TREE Fund awards empower new nature programs for youth and healthier urban trees

Naperville, IL, July 26, 2016 – The Tree Research and Education Endowment Fund (TREE Fund) is pleased to announce the first of its 2016 grant awards totaling over $160,000 for urban tree research and arboriculture education in the U.S. and abroad. TREE Fund expects to award nearly $300,000 in additional grants by year end, disbursing nearly $3.0 million since its inception in 2002.

As part of a strategic goal to increase the number, value and impact of grants, the TREE Fund Board awarded three Hyland R. Johns Research Grants with a maximum value of $50,000 each, the largest outlay under this signature program since 2008. “In a rapidly changing world, more and larger high-quality grants will provide better tools, sooner, to tree professionals around the world,” notes TREE Fund President and CEO J. Eric Smith. “We are committed to similarly expanding other grant programs in the years ahead, while also launching valuable new grant lines targeted at specific sectors of the tree care community.”

2016 TREE Fund Hyland R. Johns Research Grant recipients:

  • Day, Susan photo 2016Susan Day, PhD (Virginia Tech) hypothesizes that the overall urban forest canopy structure has a greater effect on stormwater mitigation than characteristics of individual trees. In the “Urban Forests as Stormwater Systems—The role of canopy structure and ground cover in stormwater mitigation” project, Dr. Day will examine how planting design (trees only, trees plus understory, understory only) and tree management (leaf removal or mulching) influence water infiltration and capture. Results can be used to optimize groundcover management beneath trees and to inform stormwater policy and runoff estimation models.
  • Percival, Glynn 2016 photoGlynn Percival, PhD (R.A Bartlett Tree Research Laboratory, University of Reading, United Kingdom) is tackling the issue of finding alternatives to synthetic agrochemicals for controlling pathogenic fungi and bacteria-based tree diseases in his study, “Can Soil Amendments Reduce Disease Severity in Trees?” Dr. Percival will investigate the efficacy of soil amendments shown to “switch on” a plant’s own defense mechanisms – chitin, phosphites, biochar and pure mulches – alone and in combination on controlling two common plights: apple scab (Venturia inaequalis) and Phytophthora root rot.
  • Bryant Scharenbroch, PhD (University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point) and Co-Investigator Les Werner, PhD (University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point) are developing a user-friendly and freely-available soil management toolbox for urban tree managers with their project, “A Soil Management Toolbox for Urban Trees.” While soil management is critical in improving establishment, growth, health, longevity and function of urban trees, arborists and urban foresters do not currently have a soil management system (toolbox) to help them do this effectively. The toolbox will include three levels of detail for varying soil assessment needs.

2016 TREE Fund Arboriculture Education Grant recipients:

  • Asheville Green Works logoAsheville GreenWorks – Tree Detective Kits” will promote interactive learning about trees with tools such as binoculars, leaf rubbing plates and specimens of tree cookies, leaves and seeds. They will be housed in public and school libraries for residents in Asheville and Buncombe County, NC.
  • Greening of Detroit – The “Our LAND (Learn, Admire, Nurture and Dream)” project combines yearlong classroom activities, service learning opportunities and on-site field experiences – including designing studies, conducting field tests and interpreting and reporting results – for students in grades 4-8 in Detroit schools. Students explore the impacts humans have on ecosystems and ways to improve these interactions while also enhancing their grasp of required science curriculum content.
  • McCrory Gardens logoMcCrory Gardens – South Dakota State University Junior Arborist Camp” will consist of four days of field and classroom modules designed to acquaint middle and high school students with the opportunities and careers in arboriculture. The program also intends to evaluate its components and offer them as templates for other summer school programs.

 2016 Robert Felix Memorial Scholarship winners:

 Felix collage


 View all past recipients of TREE Fund grants and scholarships here.

About the TREE Fund

The TREE Fund’s mission is to support scientific discovery and dissemination of new knowledge in the fields of arboriculture and urban forestry. The TREE Fund has supported research that has led to important developments in:

  • Improving utility line clearing practices
  • Understanding air pollution reduction and carbon sequestration by trees
  • Determining the costs and benefits of urban trees
  • Improving conditions for tree growth in difficult sites
  • Strategies to manage diseases and pests that affect urban trees

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