Urban Forestry Plan is Key to Weathering the Storm

Let’s face it: no one likes to think about natural disasters, with their potential for devastation of our homes, neighborhoods, communities, and livelihoods. We’ve shared on this blog before about some of the communities hit hardest in recent years by natural disasters, and told the inspiring stories of citizens returning hope and healing to the places they call home.

Even still, there’s simply no way around it. Natural disasters are a fact of life.

When a natural disaster strikes a community, trees are invariably involved and many

Photo credit: Urban Forest Strike Team.

Photo credit: Urban Forest Strike Team.

times on the losing end of the event. Using the framework of the Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree City USA program, sound urban forestry management has proven essential to loss prevention and recovery of our treasured trees.

The scientific consensus is that climate change is occurring and that, in many cases, it is making natural disasters worse. Any planning to mitigate disasters should also include planning to reduce human-caused acceleration or magnification of climate change.

According to a survey by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, nearly three-quarters of U.S. cities are now seeing environmental shifts that can be linked to climate change. More than 1,000 city leaders have signed the U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement to strive to meet or exceed Kyoto Protocol targets in their communities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

A healthy canopy of trees plays an important role in this effort. Trees need to be considered a vital part of every city’s infrastructure – right alongside the bridges, roads, sewers, electrical, and telecommunication grids – and appreciated for the natural workhorses that they are. For proof, one need not look further than the great role trees play in taming stormwater runoff during and immediately following natural disasters.

Sound urban forestry management through the framework of the Tree City USA program has been proven to be essential time and again. In fact, green infrastructure is the only part of a city’s infrastructure that actually increases in value and service over time.

Whether for preventative measures or recovery efforts, here are four key ideas your community needs for the best possible outcomes:

  • Communities with an established budget for tree care are in a better position than those that must compete for grants or appropriations. If your community is a recognized TreeCity USA, your community allocates the standard minimum of $2 per capita in a community forestry program.
  • Be prepared with an emergency management plan – and even better if it specifically includes a storm contingency plan. Unfortunately, it’s likely not a matter of IF you’ll need it, but rather WHEN you will.
  • Take time to “get it right” after a disaster. As in most things, it’s far better to move slowly with deliberate, well thought-out decisions and wise judgment than to rush into hasty action. This is particularly important when considering where reconstruction efforts will take place across a community and where trees should be replaced.
  • Lean on the expertise of your local tree board and their extensive list of contacts. These people will be an invaluable resource when it comes time to actually do the work of replanting trees.

For more information on best practices and ways your community can recover from natural disasters, see Tree City USA Bulletin #68.

Donate Now: Plant trees where they’re needed most.

 

Treating Trees: Good Advice from a Girl Scout

Here at the Arbor Day Foundation, we have members, advocates, and supporters from all walks of life, representing all corners of the globe, and encompassing all ages.

In part, that’s because the good work of planting and caring for trees spans all boundaries – physical, geographical, socio-economic, and many others.

And we love hearing from these advocates. They’re caring, passionate people who lead interesting lives and who have wonderful stories to tell.

This week, our Member Services team received an email from a young lady in Newark, New Jersey, named Victoria Ribeiro.

Girl ScoutsVictoria is a high school-aged girl scout who is working on earning a Gold Award, the highest award given by the Girl Scouts of America. All Gold Award projects must begin with identifying an issue about which the scout is passionate and end with educating and inspiring others on the topic.

Clearly, Victoria is passionate about trees, and we can honestly say we were inspired by her work. Her Gold Award project, an educational PowerPoint presentation entitled Treating Trees, “…seeks to educate the residents of the city of Newark so that they will be able to identify hazardous trees.”

A scene from a Newark, New Jersey, neighborhood following Hurricane Sandy. Ribeiro's presentation seeks to inform people of what to do with hazardous trees in their neighborhoods.

A scene from a Newark, New Jersey, neighborhood following Hurricane Sandy. Ribeiro’s presentation seeks to inform people of what to do with hazardous trees in their neighborhoods.

Victoria’s email continued: “I must make my project have a global/national impact. I looked at your website and saw that [the Arbor Day Foundation] didn’t really have any program that the residents of a city could help identify trees and make his/her community a better place to live. I am emailing you in the hopes that you may possibly create a program similar to mine to make other neighborhoods a safer and better place to live.”

Victoria, we commend you on your excellent presentation and how you’re helping to educate your fellow citizens on trees and tree care. We’re proud to share your work with others who can learn from it for greener, healthier neighborhoods — in Newark and beyond.

Thank you for sharing your passion for trees, and we wish you much succes on your way to earning the Gold Award.

Download your own copy of Victoria’s Treating Trees presentation.

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Forest Stewardship: A Tribute to our Fallen Heroes

At the Arbor Day Foundation, our hearts and prayers are with the families of the Arizona Wildland Firefighters.

Our forests belong to all of us, and we share an indebtedness to the courageous men and women who fight fires in our forests, including the 19 members of the elite Prescott Granite Mountain Hotshots.

Arizona HotshotsTheir passing is an all-too-poignant reminder that wildland firefighters’ public service includes putting their lives on the line to protect America’s natural resources.

We thank them for their selfless service and honor their memory.

We need our forests to be healthy — not only to provide clean air and water and wildlife habitat, but also to be resilient to the damage that wildland fires cause. With higher temperatures, drought, forest disease and pests, and severe weather events, we won’t be able to prevent the increasing threat of fire.

Yet, we can plant trees to bring forests back to health. Forest stewardship is one way we can pay tribute to our fallen heroes.

> Plant Trees in Memory of a loved one 

Next stage of green roof sprouts over downtown Lincoln

Green Roof Project - Lincoln, NELast week, Arbor Day Foundation employees took to their office rooftop with plants and vines in hand, ready to bring the next stage of their green roof project to fruition.

The first installment of the green roof took shape nearly three years ago at 12th and P Streets in downtown Lincoln, Nebraska, when workers installed 7,369 square feet of green roof and planted it in sedum and native grasses. Read more…

Summer storms keep disaster recovery top of mind

Strong storms, tornadoes, and wildfires have rocked communities all across the U.S. this spring and summer, leaving paths of destruction in their wake.

In the past few weeks alone, thousands of acres have burned in Southern California and New Mexico. Oklahoma and Texas each have seen rampant devastation by multiple tornadoes – some bringing the strongest winds ever recorded. And with the 2013 tropical storm season now officially underway, climatologists are predicting more and stronger storms for the coasts this summer. Read more…

Apple Harvest 2012: Carrying on the tradition

Apples and apple orchards are a time-honored tradition at Arbor Day Farm in Nebraska City, and the 2012 apple harvest carries on that heritage.

Bushels and boxes of apples, circa 1930, from the Joy Morton Orchard Company.

Apple trees have thrived here since 1855, when J. Sterling Morton and his wife, Caroline, moved to Nebraska City from Michigan, and planted several varieties of apple trees on their homestead, the property now known as Arbor Day Farm.In the 1920s, J. Sterling and Caroline’s son, Joy – founder of the Morton Salt Company – partnered with Grove Porter and formed the Joy Morton Orchard Company on this land, one of many local orchards supplying a wide selection of apples for the southeast Nebraska region.

Today, the orchards at Arbor Day Farm are still going strong, even with the very dry year that 2012 has turned out to be. As is typical in drought years, the apples are smaller in size this year but the quantity of apples in the orchard remains relatively consistent with recent harvests.

U-Pick and Pre-Picked Apples

From now through late October, 14 varieties of traditional apples will be available here. Many people enjoy the “u-pick” orchards, where one can wander through the apple trees and hand-pick for themselves any combination of varieties in five- or ten-pound bags, or half- or full-bushel. Improved orchard signage at Arbor Day Farm will help people find just the apples they’re looking for. Free hayrack rides to the orchard are available for the fall season on Saturdays and Sundays, noon to 5pm.

For those who love apples but don’t necessarily wish to pick their own, the Apple House Market is a one-stop shop for pre-picked apples. A team of orchard workers picks apples daily in the orchard, bringing their harvest into the market for purchase. Five- and ten-pound bags, half- and full-bushel quantities are ready to go for your convenience.

The Preservation Orchard

It’s impossible to discuss apples and apple traditions without noting the Preservation Orchard at Arbor Day Farm.

This collection of heirloom-variety apple trees was originally planted in the late 1980s and today consists of 90 rare, antique apple varieties, some dating back to the 1500s and originating in Rome, France, Ireland, Turkey and beyond.

Many varieties of preservation apples are not necessarily “pretty” – many have russeting (discoloration of the skin), odd shapes, or irregular sizes. But just as one shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, one also shouldn’t judge a vintage apple by its outward appearance. Certain varieties of these heirloom apples have exceptional flavor and are prized for baking.

For the 2012 apple harvest season, visitors to Arbor Day Farm will have the opportunity to purchase these heirloom apples in five-pound bags at the Apple House Market. Quantities are limited and selection will vary as different varieties are ready for harvest.

We look forward to sharing the apple tradition with you this fall at Arbor Day Farm in Nebraska City.

Amy Stouffer lends a hand for all-things-communication at Arbor Day Farm in Nebraska City, NE. Her favorite tree is the ginkgo. This piece was cross-posted on the Lied Lodge & Arbor Day Farm Blog.

Art in the Woods coming to Arbor Day Farm this Saturday

There’s a bit of a buzz through the trees at Arbor Day Farm this week — and I don’t just mean the summertime cicadas.

The buzz I’m talking about is centered around the grand opening of our new exhibit called Art in the Woods. This collection of nature-inspired sculptures and artwork will be unveiled here Saturday. The days leading up to the grand opening are filled with artists coming and going, hauling supplies deep into the forest, overcoming unexpected challenges (“…what do you mean the epoxy isn’t holding?…”) and making sure all the parts and pieces are in place.

It’s been a fun process, really.

We should start with a big thank you to The Nelson Family Foundation in Nebraska City for their support of the arts in general, and specifically of this Art in the Woods exhibit. Susan at the Tree Adventure has logged many hours communicating details via email, phone call, text and smoke signals with the selection of artists — not to mention with the 25+ other artists who tossed their ideas into the hat for consideration. The selection committee (Jenni, Rebecca, Mike, Lu and others) pored over each submission and put in some healthy debate on which ideas made the final cut. Rod, Darry, and others on the Arbor Day Farm landscape crew know the in’s and out’s of these 260 acres better than anyone and have been irreplaceable in working with the artists to make their creations look their best and hold up to the elements.

And then there’s you.

We thank you for helping us spread the word about Art in the Woods to your artist friends and in your creative circles. It’s because of your networks and friends that we have a collection of very cool, very interesting pieces that we think you’ll enjoy this summer at Arbor Day Farm. And we thank you even more for bringing friends and family to the Tree Adventure this summer to check them out. We thank all the artists who’ve obviously spent a lot of time, effort, and energy refining their work and getting it ready for our enjoyment, too.

If you can, please join us on Saturday, June 9, 10 am at the Tree Adventure and help us unveil Art in the Woods to our visitors and friends. We’re expecting a number of the artists to be with us that morning, so you can chat with them about their creative vision and inspiration for their works. But consider yourself warned: maybe don’t mention the epoxy.

The Family Bond, by Doug Hoevet; Gering, NE

Amy Stouffer lends a hand for all-things-communication at Arbor Day Farm in Nebraska City, NE. Her favorite tree is the ginkgo. This piece was cross-posted on the Lied Lodge & Arbor Day Farm Blog.

Recapping the role of Lied Lodge in Omaha’s Elevate 2012

The following guest post was written by Amy Stouffer, the Nebraska City-based e-communication specialist and web content manager for Arbor Day Farm.

People enjoy locally-raised food at the to-g(R)o food station at Emerging Terrain: Elevate.

Omaha’s 36th street bridge drew an eclectic crowd on Sunday afternoon — one of artists, foodies, locavores, and people just fortunate enough to score tickets to one of Omaha’s coolest food-meets-art events, called Elevate.

The event was the brainchild of Emerging Terrain, an Omaha non-profit that, in their own words, “uses whatever we can – exhibits, installations, paintings, feasts – to get people to think about and really see our environment. At Emerging Terrain, every project starts with the same questions – what story have we written on our landscape? And what more do we want to say?”

Judging by the chef and artist collaborations on the bridge, there’s plenty more to say.

  • Burlap bags filled with mini-gardens, suspended from cables high above.
  • A tabletop skateboard-on-a-pulley-system that delivers tasty food to eager diners.
  • A 20-foot table etched with names and addresses of people displaced by the construction of Interstate 80 through Omaha in the 1950s and 1960s.

Lied Lodge’s Chef Matthew Taylor teamed up with two artists, Bob Trempe of Philadelphia and Brian Hamilton of Omaha, to bring about their food-and-art station, entitled to-g(R)o. In concept, the design centered around physical changes to a landscape over time as a space becomes forested, colonized, deforested, and otherwise changed as a society develops. In practice, the display looked like 3-D rolling hills of corrugated cardboard, with tree seedlings and cones of food tucked into the cells between sections.

(Ed. note: Chef Taylor and his team were also featured in the Omaha World-Herald’s photo gallery here).

“Our exhibit today recognizes that as people come into a space,” said Chef Taylor, “they have to make room for themselves. So as participants in this station, people need to step into the design and pick up food from the landscape, which clears a spot for them to sit and enjoy it.” Once inside the 14’ x 20’ design, diners were encouraged to sit and relax in the space while dining on three kinds of locally-raised food: chicken, bison, and pork, each paired with fresh greens and edible “dirt.”

Before moving on to the next station, diners were encouraged to take an Arbor Day Farm tree seedling from the exhibit space and plant it at home – giving them a role in changing our landscapes for the better through tree planting.

“There really couldn’t be a better fit between the artistic concept and design that Bob and Brian dreamed up for this event and the food that we serve at Lied Lodge,” Chef Matt said. “By staying local and sourcing the best of what’s in the landscape closest to us, we’re treading lightly on our environment and preserving its viability. Plus, it just plain tastes good.”

The collaborators, from left: Artist Bob Trempe of Philadelphia; Lied Lodge Chef Matthew Taylor; Artist Brian Hamilton of Omaha

to-g(R)o by the numbers:

  • 14’ x 20’ dining environment
  • 375 sheets of 40” x 80” corrugated cardboard
  • 630 individual, interlocking sections
  • 33 modules that combine to produce the form
  • 150 tree seedlings from Arbor Day Farm

to-g(R)o menu:

  • “Micro Farm Scapes” – selections of farm bounty served with edible soil and micro “pastures”:
  • “Sunny Side Ham” – TD Niche Farm Heirloom Pork, carrot-horseradish emulsion
  • “Prairie Fire” – Perfect Ten Ranch organic bison, juniper, smoke
  • “Chicken or the Egg” – Plum Creek Chicken confit, pickled egg, Woody Creek Farm Lavender aioli

What’s next:
After the event, this exhibit will go back to Emerging Terrain headquarters in Omaha for a while, with the anticipation that at some point, it will be relocated to Arbor Day Farm in Nebraska City for its permanent home.

For more:

See a photo slideshow of to-g(R)o at the Emerging Terrain event.
Watch a short video of preparing food and the exhibit before the event.

This piece was cross-posted on the Lied Lodge & Arbor Day Farm Blog.