Minutes – Conference Call Meeting – January 23, 2019

  • Minutes – Conference Call Meeting – January 23, 2019

  • Mary Lynne Beckley

    January 28, 2019 at 7:09 pm

    Southern Urban Forestry Councils

    The coalition of southern urban forestry councils met via conference call on Wednesday, January 23, 2019 at 10:06 AM EST with Mary Lynne Beckley, Georgia (GA), as lead.


    Other urban forest council (UFC) representatives were present as follows: Leslie Moorman, North Carolina (NC); Sandy Temple, Florida (FL); Dale Dickens, Alabama (AL); Scott Woods, Tennessee (TN); Donna Hertlein, Arkansas (AR) and Cathy Slater, Arkansas (AR).

    Minutes of conference calls are posted on the Southern Urban Forestry Council page on AmericanGrove.org.


    Call to Order

    Mary Lynne of Georgia called the meeting to order. There is no real agenda, but councils are to share one new thing their council is doing or something they are improving on.


    Cathy of Arkansas introduced Donna Hertlein, who is the Executive Director in training with Arkansas Urban Forestry Council. Cathy will remain with AUFC until Donna is trained.

    Florida Urban Forestry Council (FUFC), in liaison with State Forestry, is working this year on its 5-year strategic plan for 2020-2025. It covers programming and organizational development, including fundraising. GA worked on its 3-year strategic plan last year. AR worked on their 5-year strategic plan last year. NC has a newly initiated 3-year strategic plan with 1-year action plans within. Membership survey last year within their membership revealed a gap in information between business development and urban forestry training in areas such as proper tree care techniques, insects and pests, and standard urban forestry tree care practices. There is a lack of opportunity for tree care and municipal forestry in areas of workforce development. There is also a need for workforce retention training, Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA)-based training and a tree climber specialist list for Spanish-speaking employees who need training to become certified arborists. North Carolina will hold their first event in Raleigh in late February to discuss the topic of workforce retention. They have received good response from tree care companies, who sent staff. In NC, landscape architects must be licensed through NC Contractors’ Licensing Board and have business credits.

    Georgia Arborist Association exists in GA. An ISA Southern Chapter is based in NC, which means there is not a lot of support within the state for an arborist association, such as Georgia has. People look to the urban forestry council (UFC) to fill that role. NC citizenry consists of a large population of people of Hispanic origin. NC wants to offer training in tree care in the Spanish language and invest in translating tree care literature from English to Spanish. NC wants to find instructors who teach in Spanish and has been working with TCIA, so she has developed a partnership with them lately. She talked to North Carolina Nursery and Landscape Association (NCNLA), which would be her backup if a TCIA instructor is too expensive. NCNLA could offer a one-hour safety training in Spanish.

    Alabama said there is a subcommittee of AUFA to deal with Alabama’s antiquated tree surgeon law. The definition of tree surgeon still includes someone who uses concrete and cement to increase stability of trees. Exam needs to be updated. It is a slow process to change laws and ordinances in the state. It was suggested that if Alabama has a Green Industry Council, they would have lobbyists on staff who could help change laws and statutes. Alabama said Fred Kapp, AUFA’s Executive Director, is the educational director for Green Industry Web Portal, which will hold a horticultural expo next month. He said the only green industry with lobbyists, that he is aware of, is associated with loggers. He said he is not very active politically due to his being a state employee.

    Alabama suggested NC check with the state economic development in commerce for translations from English to Spanish. He said AL had literature on the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) and found someone to convert it to Spanish for free. EAB affects some cities and municipalities, so that was a tie for them. You have to find an agency with a tie on the topic of the documents. The agency workload in AL is heaviest during flood and drought periods, so when they are waiting for other documents to be approved, they have time to work on translations.

    Arkansas will hold their annual retreat in April to work on their Annual Work Plan for Fiscal Year 2020.

    Scott from Tennessee is president of Tennessee Urban Forestry Council (TUFC) and was chairman for their annual conference. Representatives from Georgia attended and helped, and he appreciates their sistership. TUFC had a change in Executive Directors. Jill Smith, who was their part-time Executive Director for five years, was presented with an opportunity by the State of Tennessee Division of Urban Forestry for tree grants. Jill had been working at home, sometimes putting in 42-hour work weeks, while caring with her husband for their two children. She stepped down on November 1 and TUFC began to search for another Executive Director. Michael Dorsey of Knoxville, an energetic individual who will breathe new life into TUFC, will fill the position on Monday, January 28. The state government is no longer supplying grant manpower and will sub out grants. TN has watched Illinois, Kentucky and Missouri to see how they are handling it. There are some tree grants in TN, such as TN State Champion Trees, Tree Campus USA and Tree City USA and a few others. Last weekend, TUFC converted Tennessee Forestry Commission’s State Champion Tree data base to a user-friendly format. Forestry students at UT can use it. TUFC’s 1st annual conference will be next month, so Michael will be able to get his feet wet. Scott is committee chair for the annual conference in August. There will also be a tree climbing championship associated with it. Regarding literature in Spanish, which was discussed previously, Project Learning Tree (for students PreK-12) can be googled for information in several different languages.

    Regarding NC’s annual conference date, there has been discussion about holding it in a month other than September, which is when it was held for the last 10 years. They want to avoid the heaviest part of hurricane season by holding it later in the fall of 2019.  There are plans to discuss it with members of the council at an annual membership meeting.

    Georgia’s Board of Directors voted unanimously at the December retreat to change Georgia Urban Forestry Council’s name to Trees Georgia. Documents have been sent to Georgia’s Secretary of State, and since they are a 501(c)(3) organization and a corporation, Georgia has to change the name on their Articles of Incorporation. There is some nostalgia involved, and they will change over slowly. The big announcement will be made on February 7 at their State Arbor Day event. The word, “urban” throws off a lot of folk in small towns. The council name also becomes confused with the state agency. The name change will be timely, good, and huge, although internally it will probably still be referred to as “the council.” Georgia Forestry Commission supports the name change because it makes the names clearer. The relationship, work and organization stay the same. Firespring, which is a design group out of Nebraska, specializes in graphic design and websites for nonprofits. Georgia is remotely working with them to design a new logo.

    Trees NC, out of Asheboro, has trademarked the name, so NCUFC could not change the council’s name to Trees NC. North Carolina agrees that “urban forestry” is off-putting, and “council” does not describe what they do. NCUFC has a different Board now, which might consider a name change.

    Arkansas secures liability insurance by individual event, as needed, and asked how other councils handle it. Arkansas held their inaugural Natural State Tree Climbing Championship last year, which was an event that was insured. For peace of mind, Georgia’s Board opted to pay premiums for year-round Liability (premium about $700/year) and D&O (premium about $954/year). Georgia has insurance through BB&T Insurance Services, which has a pretty good rate.  North Carolina has many new Board members since 2018, who expressed concern about liability regarding legal issues and possible mishandling of funds. North Carolina says event insurance is critical for outdoor volunteer or training events, which they hold 3 to 6 times a year, so it makes sense for them to have an annual insurance policy. Most of the venues that Florida uses have insurance through their facility, so they only need to purchase event insurance about once a year.

    North Carolina suggested that the hosting of the bi-monthly conference calls be shared so Georgia won’t have to handle it alone. Calls are held on the third Wednesday of every other month, with the next one scheduled for March 20, 2019. A calendar with the dates of future calls will be sent out to attendees on this call so that two states can select a date and sign up to co-host and set up an agenda.  They could secure outside speakers with outdoor experience or knowledge, if applicable. Advising of the agenda topics in advance might bring in more attendees on the calls. North Carolina likes the way the Southern Group Urban Forestry Coordinators handle their meetings.

    The meeting was adjourned at 10:48 AM EST.

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