March 2015 Citizen Forester

  • March 2015 Citizen Forester

  • Mollie Freilicher

    March 2, 2015 at 7:57 pm


    March 2015

    Up Ahead:

    Conifers in the Urban Landscape

    Species Spotlight:  Invasives!

    2015 Tree Steward Training—October 2-3, Arbor Day Poster Contest, Events, Upcoming Courses, Webcasts, and more!

    Download a high-resolution version of the newsletter here (1.5MB).

    Conifers in the Urban Landscape: Application

    By J. Casey Clapp, Rick W. Harper, and H. Dennis P. Ryan III         

    The basis for proper function is proper design. When designing an infrastructure system for a municipality, engineers and planners must take many different criteria into consideration to ensure that the system functions correctly and accomplishes the given objectives for that site or region. These criteria may include efficiency, costs and returns, current or future conflicts, and components available for use. The urban forest, as a part of the infrastructure system of a municipality, is no different. Just as when civil engineers take on the task of building a road network, urban foresters should strive to create an urban forest network that works as efficiently as possible, avoids major conflicts, provides a high return, and uses the best tools available.

    In our introductory article (January 2015), we discussed some of the benefits associated with the use of evergreen conifers in urban plantings. These benefits include helping to increase the tree species diversity of the urban forest, increasing annual rainwater interception and annual pollution absorption, and the promotion of urban wildlife diversity. In this article, we will discuss important considerations that must be taken to ensure that conifers add value to the urban forest. It is important to use these different infrastructure components in the appropriate places; it is important to properly design the urban forest to ensure its optimal functionality.

    Due to seasonal changes and tree functional type (e.g. evergreen conifer, broadleaf deciduous, broadleaf evergreen), some trees provide services during certain times of the year, while providing less of those services – or even disservices – at other times. For instance, an evergreen tree provides summertime shading, which is generally regarded as a positive attribute, but also wintertime shading, which may be a negative attribute. A deciduous tree, however, provides this same summer shading benefit, but does not maintain a thermal buffer or privacy barrier during the wintertime, which can be a negative attribute. These types of attributes must be considered in order to design and implement a dynamic and effective green infrastructure system.

    Wintertime shading is a notably important aspect to consider when planting evergreen conifers in the urban landscape in New England, and most notably when planting them as street trees. Ice buildup on roads can cause significant issues, so it is necessary to allow for optimal winter sun exposure on streets. In New England, the sun strikes on the southern exposure and casts shadows to the north. Thus, planting evergreen trees on the south side of an east-west-oriented street will cause a shadow to be cast over the street during the winter (Fig. 1.). This conflict may be avoided, however, by planting evergreen species on the north side of the street and deciduous species on the south side. By employing this technique, one can obtain greater tree species diversity and the same year-round ecosystem services that were discussed in part I, while still gaining beneficial winter sun exposure. Furthermore, shade-tolerant evergreen conifers may be established within the vicinity of a permanent object (i.e. building) that is already casting shade. Because the road is already shaded, the evergreen conifer does not cause further shading, but does contribute positive ecosystem services. By taking sun exposure and aspect into account, conifers can be included as street trees without causing conflicts by way of disservices during winter. In addition to proper placement along streets and travelled areas, installations of evergreen conifers may be designed to function as living screens.

    Due to their dense, evergreen foliage, many evergreen conifers can efficiently block sight, sound, and wind. By using evergreen conifers as thermal buffers and wind blocks around a building, the building’s efficiency can be increased by up to 25% by limiting the amount of heat loss due to cold air infiltration, or by the cooling of the building shell via passing wind. Used as audio or visual barriers, evergreen conifers can also help to muffle unwanted road noise from highways and block unsightly views. Salt-tolerant species of conifers can also act as buffers between roads and nearby areas that may be sensitive to road salts. By planting evergreen conifers around freeways, the noise, sight, and salt pollution can be better contained to those areas. Evergreen conifers can also absorb pollution and particulate matter that is emitted from highway traffic and block water spray continuously throughout the year. Though the buffering benefits from evergreen conifers are obvious, they may also be planted as part of a strategy to help decrease the urban heat island effect often associated with urban settings.

    It has been shown that outdoor spaces with high leaf area indexes (LAI) have lower soil, surface, and ambient air temperatures. LAI is a measure of how dense a tree canopy is, or how much leaf cover is present over a given unit of area. The higher the LAI, the denser the tree cover is. Studies have found that areas with high LAI have cooler soil and surface temperatures by 7°C (12.6° F) and 6°C (10.8° F), respectively. Many conifers maintain dense crowns year-round with high LAI. Planting evergreen conifers therefore helps to keep small outdoor spaces, or microclimates, cool. By cooling enough of these microclimates throughout the urban environment, the macroclimate may also be influenced positively, and the urban heat island effect can begin to be addressed.

    According to inventory data from across the United States, conifers appear to be notoriously underrepresented as street trees. Of the trees inventoried in Portland, Oregon (just under 40,000), only 2.2% were determined to be evergreen conifers. Chicago, Illinois featured only about 9.1% coniferous street trees, while Boston, Massachusetts had no conifers listed in their top 25 species that comprised 96.7% of their street trees. Minneapolis, Minnesota featured only 0.3% conifers, Charlotte, North Carolina 8.5%, and Berkeley, California featured only 4% conifers in their community tree inventories. These numbers equate to the simple fact that cities are not taking full advantage of the benefits that may be derived from increasing their numbers of evergreen conifers.

    Urban populations derive numerous personal benefits from urban greenery that include reduced stress and increased quality of life, as well as healthier birth weights for newborns and more productive workplaces in what can potentially be more aesthetically-pleasing communities. Indeed, at no point are the aesthetic benefits of evergreen conifers more apparent then when deciduous leaves have turned brown and the trees themselves have become barren. Our hope is that evergreen conifers grow to become better recognized as key components of green infrastructure systems that can offer significant returns through their ecosystem services when they are incorporated into the design and installation of the contemporary urban forest.

    Fig. 1. Evergreen conifers planted on the south side of an east-west oriented street.

    Fig. 2. Walkway planting of evergreen conifers.

    Fig. 3. Formal planting of an evergreen conifer grove offering year-round ornamental appeal.

    Fig. 4. Cones and seeds of evergreen conifers may be a useful source of nutrition for urban wildlife.

    Table 1: Coniferous trees that may be well-suited to urban conditions.


    Common Name

    Scientific Name


    Height (ft)



    Western redcedar

    Thuja plicata



    Moist, nutrient rich


    Chinese hemlock

    Tsuga chinensis



    Moist to semi-dry


    Incense cedar

    Libocedrus decurrens



    Moist well-drained to dry


    Japanese cryptomeria

    Cryptomeria japonica



    Wide range of soil types


    Dawn redwood

    Metasequoia glyptostroboides



    Wide range of soil types, can do wet soils and pollution well


    Norway spruce

    Picea abies



    Wide range of soils types, prefers well-drained


    Eastern redcedar

    Juniperus virginiana



    Wide range of soils types


    Giant sequoia





    Tolerant of dry soils, prefers moist, well-drained


    Bald cypress

    Taxodium distichum



    Dry to saturated soils



     For more information on selecting and establishing conifers in the urban environment:

    Aurders, Aris G. and Derek P. Spicer. 2013. Encyclopedia of Conifers: A Comprehensive Guide to Cultivars and Species. Royal Horticultural Society and Kingsblue Publishing: London.

    Dirr, Micheal. 2011. Dirr’s Encyclopedia of Trees and Shrubs. Timber Press: Portland, Oregon

    Gerhold, H.D., N.L. Lacasse, W.N. Wandell. 2001. Landscape Tree Factsheets (including evergreens for screens), Third Edition. The Pennsylvania State University.

    Missouri Botanical Garden Plant Finder (online)

    Wyman, D. 1965. Trees for American Gardens. Macmillan: New York.

    J. Casey Clapp, MS, earned his Master of Science Degree from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, in Arboriculture and Urban Forestry.  He is an ISA Certified Arborist currently working as a consulting arborist in Seattle, WA.

    Richard W. Harper, BCMA, is an Extension Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental Conservation at UMass Amherst.

    H. Dennis P. Ryan, III, Ed.D., is Professor and Program Coordinator of the Arboriculture/Urban Forestry Program at UMass Amherst.

    Clapp, J. C, Ryan, H. D. P., Harper, R. W. & Bloniarz, D. V. (2014) Rationale for the increased use of conifers as functional green infrastructure: A literature review and synthesis. Arboricultural Journal, 36(3):1-14.


    ——————-Species Spotlight————————–

    Invasive Species

    By Mollie Freilicher, MA-DCR Community Action Forester

    This month our focus is not on one species, but on two of six prohibited trees in Massachusetts. Under authority from Massachusetts General Law, including but not limited to, Chapter 128 Section 2 and Sections 16 through 31A, the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) derives the authority to ban the importation, propagation, and sale of plants the Commonwealth has deemed noxious weeds. In 2006, MDAR, in collaboration with the Massachusetts Invasive Plant Advisory Group (MIPAG) identified 140 plants to be included on the newly created Prohibited Plants List. On January 1, 2009, the prohibitions were fully put into effect. The list includes herbaceous and woody and terrestrial and aquatic plants. The ban does not impact plants already in the landscape. It is poor practice, and unlawful, to plant any of the plants on the list. For native alternatives, check out this list from the New England Wildflower Society:

    In this issue, we’ll cover Norway maple, sycamore maple, and tree of heaven and we’ll cover the remaining four in future issues. For the full list of prohibited plants, go the website:     

    Norway maple (Acer platanoides)

    Sycamore maple (Acer pseudoplatanus)

    Tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima)

    Amur cork-tree (Phellodendron amurense)

    Common buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica)

    Black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia)

    Species summaries are adapted from Virginia Tech.

    Norway maple


    Native to Europe

    Form: Medium-sized tree to 80 feet tall, usually with a dense rounded crown.

    Leaf: Opposite, simple, palmately-veined, 5-7 lobed with long pointed teeth, dark green above, paler below; exudes milky white sap from the petiole when detached. A purple-leaf variety known as ‘Crimson King’ is widely planted.
    Flower: Species is dioecious (male and female flowers on separate plants); bright yellow-green in color and somewhat showy, appearing early in the spring before the leaves.
    Fruit: Widely divergent 2-winged samaras, 1.5 to 2 inches long in clusters, relatively flat seed cavity, mature in late summer and persist into the winter.
    Twig: Stout, brown with a large, dullish, buds that are initially green, maturing to purple.
    Bark: Gray-brown, a bit corky, on older trees shallowly furrowed with long narrow, somewhat interlacing ridges.
    Where you’ll find it: Widely planted as a street tree, escapes to natural areas. 

    Sycamore maple

    Native to Europe and Central Asia

    Form: Medium-sized tree, 40-60 feet tall, sometimes taller, usually with a wide-spreading crown and short trunk.

    Leaf: Opposite, simple, 5-lobed, 5-6 inches long and broad, palmately-veined, coarsely serrate, heart-shaped base, dark green above and considerably paler below.
    Flower: Species is monoecious (male and female flowers on same plant); yellow, in a 3 to 5 inch hanging cluster.
    Fruit: Pair of samaras, spreading at about a 45 degree angle, each about 1.5 inch long, mature in late summer to early fall.
    Twig: Moderate to stout, glabrous, greenish brown, leaf scars do not meet; buds are large and broad, green, with large scales.
    Bark: Gray-brown to red-brown, breaks up into large scales that often exfoliate to reveal orange.
    Where you’ll find it: Planted as a street tree, especially along the coast, due to its tolerance of salt. Escapes into natural areas.

    ——————-Growing on Trees——————————-

    We do our best to ensure that listings are accurate, but please check with program organizers for the most up-to-date information on registration and other details.

    Celebrate Arbor Day!

    Friday, April 24, 2015


    Looking for ideas on how to celebrate Arbor Day this year? How was Arbor Day celebrated last year in Massachusetts?


    ·        Planting trees at schools, town commons, along streets, and other locations

    ·        Holding a planting ceremony

    ·        Holding a ceremony in recognition of a Champion tree in town

    ·        Giving away seedlings to students and residents

    ·        Organizing an Arbor Day of Service

    ·        Arranging an assembly at a local school

    ·        Inviting a speaker to give a public presentation about trees

    ·        Holding an educational event for students at the library

    ·        Organizing a “Trees 101” educational event for residents

    ·        Staging a tree climbing and tree planting demonstration

    ·        Working with a scout troop to plant trees

    ·        Partnering with a Rotary Club or other organization to plant trees.


    Massachusetts Tree Wardens and Foresters Association

    Celebrate Arbor Day with tree seedlings!

    The Massachusetts Tree Wardens and Foresters Association sponsors an annual packaged seedling program as a popular way to help municipalities, garden clubs, businesses, arborists, and other interested individuals and organizations promote Arbor Day and to raise money for the Mass. Tree Warden Scholarship Fund. Available are a variety of shade trees, ornamentals, and conifers. All seedlings and transplant prices include bags, ties, shipping, and handling. The minimum order is 100 seedlings, and the ordering deadline is April 15, 2015. For more information, go to

    Conservation District Seedling Sales

    Massachusetts Conservation Districts sponsor spring seedling sales to raise money for district programs. A conservation district is a legal subdivision of state government, responsible under state law for conservation work within its boundaries. Boundaries in Massachusetts are along county lines. Conservation districts work with the Natural Resource Conservation Service to protect soil and water resources across counties in Massachusetts. They often sell a variety of trees and shrubs in small sizes. Below are links to some of the conservation district seedlings sales in Massachusetts. 

    Berkshire Conservation District:

    Middlesex County Conservation District:

    Plymouth County Conservation District:

    Worcester County:

    Tree City USA

    *Important Reminder about Tree City USA Program Requirements* –To receive the Tree City USA award, your community must conduct an Arbor Day ceremony and issue an Arbor Day proclamation each year. We urge you to use this requirement to the advantage of your community forestry programs by conducting a timely and well-considered ceremony, such as a tree planting at a local school in conjunction with the reading of the proclamation by local municipal leaders. This is just one of the many possibilities for recognizing and celebrating Arbor Day and bringing attention to the community forest and your efforts to protect and manage it with care.

    Other requirements for Tree City USA are a tree board or department, a tree ordinance (which many Massachusetts communities satisfy with Chapter 87 of Mass General Laws), and a community forestry program with an annual budget of at least $2 per capita. For information on how your community can apply this year, contact Mollie Freilicher, Community Action Forester,   


    Structural Soils in the Urban Environment: The Practitioner’s Perspective—New ID Code

    Thursday, March 26, 2015

    12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. (EDT)

    Join us for the final installment in this two-part series as we hear from Andrew Hillman, Community Forestry Consultant/Urban Forestry Coordinator with the Davey Resource Group, as he highlights his many years of work overseeing and implementing planting projects that have involved CU Structural Soil (CU-Soil) in Ithaca, NY and around the world. Hillman will discuss his first-hand observations relating to the dos and don’ts of using CU-Soil as part of growing the urban forest. This broadcast is free and will offer the opportunity for Arborists to earn 1.0 ISA CEU and 0.5 MCA credit.

    To attend, visit and enter the updated ID code #131121483.

    For more information, contact:

    Rick Harper, Department of Environmental Conservation

    University of Massachusetts, Amherst

    Sponsored by the University of Massachusetts Department of Environmental Conservation, in cooperation with the Massachusetts Tree Wardens’ & Foresters’ Association, University of Massachusetts Extension, and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.


    Other Webcasts


    Tuesday, March 3, 12:30 p.m. (EST)

    Dr. Toby Ault, Cornell University

    Nature’s Notebook and the Emerging Climate Risk Lab of Cornell

    To join, visit:


    The Consortium for Climate Risk in the Urban Northeast

    Wednesday, March 4, 4:00 p.m. (EST)

    “Assessing Ecosystem Services Associated with Urban Trees”

    Part of the Green Infrastructure, Climate, and Cities Seminar Series presents:

    Speakers TBD

    To register for the above webcast or to watch archived webcasts, visit:


    Changes in Forest Composition and Structure Under Alternative Climate Scenarios in the Northeastern U.S.

    April 29, 2015 – 3:30 p.m. (EDT)

    Speaker: Frank R. Thompson, US Forest Service

    Changes in regional forest composition in response to climate change are often predicted using niche-based models or biophysical process models that either do not account for or greatly simplify processes such as succession, dispersal, and tree harvest.  We simulated changes in forest composition and structure from year 2000 to 2300 in the Northeastern U.S. using a modeling approach that accounted for succession, tree harvest, and climate changeRead more at the Northeast Climate Science Center


    Urban Forest Connections Webinar Series

    Wildlife Conservation in Cities and Suburbs: Research, Programs, and Tools

    March 11, 2015, 1:00-2:00pm (EDT)

    Susannah Lerman, USDA Forest Service & University of Massachusetts

    Naomi Edelson and David Mizejewski, National Wildlife Federation

     Save the dates for upcoming webcasts

    April 8, 2015, 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. (EDT)

    May 13, 2015, 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. (EDT)

    Find out more at:


    2015 Massachusetts Arbor Day Poster Contest

     “Trees are Champions in my Community”

    Each year, over 1,500 Massachusetts fifth graders participate in the Arbor Day Poster Contest. Fifth-graders create posters, schools judge the posters, and submit the winning poster to DCR. The winners reap rewards, including art supplies, ice cream, and a tree for their school. Each year there is a theme, such as “Trees are Terrific and Good for Our Health!” (2014) or “Celebrate a Tree” (2013), selected to encourage students to think about trees in new ways.

    The 2015 theme, Trees Are Champions in My Community!, is designed to increase students’ understanding of trees and the role trees play in their community.

    The deadline for this year’s entries is April 1, 2015.

    Instructions will be posted at –

    MassDOT’s 2015 Innovation & Tech Transfer Exchange!

    • Over 30 breakout sessions

    • Opportunities to discuss with your peers, the advantages and challenges associated with the methods and technologies being presented

    • Demonstrations by vendors displaying their latest technologies.

    The event is open to all transportation professionals including MassDOT, municipalities, consultants, contractors, vendors and manufacturers.

    Click Here to See The Latest Agenda!

    Click Here to See Our Topic Tracks!

    For more information and to register for the Innovation and Tech Transfer Exchange visit


    2015 Mass Land Conservation Conference

    When: Saturday, March 21, 2015 | 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
    Where: Worcester Technical High School, One Skyline Drive, Worcester, MA

    Register Online here

    This annual, day-long training and networking event provides land trust board members and staff, parks administrators and advocates, colleagues from federal, state, and local government agencies, students, and philanthropists an opportunity to participate in a full day of workshops and discussions that focus on fostering healthy communities in MA through land conservation. Join your colleagues in land conservation and acquire the information, skills, and connections you need to be most effective. More information is available at


    Central Mass Lyme Conference

    Saturday, March 21, 2015, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

    Quinsigamond Community College, Worcester, MA

    Attend the first ever Lyme Conference and hear about Lyme from a variety of medical practitioners. Go to for details.


    From the New England Chapter, International Society of Arboriculture (NEC-ISA)

    Arbor Day Grant


    The Arbor Day Grant was created in 2007 to support small town and communities that needed help to build their Arbor Day programs. This grant presents one award in the amount of $1,000.00 to a town, organization, or community that demonstrates need to promote and support their Arbor Day celebration. Application deadline: March 28, 2015. Get more information and download the application at:


    Scholarship Opportunity


    Since 1990, the NEC-ISA has awarded scholarships to students pursuing an education in a field of study dedicated to plant material-oriented fields. The purpose of the awards is threefold: to help promote interest in shade and ornamental trees, to recognize scholarly endeavors, and to assist in financial aid.


    The New England Chapter grants two scholarship awards of $1,500.00.  Each recipient will receive $1,500 toward their educational expenses.


    For the complete requirements, go to

    The deadline for Application is Friday, April 3, 2015.


    To download the application, go to:


    New Book Urban Environmental Education Is Available 

    Washington–Edited by Alex Russ and written by environmental educators in the United States, this book advances understanding of settings, audiences, teaching approaches and goals of urban environmental education. This book is appropriate for in-service and in-training educators in the United States and elsewhere. The authors say that they hope the book will help educators to reflect on their own work, and inspire new ideas to improve their programs.  Download the book for free at the Web site of the North American Association for Environmental Education.


    From UMass Extension

    Register for all UMass events at


    36th Annual UMass Community Tree Conference
    Preserving Trees and Landscapes in a Changing Environment
    March 10, 2015  9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
    Location: Stockbridge Hall, UMass Amherst

    This one-day conference is designed for tree care professionals, volunteers, and enthusiasts including arborists, tree wardens/municipal tree care professionals, foresters, landscape architects, and shade tree committee members. The theme of this year’s conference will involve perspectives relating to the care of mature/vintage trees and their affiliated landscapes, in a time of climatic, regulatory, and environmental change. Topics will include: Appraising and Ascribing a Monetary Value to Historic Trees, Pruning and Cabling of Historic Trees, and Updates pertaining to the Latest Landscape Pathogens and Nutrient Management Regulations that may impact those that manage trees and landscapes in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. One pesticide contact hour for categories 36, 40, and 00 (licensed applicator). 4 ISA, 5 SAF, 5.5 CFE, and 1 MCH credits available. MCA and MCLP credits have been requested. Cost is $65 for first registration, $40/person for each additional registration from the same company.


    Spring Kickoff for Landscapers: UMass Extension Landscape Education Day
    March 12, 2015,  10:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
    Location: Elks Lodge, 2855 Cranberry Hwy (Route 6), East Wareham, MA

    Every new year comes with its own challenges for successful maintenance of healthy and attractive landscapes. These challenges include variable and unpredictable weather, insect pests, weeds, and changing regulations. Join UMass Extension Educators at the UMass Cranberry Research Station in East Wareham for a day of learning about the latest research-based information to help you kick off a successful landscape management season. Topics include early season weed management in the landscape, 2015 disease and insect pest forecast for woody ornamentals, troubleshooting problems of annuals and perennials in the landscape, IPM for landscape and residential turf, and pruning ornamental trees and shrubs. Cost: $75 includes lunch. Four pesticide contact hours for categories 29, 36, and Applicators License. 1.5 ISA, 3.5 CFE, and 1 MCH credits available. MCA, MCLP and AOLCP credit requested.


    Pollinator Health for Agriculture and Landscapes

    Thursday, March 26, 2015 – 8:45 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.


    UMass Amherst—Campus Center Auditorium


    A full-day program for all sectors of the agriculture and landscape communities, including agricultural producers and grounds management professionals. University and national experts on pollinating insects, protection of pollinators, and pesticides will share the latest scientific research on factors affecting the health of honeybees and other pollinators and on best practices for sustaining populations and minimizing negative impacts with responsible production and land management strategies.



    Cost: $65 per person, if two or more from same business, then $40/person. Online registrations include a nominal processing fee.


    Fall River Urban Forestry  Workshop

    March 19, 2015 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

    Hearing Room, City Hall

    1 Government Center

    Fall River, MA

    This FREE workshop will feature site selection for urban tree planting and emphasize proper

    planting techniques. Additionally, local forestry specialists will be on hand to provide regional updates.


    ISA and MCA continuing education credits will be offered, and morning refreshments will be served.


    Please pre-register by contacting Joanne Buchanan, Univ. of Mass. or (413) 545-4300


    Upcoming Courses

    Check out the offerings this spring at the Arnold Arboretum or go to the Arboretum website:


    The Oldest Living Things in the World

    Rachel Sussman, Photographer
    Monday, March 2, 7:00–8:30pm
    Location: Hunnewell Building
    Free. Member-only registration through December 15; General registration after December 15



    China, Biodiversity, and the Global Environment

    Peter Raven, PhD, President Emeritus, Missouri Botanical Garden
    Monday, March 23, 7:00–8:30 p.m.
    Location: Hunnewell Building

    The Orchard Ecosystem

    Michael Phillips, Farmer and Orchardist, Lost Nation Orchard at Heartsong Farm, Groveton, NH
    Wednesday, March 18, 12:30–3:30 p.m.
    Location: Wellesley College Science Center, Room SCI-277


    Planning and Creating a Compact Orchard

    Staff, Wakefield Estate
    Sat Mar 21, 9:00–11:00 a.m. 
     Wakefield Estate, Milton, MA


    Eye of the Beholder: Johannes Vermeer, Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, and the Reinvention of Seeing

    Laura Snyder, PhD, Science Writer and Professor of Philosophy, St. John’s University
    1 Session: Wednesday, April 8, 7:00–8:30 p.m.
    Location: Hunnewell Building


    Growing Plants from Seeds

    Jack Alexander, Plant Propagator, Arnold Arboretum
    Saturday, April 11, 9:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m. 
    Location: Dana Greenhouse Classroom


    Healthy Places in the Transition Century

    Ann Forsyth, PhD, Professor of Urban Planning, Harvard Graduate School of Design
    Tuesday, April 28, 7:00–8:30 p.m.
    Location: Hunnewell Building


    The New England Wildflower Society also has many courses this spring. Go to: 

    Small Motor and Garden Tool Maintenance

    Have you ever walked into your shed or garage and felt overwhelmed by the many tools in need of maintenance? Don’t be left in the dark this spring—join us for a workshop on the basic techniques every gardener needs to maintain hand tools and equipment. We’ll cover oil-changing, greasing, air-filter cleaning and replacement, blade sharpening, handle replacement, storing and maintaining hand tools, and much more. Bring a bag lunch.

    Sunday, April 12, 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

    Location: Garden in the Woods, Framingham
    Program Code: HOR3351
    Instructor: Nate McCullin 
    Fee: $60 (Member) / $72 (Nonmember)
    Limit: 16 Certificate: Elective: HD/Adv.HD CEU: 1 AOLCP 

    Harvard Forest Seminar Series

    Seminars are Fridays at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time, unless otherwise noted. They are held in the Harvard Forest Seminar Room and also can be joined online via webstreaming.

    Seminars are free and open to the public; no pre-registration is required.

    For additional information, contact Audrey Barker Plotkin (aabarker(at) 

    Upcoming Seminar

    Friday, March 6, 2015

    Matthew Duveneck – Harvard Forest

    Managing for resilience in multiple dimensions under climate change: Informing forest managers in the Great Lake region with alternative scenarios

    Get the full schedule at:

    Save the Date—Tree Stewards Training 2015

    October 2-3, 2015, Harvard Forest, Petersham




    Witness Tree

    In February, Lynda Mapes, a Bullard Fellow at Harvard Forest, presented on her forthcoming book, Witness Tree. Mapes is a nature/environment reporter for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and has been living in Massachusetts, first as a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT and currently at Harvard Forest as a Bullard Fellow.  Her presentation outlined her book and the collaborations she has had while at Harvard Forest.

    From the Harvard Forest website: 

    During her 12-month Bullard Fellowship at the Harvard Forest, veteran newspaper journalist and author Lynda Mapes is taking a deep, long look at one tree: a 100-year-old red oak. With the help of Harvard Forest collaborators John O’KeefeAndrew RichardsonDavid Foster, and other experts, Lynda is probing the human and natural history of “BT QURU 03,” a tagged, tracked red oak in a long-term phenology study at the forest. Her goal is to learn what one tree can tell us about our changing world, and our relationship to nature. The result will be her forthcoming book, Witness Tree, under contract with Bloomsbury Publishing.

    Lynda chose Harvard Forest because she wanted to research and write the book through a deep immersion experience. In her own words: “Writers need three things to tell a story well: characters, location, and a narrative, and with the forest’s unique long-term historic records and scientific data; beautiful setting, and crack collaborators – including one spectacular tree — I have all three. Living in my research site, a short walk from my tree, on the historic John Sanderson Farm couldn’t be a better way to tell this story of a changing natural world, and our relationship to it.

    Learn more and visit the Witness Tree blog to read about her experience at Harvard Forest. 


    Tree Maps Showing the State of American Forests in 1884

    By Rebecca Onion

    These tree maps, commissioned by the United States Census and published in 1884, were compiled at the direction of dendrologist and horticulturist Charles Sprague Sargent. The complete set of 16 maps, digitized by the David Rumsey Map Collection, represents American forests by genus of tree, density, and position. The USDA estimates that while the total area of forested land in the United States has diminished by 30 percent since the date of European settlement in 1630, “75 percent of net conversion to other uses occurred in the nineteenth century.” Sargent’s project was meant to capture the contours of the forest as it stood in the Victorian era. 

    Sargent, a Bostonian and officer in the Union Army, was a professor of horticulture and the first director of the Arnold Arboretum at Harvard. As such, he was part of the first generation of professional American foresters; during his career, the Society of American Foresters, the U.S. Forest Service, and Yale’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies were all founded. Read the full story at



    The International Space Station Will Soon Be Able to Measure Forest Density Using Lasers

    By Max Kutner

    February 2015—Yes, the future of the world’s climate is tied to the ability of forests to absorb atmospheric carbon. But exactly how well they can do that job depends on the density of the forests themselves, and scientists don’t have exact measures of that—yet. Soon they’ll have a new way to obtain that information from 268 miles above the earth. The Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI) is a LiDAR, or laser-based, instrument being developed for the International Space Station. Once installed, in 2018, the $94 million device will beam three infrared lasers at earth, 240 times per second, or 16 billion times per year. Those light pulses will hit the forest floor and canopy, and the time that the reflections take to reach the space station will indicate the height of the trees. Three-D maps based on that information will lead to new estimates of forest biomass and, hence, the appetite for atmospheric carbon dioxide, consumed during photosynthesis. Read more at Smithsonian Magazine.

    For Philadelphia and Baltimore, Parks Are Central to Livability

    February 3, 2015—“Many people think parks are easy, but parks are one of the hardest things for governments to do because of the physical and human aspects,” explained Peter Harnik, Hon. ASLA, director of The Trust for Public Land’s Center for City Park Excellence, while introducing a panel of experts at the New Partners for Smart Growth conference in Baltimore. The complex undertaking of how to best to create and maintain parks — for both governments and non-profits — is a thread that connected all speakers. Mark A. Focht, FASLA, first deputy commissioner of Philadelphia Parks and Recreation and former president of ASLA, gave an overview of the amazing progress made in Philadelphia’s expansive park system over the past few years. Some 80 percent of the city’s residents are already meeting Mayor Michael Nutter’s “goal of everyone being within a ten-minute walk away from a park.” Examples of recently built green spaces and amenities that help the parks department to reach all city residents include Paine’s Park, a skate park and public space; the Schuylkill River Dog Park; and the Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk. Read the full story at The Dirt.


    There’s a Whole World of Maple Syrup Beyond This Small-Town Massachusetts Sugarer

    By Kristin Toussaint 

    February 13, 2015—During the first blizzard of this season, Ron Kay was walking through the snow. He had work to do, and the looming storm couldn’t keep him from checking his maple syrup taps. Despite it being 18 degrees, Kay, 68, spent five hours outside, alone on a snowy hill scattered with sugar maples. Kay taps trees throughout the surrounding woods of Maynard, even going into neighbors’ yards to get access to all the sap in town. He runs rubber hosing from tap to tap, and collects all the sap in a stainless steel tank. The tubing crisscrosses his neighbors’ backyards like fallen power lines. They don’t mind; Kay is a central figure of the community. He’s owned Maynard Maple Farms for over 30 years and has been sugaring for even longer. He tapped his first tree 61 years ago. Read the full story at


    Researchers Unlock New Way to Clone Hemlock Trees Able to Fight Off Deadly Pest

    By Sandi Martin

    February 2, 2015—In a new paper published in Trees-Structure and Function, researchers in UGA’s Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources outline how they were able to generate hemlock tissue cultures, cryogenically store them and then grow plants from the cultures after thawing them several months later—the first to successfully do so. As part of their efforts to freeze the germplasm, they also developed a method that will allow them to clone hemlocks, particularly important as they seek to propagate trees naturally resistant to the insect that has destroyed millions of hemlocks in 18 states since it was accidently introduced into the eastern U.S. Read more at:

    Urban Pollinators Get The Job Done

    By Jonathan Morales

    February 12, 2015— A new study from San Francisco State University shows that native bees are able to provide adequate pollination service in San Francisco, despite the urban setting. And, in what appears to be good news for farmers in space-starved cities, the amount of pollination a plant received was driven not by how large the garden was, but how densely it was populated with flowers.

    The research was published Jan. 15 in the journal Urban Ecosystems. Read more at:


    On the Horizon


    Mar 10                        UMass Community Tree Conference, Amherst, MA,

    Mar 11                        Urban Forest Connections Webinar, Wildlife Conservation in Cities,

    Mar 12                        Spring Kick-off Day for Landscapers, UMass Extension, East Wareham, MA,

    Mar 21                        Central Mass. Lyme Conference, Worcester, MA,

    Mar 21                        Mass Land Conservation Conference, Worcester, MA

    Mar 26                        Urban Forestry Today Webcast: Structural Soils in the Urban Environment: The Practitioner’s Perspective,                                                            (and input the UPDATED code ##131121483)

    Mar 26                        Symposium: Climate Change and the Future of Plant Life, Cambridge, MA,   

    Mar 26                        Pollinator Health for Agriculture and Landscapes, UMass Amherst,

    Mar 28                        ISA Exam, UMass Amherst,

    April 1                         Deadline: Intent to Apply DCR Urban and Community Forestry Challenge Grant

    April 1                         Deadline: Arbor Day Poster Contest

    April 3            Mass. Certified Arborist (MCA) Exam, Elm Bank, Wellesley, 

    April 21          MAA Dinner Meeting, Framingham, MA,

    April 24          Arbor Day in Massachusetts

    April 24          MAA Arbor Day of Service

    May 1              Deadline for Applications: Urban and Community Forestry Challenge Grants

    May 15            Plant Something Day,

    June 12-13      New England ISA Tree Climbing Competition, Northampton, MA

    July 23             MNLA Annual Summer Conference, Topsfield, MA

    Aug 5              Mass. Certified Horticulturalist (MCH) Exam, Westborough, MA,

    Oct 2-3           SAVE THE DATE—2015 DCR Tree Steward Training

    Oct 9-11         Women’s Tree Climbing Workshop, Petersham, MA


    Do you have an event you want in the calendar? Contact


    The Citizen Forester is made possible through a grant from the USDA Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry Program and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, Bureau of Forestry.


    The Department of Conservation and Recreation prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender, gender identity or expression, age, sexual orientation, Vietnam Era Veteran status, or disability.


    Bureau of Forestry

    Department of Conservation and Recreation

    251 Causeway Street

    Boston, MA 02114



    Julie Coop, Urban and Community Forester



    Mollie Freilicher, Community Action Forester

    (413) 577-2966


    If you have a topic you’d like to see covered or want to submit an item to The Citizen Forester (article, photo, event listing, etc.), please contact Mollie Freilicher or click here.

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    Charles D. Baker, Governor

    Karyn E. Polito, Lieutenant Governor

    Matthew A. Beaton, Secretary, Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs

    John P. Murray, Commissioner, Department of Conservation and Recreation

    Peter Church, Director of Forest Stewardship, Department of Conservation and Recreation

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