Blog Post By Jona Elwell

Trees Matter Symposium 2018

On Wednesday, urban forest professionals from arborists to researchers to government officials and volunteers gathered in Silver Spring for a single purpose: to discuss the health and welfare of trees in our increasingly urban landscapes at the annual Trees Matter Symposium.

It was a jam-packed day filled with excitement and learning. Montgomery Parks hosted at the lovely Silver Spring Civic Center. Attendees heard from distinguished guests and had a chance to network and share best practices.

Our very own Mark Buscaino opened up the event and welcomed guests while our first speaker Dr. Jessica Vogt spoke on something increasingly on the minds of city foresters – tree maintenance costs. She offered a thought-provoking nugget for the audience. We know the difference and effects between no maintenance and some maintenance, but we don’t know the difference between some maintenance and lots of maintenance. An interesting consideration for future studies.  

Dan Staley from Arbor Drone presented on the future of unmanned aerial flights and let the audience know that Nicolao Tesla, in fact, has the first drone patent. That guy was just ahead of it all. While drones are a thrilling toy, they’re also really helpful for studying the effects of pests on the canopy. Dan shared his research in the state of Colorado and the key findings his drone images have led to – namely the early detection of Emerald Ash Borer in the Centennial State.

Fellow urban forestry nonprofit Trees Atlanta developed and maintains the world’s longest linear Arboretum on the Atlanta Beltline. Co-Executive Director Greg Levine shared the trials, tribulations, successes and triumphs from the project. It was fascinating to gain insight on another urban forestry nonprofit – there aren’t many of us!

After a delicious lunch and some time to share ideas and get to know one another, attendees settled in for afternoon sessions starting with a visually stunning presentation on trees and bees from Wildlife Biologist Sam Droege. Did you know a single flowering tree can support up to one billion bees? Yes, that is billion with a “B”. And there are over 200 species of bees in Prince George’s county alone? It was fascinating learning about our busy native pollinators and what tree species can support their quest for pollen.

The day ended with a talk from our northern neighbor, Mike Galvin and the Baltimore Wood Project. The Baltimore Wood Project brings new partners and ideas together to be smarter and more thoughtful about urban wood “waste” in the city. More than creating a boutique urban wood niche, this project is about building a networked regional economy around wood and land restoration that is rooted in reclaiming wood, reclaiming lives, and reclaiming neighborhoods in urban and rural areas. By rethinking Baltimore’s wood waste streams, they’ve been able to save money, create jobs, provide green materials and beautifully reclaimed products, and ultimately help the city achieve its vision of a sustainable future.

It was a terrific afternoon with a great mix of learning and fun. Thanks to all partners and supporters that helped make Wednesday such a success. We can’t wait to host it next year in D.C.!

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