Summer 2011 TREE Fund Report: From the Director’s Chair

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By Janet Bornancin
TREE Fund Executive Director

Summer has arrived, bringing the midpoint of our year. Typically July is synonymous with Special Events in our world, but our “juggled” events schedule in 2011 allows us the luxury of mid-year reflection on our progress toward our 2011 goals.

  • To purposefully advance the future of arboriculture and urban forestry by funding relevant and significant research
  • To support the education of potential future leaders of the industry
  • to make optimum use of all of our resources
  • to develop new opportunities and partners inside and outside the tree care industry.

Our Research Committee submits its recommendations for research funding based upon the relevance of the topic and integrity of the process as outlined in each proposal. Our Board of trustees recently funded two John Z. Duling awards that will contribute significantly to our knowledge of how best to control the devastation wrought by EAB and how best to ensure the vitality of nursery-grown trees.

In 2010 the Board awarded a $25,000 Hyland Johns grant to Morton Arboretum soils scientist Bryant Scharenbroch and Bartlett Tree researcher Kelby Fite to study the value of biochar as an urban soil amendment. This project is well underway and has captured public and media attention in the Chicago area. Read Dr. Scharenbroch’s interim report in this newsletter, and visit the TREE Fund’s website or facebook page for a link to WLS-TV’s coverage of the project in April.

The TREE Fund also is providing funding for a two-day symposium on Urban Tree Growth and Longevity to be held September 12-13 at The Morton Arboretum. Some of the industry’s top researchers will convene to discuss the current state of knowledge related to urban forestry and lay the groundwork for a research agenda that will direct the course of future arboriculture research.

Our strong relationship with our partners in the arboriculture industry has always been one of the TREE Fund’s most valued resources. Two years ago we entered into a collaborative project with New York City’s Parks Department and TREE Fund sponsors Asplundh Tree Expert Co., Bartlett Tree Experts, The Davey Tree Expert Company and STIHL USA to assist with development of the workforce needed to care for the trees planted during the MillionTreesNYC campaign. The outcomes of this project have been gratifying for everyone. TREE Fund Past President and Training Program Collaboration Facilitator David McMaster attended the most recent Million Trees Training Program graduation ceremony. Look for photos in this issue.

My appreciation for the human resources present within our Board of Trustees continues to grow. This spring we welcomed PNW’s Wendy Robinson to our Board as chair of our Liaison Committee. A veteran fundraiser and perennial champion of the TREE Fund, Wendy’s leadership of this important committee is sure to produce exciting results. Other individuals who are making a difference in our world include TREE Fund trustee and new Heritage Oak Society member Tom Prosser, and Texas arborist and master wood turner Kevin Bassett, who is literally turning reclaimed urban wood into research dollars.

And while I am gratified by the length and diversity of our “Milestone Donors” list, it is important to remember that individual donations and support of our special events plays a critical role in funding our research and education programs. Please support one of our 2011 Tour cyclists with a donation at, and watch for photos from Arboriculture Australia’s auction to benefit the TREE Fund on our redesigned website at later this summer.

As always, thank you for supporting our efforts to advance the discovery and dissemination of knowledge in arboriculture and urban forestry.

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