by taking good care of it. If you plant the right tree in the right place, the benefits will keep on giving: clean air, clean water, shade on a hot day, and habitat for wildlife.

One way we celebrate Arbor Day is through a special program called Tree City USA®. DNR and the Arbor Day Foundation recognize Tree City USA communities across the state for the dedicated efforts they invest in managing and caring for trees in their community. Communities that earn the Tree City USA award do so by meeting criteria that demonstrate their commitment to healthy community trees and forests, now and into the future.

To be acknowledged as a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation, a city must designate staff to care for trees, appoint a citizen tree board to advocate for community forestry, establish a tree ordinance, spend at least $2 per capita on tree care, and celebrate Arbor Day. In doing so, Tree City USA communities are investing in a future that is healthy, vibrant, and sustainable.

The investments we make in community trees are very real. Trees pay us back in the form of benefits or “ecosystem services” they provide. See for yourself…pick a tree in your neighborhood, measure the diameter, and discover exactly what benefits it provides. You’ll be happily surprised! The healthier your trees, the greater benefits they return.

Be sure to never top a tree. Tree topping, best described as the indiscriminate removal of limbs resulting in a reduction of a tree’s height, will reduce tree health, increase tree-related risks, and create costly maintenance needs each year. Branches and leaves that re-sprout from a topped tree will grow very rapidly, are weakly attached, and rob the tree of precious energy, making it more likely to break in storm events. On the other hand, a healthy tree that is properly cared for will provide greater benefits and may only need pruning every five years or so. Learn to prune trees properly and your trees will be healthier, stronger, longer-lived, and less expensive to maintain.

Washington State has 84 Tree Cities. Is your city is a Tree City USA? Click here to find out.

Be a part of Arbor Day and celebrate the healthy trees all around us! If your community isn’t part of the Tree City USA Program, contact your city officials to find out why. You might be more qualified than you think! The Tree City USA program is designed so that any incorporated city or town can get involved, regardless of location, size, or economic standing. Make your community a Tree City USA and help them plan to take part in the Arbor Day celebrations next year.

DNR’s Urban and Community Forestry Program works with cities and towns throughout Washington State to help them plant, preserve, and maintain the trees that make our cities and towns wonderful places to live, work and play.

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DNR-run cost share program helps reduce wildfire risks, improve forest health

March 20, 2014
Forest before and after thinning.

Removing the smaller, weaker trees from this Eastern Washington forest (left) produced a more natural and healthier stand (right) that will be more resilient to wildfire and insect infestations. Photos: Glenn Kohler/DNR.

The ‘official’ start of the 2014 fire season in Washington State is in April, but DNR is already helping private landowners to reduce wildfire risks. One effort likely to pay off starting this year is our drive to improve forest health conditions, a big problem in many of the state’s drier eastside forests.

A federally funded cost-share program, administered by DNR in Washington State, pays for up to half of a landowner’s cost to thin and prune trees and remove forest slash. The program is available to forestland owners in portions of Ferry, Klickitat, Okanogan, and Yakima counties where a Forest Health Hazard Warning was declared last fall by DNR and the U.S. Forest Service, which is funding the program.

Getting the word out

Last year, DNR mailed more than 10,500 informational notices to landowners in the designated forest health hazard warning areas describing how to assess forest conditions and reduce disease, insect, and wildfire risks. DNR also established a toll-free telephone number, launched a web page, conducted extensive media outreach, and held 16 workshops to spread the word about DNR’s various assistance programs.

During 2013, DNR foresters responded to technical assistance requests from more than 500 landowners who manage over 97,000 acres. The federal funding for sharing forest thinning and slash disposal costs with landowners aims to improve forest conditions and dramatically reduce wildfire risks by protecting healthier trees through the removal of small, weak trees and disposing of the resulting limbs and brush.

This year, DNR continues to focus on forest health concerns. Thinning today’s overgrown forests can encourage the growth of more ponderosa pine and western larch —trees better adapted to the area’s historic pattern of smaller, but more frequent, naturally caused fires.

Forest landowners may apply for cost-share funding online.

To learn more about the Forest Health Hazard Warning, visit http://www.dnr.wa.gov/foresthealth

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Puget SoundCorps crew beautifies the City of Puyallup, rain AND shine!

March 13, 2014
Greg Dunbar and Kasey Lambert shovel mulch for young trees in Puyallup to reduce competition from weeds. PHOTO: Janet Pearce/DNR

Greg Dunbar and Kasey Lambert shovel mulch for young trees in Puyallup to reduce competition from weeds.
PHOTO: Janet Pearce/DNR

All month long, Puget SoundCorps members are caring for trees in Puyallup’s urban forest in collaboration with DNR’s Urban and Community Forestry Program.

Based out of Olympia, the crew assists city staff to care for trees through structural pruning to keep trees strong and sound and mulching to reduce competition from weeds.

Crew Supervisor Geoff Baran and Assistant Crew Supervisor Greg Dunbar oversee the hard work of Meg Brennan, Travis Johnsey, and Kasey Lambert. Crewmembers have been trained in proper pruning techniques and correct tree installation and care as part of their Puget SoundCorps training.

Pruning Puyallup’s street trees will pay off in the long run: trees with good structure are stronger and better able to weather the winter storms that pass through our area each year. Providing good care to young trees also reduces future maintenance costs.

Recently, these crewmembers received thanks and accolades from Governor Jay Inslee for their hard work removing invasive species from natural forested areas on the Washington State Capitol Campus. Their work will help boost the benefits of a healthy forest habitat surrounding campus.

Travis Johnsey scatters mulch around tree trunks. PHOTO: Janet Pearce/DNR

Travis Johnsey scatters mulch around tree trunks.
PHOTO: Janet Pearce/DNR

DNR’s Urban and Community Forestry Program works with communities throughout Washington State to help them grow a bounty of healthy, beautiful trees that make our cities and towns wonderful places to live, work and play. Funding for this Puget SoundCorps crews comes from the 2012 Jobs Now Act.

About the Puget Sound Corps

The Puget SoundCorps Program creates jobs while cleaning up state-owned aquatic lands and uplands across the 12-county area that makes up the Puget Sound basin.

SoundCorps members are young adults (18 to 25 years old) and military veterans who are serving a year of service as AmeriCorps members. Age restrictions may be waived for military veterans.

Puget SoundCorps is part of the broader Washington Conservation Corps program administered by Washington Department of Ecology in partnership with the Washington State Department of Natural Resources. The Washington Conservation Corps is supported through grant funding and Education Awards provided by AmeriCorps.

For more information about the Puget SoundCorps Program, visit: www.ecy.wa.gov/wcc/psc.html

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Cost-share available to improve your forest’s health and reduce wildfire risks

March 10, 2014
Thinning and pruning trees helps to create a healthier forest and reduce wildfire risks. PHOTO: DNR.

Thinning and pruning trees helps to create a healthier forest and reduce wildfire risks. PHOTO: DNR.

If you have forestland in Chelan, Kittitas, Klickitat or Yakima counties, you may be eligible to receive federal help for some of the costs to reduce wildfire risks on your properties.

The cost-share program, administered by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR), pays for up to half of a landowner’s cost to thin and prune trees and remove forest slash.

Many forest stands in the four-county area have grown too dense, producing weaker trees that are more susceptible to damage from pine bark beetles, western spruce budworm, and other harmful insects and diseases. Dense, overcrowded forest stands also pose wildfire risks.

Forest landowners may apply for cost-share funding online at: www.surveymonkey.com/s/dnrcostshare.

DNR foresters are available to meet with interested landowners, assess the health of their forests, and recommend forest management options. Landowners interested in discussing the cost-share program with a forester should contact:

Chuck Wytko
Southeast Region Landowner Assistance District Manager
Washington State Department of Natural Resources
509-925-0963
Charles.Wytko@dnr.wa.gov

Federally funded by the U.S. Forest Service, this program is available to forestland owners in portions of Chelan, Kittitas, Klickitat and Yakima counties where DNR has declared a Forest Health Hazard Warning. To learn more, visit: www.dnr.wa.gov/foresthealth.

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Is there a link between tree health and human health?

March 6, 2014
This red oak tree helps cool and freshen the air, mitigate stormwater runoff, reduce stress and anxiety, increase property values, and so much more.

This red oak tree helps cool and freshen the air, mitigate stormwater runoff, reduce stress and anxiety, increase property values, and so much more.

A new study from the USDA Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station is suggesting yet another compelling link between the presence of trees and human health. Could this link be so strong that a poorly-treed community might actually suffer higher rates of cardiovascular disease and death among people? The author of the study, Geoffrey Donovan, believes this may be true.

While Donovan’s results imply higher rates of cardiovascular disease and death in communities where the tree canopy has been decimated by Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), Donovan is careful to emphasize that his results are not causational, but they are highly correlated.

A summary of this study, as written by Marie Oliver, can be found here.

Humans intuitively understand the value of trees to their physical and mental health. Trees make our cities and towns much more livable. They cool and freshen the air, mitigate stormwater runoff, reduce stress and anxiety, increase property values, and so much more.

Other benefits of trees are often not obvious. Trees turn sunlight into food sources for insects, wildlife and people; they supply wood for fuel, furniture and homes; and they provide beauty for all of us.

DNR’s Urban and Community Forestry Program is raising awareness about the benefits of trees in communities. Join local efforts so your city can benefit from the healthy quality of life that trees can offer.

Still in doubt? Pick a tree in your neighborhood, measure the diameter, and find out exactly what benefits it provides. You’ll be happily surprised!

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Easy steps to becoming a Tree City USA®

February 28, 2014

Tree City USA recognizes cities and towns that go the extra mile to manage and care for healthy urban forests.

Find out if your city is involved, and if not, learn how easy it is to become a Tree City.

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Select the right place to plant your tree: Tips to avoid tree-planter’s regret syndrome

February 26, 2014
This was the wrong tree planted closely to sidewalks. Think ahead before planting a tree that will grow too big for its location.

This was the wrong tree planted too closely to the sidewalk. Think ahead before planting a tree that will grow too big for its location.

Your yard might be a bit bare and lacking character. Trees to the rescue!

Whether you decide to plant a tree for aesthetics, to increase your property value, to save energy by planting shade, or to watch birds while lounging in a hammock, it is important to plan for your planting. Start by thinking about site selection.

Evaluate the site to make sure this is the best possible place for a tree to live and that you have the information to select the best species for that site.

Considerations when selecting your site include:

  • Are there underground utilities? Call 1-800-424-5555 two working days before you dig a hole. A utility location service will mark the pathways of underground utilities on your property, including water, electric, gas and sewer, so you can avoid costly and dangerous line damage.
  • Is there enough space for the tree? Visualize the tree 50 years from now and plant so that it will not interfere with nearby structures, or overhead utilities (see photo). A large-statured, long-lived tree will need more space than one that matures at a small height. Only small-growing trees (less than 30’ at maturity) should be planted under overhead power lines. Consider how wide the base of the tree will be at maturity, and plant to avoid damage to sidewalks, and infrastructure.
  • What are the environmental conditions? Some trees are tolerant of partial or full shade; others need full sunlight to survive. Some trees tolerate well-drained, dry soils while others need and thrive in consistently moist soils.
  • Do you need a permit? Know your community’s regulations regarding tree planting on public and private property.

The U.S. Forest Service has a checklist of points to consider before, during, and after planting your tree.

Visit DNR’s Urban and Community Forestry Program webpage for additional information.

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The Friends of the Seminary Hill Natural Area awarded for restoring urban forest in Centralia

February 14, 2014
Award recipients from left to right: Emil Pierson, Lisa Carlson, Judy Bell, Brian Mittge, Barbara Fandrich, Sheila Gray, Bill Moeller, Bruce Craig, David Underwood, and Joe Scorcio

Award recipients from left to right: Emil Pierson, Lisa Carlson, Judy Bell, Brian Mittge, Barbara Fandrich, Sheila Gray, Bill Moeller, Bruce Craig, David Underwood, and Joe Scorcio

These are friends you want in your backyard! They pull ivy, plant native plants, build trails, and restore natural areas.

Recently, the Friends of the Seminary Hill were recognized for exceptional public service through their extraordinary volunteer efforts with the City of Centralia in Seminary Hill Natural Area.

The Friends of the Seminary Hill Natural Area have pulled miles and miles of English ivy over the years to preserve the wildland character of this exceptional hidden jewel.

Native plants are growing where there was once a forest of ivy. Volunteers have built trails, installed steps on steep slopes, closed paths to reduce erosion, developed signs and maps, and even graveled a small parking lot in coordination with city staff.

Many events are held throughout the year including wildflower walks, poetry walks, bird watching and children’s activities. The Seminary Hill Natural Area is also an outdoor classroom for several classes from nearby Centralia College.

The Washington Community Forestry Council believes in recognizing those who have made exemplary contributions to urban forestry. Through this award program, the Council provides individuals, businesses and organizations with well-deserved recognition for preserving, planting, and managing forests and trees for public benefits and quality of life.

Many of the founding members of the Friends of the Seminary Hill Natural Area are still actively involved: Sandy and Robert Godsey still provide refreshments for work parties, as well as write the newsletters; Bill Moeller, who signed Seminary Hill into existence as a City Natural Area when he was Mayor of Centralia in 1981; Stellajoe Staebler, as a Girl Scout leader, helped build awareness of the natural area for many years; along with many other long-term committed volunteers.

Upcoming public events include an Earth Day cleanup on April 26. For more information, please email goseminaryhill@gmail.com.

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Dr. R. James Cook, longtime researcher with WSU, receives high honor from Washington State Senate

February 5, 2014
Commissioner Peter Goldmark, Dr. R. James Cook, and Dr. Robert Edmonds present at a senate hearing.  PHOTO: Diana Lofflin

Commissioner Peter Goldmark, Dr. R. James Cook, and Dr. Robert Edmonds present at a senate hearing.
PHOTO: Diana Lofflin

Yesterday, Dr. R. James Cook of Washington State University was honored by the Washington State Senate for his distinguished research career as a plant pathologist.

Senate Resolution 8677, sponsored by Senator Jim Hargrove, outlines Dr. Cook’s multifaceted career from his time as Chief Scientist with the US Department of Agriculture to his 40-year career at Washington State University, where he was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Dr. Cook spent his career pursuing cutting-edge research in plant pathology and crop and soil science, revolutionizing how agriculture approaches crop productivity and disease management.

Most recently, Dr. Cook headed a study to better understand root rot diseases that threaten Douglas fir, which is a vital economic and ecological resource in Washington. Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark requested the study from the Academy of Sciences because very little is understood about laminated root rot. The disease can reduce timber yield in forests by 5-15 percent, which translates to more than $10 million in losses over a 2-year period.

In addition to some 200 peer-reviewed journal papers and book chapters, Dr. Cook has co-authored two books: Biological Control of Plant Pathogens and Wheat Health Management. In 1988, he led the team of researchers at Washington State University that made the first field test of a genetically modified organism in the Pacific Northwest, which was a microorganism for root disease control on wheat.

Among many other honors Dr. Cook has received over the course of his career, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences and continues to support the agricultural sciences through this organization.

Dr. Cook is most admired for his commitment in sharing scientific knowledge with everyone – students, farmers, policy makers, and the general public.

Check out the photos on DNR’s Flickr site.

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