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TREE Fund Announces Grant Awards to Benefit Urban Forest

Contact: Teresa Recchia
630-369-8300 x-203

News release in PDF format


TREE Fund Announces Grant Awards to Benefit Urban Forest

Naperville, IL, February 14, 2019 – TREE Fund has awarded $95,000 for urban tree research in its fall 2018 grant-making season. With these new awards, the 501(c)3 charity has provided nearly $4.0 million in grants and scholarships since its inception in 2002.

“TREE Fund’s highly competitive Fall 2018 grants provide a snapshot into the ways that research can provide crucial answers and tools for the global community of skilled tree care professionals, with investigations into invasive species resistance, drought tolerance, canopy mapping and tree failure mechanisms adjacent to overhead power lines,” explains TREE Fund President and CEO J. Eric Smith. “By providing robust scientific examinations in such key fields of inquiry, TREE Fund is fostering safer work environments for tree care professionals, alongside better planning for and management of our urban and community forests. We’re grateful to the researchers for their insight and skill, and to the thousands of donors who make our work possible.”


2018 TREE Fund Fall Cycle Research Grant Recipients

 2018 John Z. Duling Grant

Jeanne Romero-Severson, PhD (University of Notre Dame) is investigating why a tiny percentage of ash trees have survived the emerald ash borer (EAB) invasion. In her study, “A three pronged approach to understanding the defensive mechanisms in green ash (Fraxinus, pennsylvanica) resistant to EAB (Agrilus planipennis),” Dr. Romero-Severson will work to identify (1) groups of chemical compounds that fight off EAB in individual green ash trees, (2) the genes that produce these compounds and (3) the best group of offspring from parent trees having the highest defensive responses. The hope is that this work will someday lead to reducing EAB from a deadly plague to a minor pest.


2018 Jack Kimmel International Grants

Jack Kimmel International Grants are supported by Canadian TREE Fund and its riders in the Tour des Trees outreach and fundraising event

Benoit St-Onge, PhD (University of Quebec at Montreal, Canada) is using LIDAR data for characterizing individual trees and features of the urban forest at the neighborhood level in his study, “Automated mapping and spatial analysis of the urban forest using LIDAR to improve management.” This information will help guide municipalities in creating an urban forest that has a positive impact on human health and is more resilient to climate change and invasive insect species.

Brandon Kyle Winfrey, PhD (Monash University, Australia) seeks to evaluate the importance of mycorrhizae, a type of fungus, on improving an immature tree’s ability to reach otherwise inaccessible water in the soil. In his study, “Enhancing tree health in water sensitive urban design: role of mycorrhizae,” Dr. Winfrey will evaluate mycorrhizae’s ability to improve plant health in stormwater biofilters during extended dry periods.

2018 Sponsored Grant

Gregory A. Dahle, PhD (Environmental Consultants, LLC d.b.a. ECI) will review what is known about tree failures from roots, stems or branches, concentrating on why seemingly healthy trees fail in the project, “Development of a regional research approach to modeling tree failure risk probability affecting distribution overhead lines.” This study will lay the groundwork for a future one that will collect tree failure data and develop failure models to help utilities improve vegetation management and thus, enhance power reliability and public safety while reducing costs.

Note: This project is sponsored by Utility Arborist Association


About TREE Fund

Tree Research and Education Endowment (TREE) Fund is a 501(c)3 charity dedicated to the discovery and international dissemination of new knowledge in urban forestry and arboriculture (the science of caring for trees in a landscape). TREE Fund awards scholarships and education grants to engage and support the next generation of tree stewards, and multiple research grants to improve the science, safety and practice of arboriculture.

With support from individual donors and Partners, TREE Fund research has contributed to:

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

For more information, visit

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Need funding?

Applications for the Hyland R. Johns and UARF Research Grants, Ohio Chapter ISA Education Grant, and all scholarships are open January 15 through March 15.

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