Back to top

Community Tree Conference: Preserving Trees and Landscapes in a Changing Environment

Co-chairs,Rick Harper and Dave Bloniarz and joined by presenter, Mary Owens
March 10, 2015

Massachusetts tree aficionados gathered at Stockbridge Hall on the UMass Amherst campus on March 10. Over 200 tree wardens, urban foresters, landscapers, arborists, teachers and others arrived from across the state to learn about urban forestry, tree conservation and the environment.

Montessori teacher Germaine Koomer attended with Jeff Esche from the Northeastern Urban Forestry Advocacy (NUFA). Esche, NUFA Executive Director, has snagged two DCR grants which are allowing them to create a tree inventory, a process of tree identification, recording locations, site and tree conditions for the purposes of managing the health of trees and property in Newburyport. NUFA, founded in 2012, recruits volunteer partners from area schools, colleges and individuals for this effort. He attended the tree conference to learn more about the practice of sustainable forestry. Koomer, who volunteers at NUFA, is interested in learning more about urban forestry in order to provide substantial education to her fourth, fifth and sixth grade students. Her hope is to foster future tree wardens and arborists.

Joshua Fritz, an arborist who works for Hartney Greymont, a Boston-based tree service, arrived from Concord to become more well-versed in residential practices.  He advises homeowners about tree care, choices and ongoing maintenance. With the changing environment, he wants to become more informed and pass that knowledge on to his customers.

This conference was designed to provide the latest practice and research-based information to those who care for community trees. Topics covered included: champion trees in Massachusetts, how to appraise and ascribe a monetary value to historic trees, and updates were shared on the nutrient management regulations in the landscape.  Attendees also learned about the correct way to prune and cable to preserve historic trees, historic trends – using i-tree to examine changes in a community’s urban forest service and what to expect regarding plant diseases in a changing climate, and much more. This popular conference was a great place to network with arborists, urban foresters/planners, tree wardens, municipal managers/employees, foresters, landscape architects and shade tree committee volunteers.
Paul Willets, retired director of Parks, Forestry and Cemeteries in Brookline now volunteers in his town, helping to create a tree survey. He continues to consult in the Northeast as well as foreign countries and remarked, “This conference is a great place to network and upgrade my knowledge.”

The conference was sponsored by UMass Extension & UMass Department of Environmental Conservation, USDA Forest Service, Urban Natural Resources Institute and the Massachusetts Department of Recreation & Conservation.

Commercial Horticulture
Environmental Conservation
Related Images: 
Mollie Freilicher discusses Champion Trees in MA
Attendees arrive from across the state