Category Archives: Urban Forest

EAB: Challenges and achievements of the inventory

The blog below is part of a 6 month report on the progress of our DNR grant to inventory the SASY neighborhood trees.  From this blog, scroll down to see what other ways we’ve worked with neighbors on this project. 

R-L Sean Gere, Melanie Foxcroft, Marla Eddy, Sam Meier, Elizabeth (DNR intern), Ed Jepsen, Phil Townsend, Sandy River, Eric Mosher, Donna Magdalina

The achievements and challenges of the inventory have been one and the same with the excellent partners working on the project.  Sean Gere of Gere Tree Care, Inc. and Phil Townsend of the University of Wisconsin Wildlife and Forest Ecology department are experienced, dedicated stewards of the urban forest and work on several professional and volunteer fronts, so coordinating schedules was tricky. Scheduling aside, their work has been vital for technical decisions, establishing qualifications and expectations for the intern, evaluation of the intern pool, posting the job description, interviewing candidates, providing equipment, making arrangements for irregular employees, estimating and updating time necessary to complete the inventory and oversight of the inventory data collection and entry.

City of Madison Engineering, Maps Division created maps including streets and addresses on black and white with an aerial underlay. The maps will be used to mark completed areas, match progress of inventory with movement of volunteers, and to provide a plotting instrument for the data collected.

After several months of preparation, the inventory was kicked off with a publicized event at the Yahara River Parkway June 13, 2011, 12:00 pm.   The first tree located at the head of the parkway was a mature ash.  As of June 29, 2011, the Yahara parkway, parks and bike path within the project area have been inventoried.  We are preparing to inventory trees on private properties. To accomplish this, we are starting with a pilot run at the southwestern end of the area, matching volunteers to the streets they live on or nearby.  Volunteers will talk to each household about the project and a time frame for the arrival of the GTC employee; give them our flyer and additional information if desired. Volunteers will soon be followed by GTC. After our pilot, well re-evaluate our approach, make corrections/additions to the flyers, MGE will print the remaining flyers and well proceed with the inventory throughout the neighborhood, section by section.

We are on schedule and even hopeful the inventory will be completed sooner than expected.

EAB: Challenges of an unusual project

6 month report continued…

The community has expressed interest in the EAB inventory each time weve reported or presented on it and we have acquired a good list of volunteers, but timing and readiness for public participation has been a challenge.  At our first meeting and presentation to SA in January, we came with a packed agenda and the expectation that people would be interested in helping with every facet of the project, including organizing and strategy, and that all of the components of the project would get underway at once.   Instead, we found that the busy working public needed pick-up-and-go tasks, and that the inventory itself required intricate organizing before the general public could be involved.

Another challenge, not as difficult as it is awkward, is that the information needed is on private property.  So far, almost all homeowner/neighbors we’ve talked to are interested and welcome the inventorying of their trees.  Others, understandably, are unsure.  It’s our hope that, because the project is by neighbors, for neighbors we can put any concerns to rest.

Keeping the website up to date has also been a challenge. Websites are a niche and the few volunteers that know this area well are often maxed out on their volunteer time to the community.    The work is lined up now, and by the end of the project the website is expected to be robust with information (voila, it’s up now!).

This report cant go without saying that much of the communitys attention and energy was understandably directed to events playing out at the state capital for much of the spring, including regrettable changes to our state protections of the urban and state forests.

Other than these challenges, the education and outreach components of the grant are proceeding well.

 

EAB: Social and printed media

6 month report continued…

We print regular updates and articles in the Eastside News (circulation 10,000); make announcements and invitations on 4 neighborhood/multi-member list serves (approximately 700 altogether); post to our FB page (127 active friends); post to the SA website; flyers have just been completed and printed by Madison Gas & Electric (MGE) for our pilot run on the inventory of private properties. MGE will print the remaining flyers after weve made any necessary adjustments.

EAB: International Symposium on Society and Resource Management

6 month report continued…

We were invited to conduct a tour of some of the sustainability initiatives in the Schenk-Atwood neighborhood and provide insight for visitors about things like the EAB urban forestry survey, the community garden, bike path and other local movements for sustainability. In particular, this group was curious about how to work with communities. This conferences theme was “Integrating Conservation and Sustainable Living” and was made up of social scientists, students and practitioners from places like the National Park Service, Forestry Department, and other areas. The group of 15 included participants from Japan and Switzerland. You can read more about the conference here: http://www.issrm2011madison.iasnr.org/

EAB: Williamson Street Reconstruction

6 month report continued…

This may seem an unlikely place for EAB e/o, but this street reconstruction, the associated loss of trees combined with the high percentage of city owned ash trees within the reconstruction boundaries created a localized awareness for the potential magnitude of tree loss to our community. WABAs streets are due for reconstruction in 2015. The challenge in efforts like this one is volunteers’ endurance and vigilance where city, contractors, residents and businesses alike need reminding about the impending tree loss.  Volunteers need back up support when advocating for other tree varieties that can easily be destroyed in the construction process.

EAB: SASY Neighborhood Council Monthly Meetings

6 month report continued…

Education and outreach is brought to council meetings on a regular basis. Neighborhood meetings are a confluence of people from within the project boundaries. The neighborhood association has been reorganizing and improving its capacity to communicate with the neighborhood which has, in turn, improved our ability to network for the project.