Community Forestry News

New Guide Assists Educators in Promoting Wyoming’s Natural Environments

Wyoming Project Learning Tree recently completed Exploring Wyoming’s Natural Environments, WYPLTlogowhich takes 6 activities from the national Project Learning Tree K-8 activity guide and makes them place-based to Wyoming.  For example, one of the activities, Three Cheers for Trees, takes a closer look at community forestry in Wyoming.  Educators are given a history of community forestry in Wyoming and shown the many benefits trees provide to Wyoming cities and towns.  The importance of evaluating the community forest and having a plan in place to properly maintain a healthy and diverse tree population is stressed through examples from Wyoming communities.  Students are asked to think about what their communities would be like without trees and how much trees add to their lives.  This guide helps to advance Wyoming Project Learning Tree’s mission of enabling educators to expand student’s knowledge and understanding of Wyoming’s rich natural resources.  This guide was produced through grants from the Wyoming State Forestry Division and the Wold Foundation, with volunteer contributions from Wyoming Project Learning Tree that totaled over 600 hours.

Arboretum Planned for Rock Springs

This spring Rock Springs will be home to Wyoming’s newest arboretum.  Through a grant from the Wyoming State Forestry Division, Rock Springs will be planting close to 150 trees on RockSpringsa site adjacent to the White Mountain golf course.  Rock Springs will be the fourth community to utilize this grant program and joins Pinedale, Newcastle and Sheridan in establishing new community arboretums.  Grant funding is also going to the High Plains Arboretum west of Cheyenne to offset the cost of a new irrigation system and to re-establish several tree species that were originally planted for research purposes when the USDA Cheyenne Horticultural Field Station was in operation beginning in 1928.

Wyoming’s First Tree Campus USA

TCampusUSASheridan College was recently designated a Tree Campus USA for 2013.  Tree Campus USA, a national program launched in 2008 by the Arbor Day Foundation and Toyota, honors colleges and universities and their leaders for promoting healthy trees and engaging students and staff in the spirit of conservation.  To obtain this distinction, Sheridan College met the five core standards for effective campus forest management: a tree advisory committee, a campus tree-care plan, dedicated annual expenditures for its campus tree program, an Arbor Day observance and student service-learning project.  A big congratulations goes out to Zack Houck, Grounds Department Supervisor and Kelly Norris, Assistant District Forester who were both instrumental in the college achieving this designation!

Wyoming State Forestry Division Announces Wyoming’s 2014 Tree Farmer of the Year

On March 6, 2014 the Wyoming Tree Farm Committee honored the Jacobson family of Sundance, Wyoming, as the 2014 Wyoming Tree Farmer of the Year. This award recognizes outstanding sustainable forest management on family owned woodlands. The American Tree Farm System is a network of more than 95,000 woodland owners sustainably managing 26 million acres of forest land nationally.  They are the largest and oldest sustainable woodland system, with the objective of making sure woodland landowners have a voice in Washington about policies that impact family forest owners.  They also educate landowners and communities about the benefits of a working forest and sustainable forestry to keep forests healthy and productive.

tree farmers

Paul, LuAnn and Josh Jacobsen at their Jacobson Land Company property.

The Jacobson’s property, Jacobson Land Company, is located in the Moskee southwest of Sundance.  Paul and LuAnn Jacobson work to keep the acreage healthy and pristine.  “I’d have to say it’s quite an honor to receive this award” says Paul Jacobson.  “We joined America Tree Farms System to better manage the property that we have.” Along with Paul and LuAnn, the family team includes son Josh, daughter Cassie and son-in-law Chris Waltz. The property became a Wyoming Tree Farm in 2011.  The family has focused on managing their property for timber production, grazing, wildlife and recreational use. They manage their land with minimal disruption and accomplish this through thinning, commercial harvesting, providing wildlife habitat, increasing grazing potential and fire suppression practices. The Jacobson’s are members of the Wyoming Tree Farm Committee and participate in workshops throughout the area focusing on bio-fuels and mountain pine beetle.  The Jacobson’s enjoy sharing their knowledge of the benefits of sustainable forestry to their community. For more information about the Wyoming Tree Farm Program, please contact John Crisp, Wyoming State Forestry Division at 307-777-6680.

2014 Tree City USA Update

Wyoming has a strong and active history with the national Tree City USA program. This TCUSA
spring, forty-four Wyoming cities and towns will receive national recognition as Tree City USA certified communities for their commitment to managing their community forest. In addition, Growth Awards for special accomplishments will be awarded to Cheyenne, Casper, Gillette, Jackson and Newcastle.

The Tree City USA program is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation, National Association of State Foresters, USDA Forest Service, U.S. Conference of Mayors, and the National League of Cities. The program was initiated in 1976 as a project of our nation’s bicentennial celebration. Currently, Wyoming ranks among the top states in the nation for the percentage of incorporated municipalities that are Tree City USA’s. The award is presented to communities that meet four criteria and certify annually. The minimum criteria are:

  1. Your community must have a Tree Board or department charged by ordinance to oversee the community’s tree program.
  2. Community leaders must enact a comprehensive tree ordinance that defines tree planting, maintenance and other requirements concerning trees growing along streets and public areas.
  3. Your community must spend at least $2 per capita on tree resources: this can include planting, city maintenance, grants and donations.
  4. Your community must have an official Arbor Day celebration with a proclamation by the mayor and a tree planting ceremony.

2014 TREE CITY USA CERTIFIED COMMUNITIES

City Years Population City Years Population
           
Afton       16 1911 Laramie 16 30816
Bar Nunn 21 2213 Lingle 22 468
Big Piney       13 552 Lovell 13 2360
Buffalo 27 4585 Lyman 10 2115
Casper 17 55316 Marbleton 16 1094
Cheyenne 32 59466 Mountain View 25 1286
Chugwater 9 212 Newcastle 19 3532
Cody 18 9520 Pinedale 22 2030
Cokeville 3 535 Powell 24 6314
Cowley 9 655 Rawlins 19 9259
Dubois 18 971 Riverton 12 10615
Douglas       14 6120 Rock Springs 19 23036
Evanston 15 12359 Sheridan 6 17444
F.E. Warren AFB 26 5350 Sinclair 4 433
Gillette 22 29087 Saratoga 10 1690
Glenrock        10 2576 Star Valley Ranch 3 1503
Green River 31 12515 Ten Sleep 3 260
Greybull       12 1847 Thayne 16 366
Jackson 3 9577 Torrington 30 6501
Kaycee 8 263 Wheatland 14 3627
Kemmerer 12 2656 Wright  19 1807
LaBarge 7 551
Lander 24 7487

For information on how your town can become a Tree City USA contact Mark Hughes at the Wyoming State Forestry Division at 307-777-7586 or visit the National Arbor Day Foundation website at www.arborday.org .

Northern Rockies Tree School to be Held in Cody

Mark your calendars! For the 5th consecutive year Wyoming State Forestry Division is partnering with Montana State Forestry to host the Northern Rockies Tree School. This year’s event will be held October 8th and 9th in Cody, WY. On average, over 130 people representingnrts various natural resource agencies attend the increasingly popular two-day event.

Regional and national tree care experts will address topics such as tree physiology and
anatomy, hardy tree species, nursery stock production methods, tree and utility conflicts, invasive species and much more. The Northern Rockies Tree School includes classroom instruction and interactive outdoor sessions. More details will be available in the coming months.

Statewide Forestry Staff Changes

Paul Wright has recently resigned from the District Forester position in District 5 with his last day being March 3rd. Paul began working for Wyoming State Forestry Division as an Assistant District Forester in 2005 and became the District 5 District Forester in 2009.  Paul plans to eventually move south to a warmer climate and start a Bed and Breakfast and hobby farm. He will be getting married this August to his fiancée Michelle and they plan to take a road trip after the wedding to find where they want to live and set up their business together.

Mark ‘Oly’ Ellison the Community Resource Forester with Wyoming State Forestry Division accepted the position of Assistant Director with the City of Cheyenne Urban Forestry Division. He had been with state forestry for 14 years and will begin his new position with the City of Cheyenne in early April.

Randy Overstreet was hired for the newly created City Arborist position in Laramie. Randy had been the City of Cheyenne Urban Forestry Assistant Director for 16 years and began his new role in Laramie in January. In addition to trees in parks and public places Randy will also be involved with public education and code enforcement for right of way trees.

City Arborist Janie Kuntz in Gillette was promoted to City Park Supervisor. She had been the City Arborist for eight years. Wendy Clements who had been with the City of Gillette Forestry Division is now the City Arborist.

The City of Powell has hired Del Barton as the Park Superintendent/Arborist following the retirement of Chuck Hewitt. Del moved to Powell in early March from Lima, Ohio and has twenty years experience working for the National Park Service in various states including Wyoming. He is an ISA Certified Arborist and an ISA Certified Municipal Specialist.

State Forestry Conservation Program Assists with Flooding

The recent flooding in Big Horn County demonstrated how agencies and cooperators in Wyoming come together during a crisis.

In early to mid-March, several ice jams and high runoff forced water over the banks of the fillingbagsBig Horn River causing flooding.  The primary concerns during this event were ice jams; some as big as the front of a truck and some that were more than a mile long with water running underneath the jams.

The majority of the flood assistance was in and around the towns of Manderson and Greyull. In Manderson, sand bags were strategically placed along the banks of the Big Horn and Nowood Rivers in an effort to keep flood waters away from homes and the town’s sewer system.  An estimated 70,000 sand bags were utilized which totaled 1.3 million pounds of sand.  Some structures were damaged but no residents were hurt during the incident.

loadingbagsBig Horn and Washakie County Sheriff’s Offices, Search and Rescue, the Big Horn Volunteer Fire Department, Homeland Security and Wyoming National Guard worked together to assist with the flood relief.  Wyoming State Forestry Division’s Conservation Crew Program also provided critical assistance.  A total of 28 forestry crew inmates and 5 crew supervisors from the Wyoming Honor Conservation Camp in Newcastle and the Wyoming Honor Farm in Riverton joined forces and performed over 2,000 hours of flood assistance.

The Forestry Conservation Crew Program is a combined effort of the Wyoming Department of Corrections’ Wyoming Honor Conservation Camp and Wyoming Honor Farm, both minimum security facilities, and the Wyoming State Forestry Division.

Wyoming State Forestry Division Hosts Annual Maintenance Workshop

On February 2123, 2014, Wyoming State Forestry Division (WSFD) staff, with assistance from the Fremont County Fire Protection District and the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention conducted a wildland firefighting equipment maintenance workshop in Cheyenne.  Registered participants came from across Wyoming and neighboring states of Nebraska, South Dakota and Colorado.

maintenance2The class offered participantsa comprehensive understanding of maintaining a 2-1/2 and 5ton 6×6 military trucks.  Participants spent three days of rigorous training that included lecture and hands-on demonstrations.

WSFD staff refurbishes the 2-½ and 5 ton military trucks from their past life into one of the most sought after wildland fire engines. The vehicles are outfitted with necessary fire equipment, then either loaned to or acquired by fire districts/departments across the state.  To build and maintain an engine fleet in Wyoming, WSFD obtains retired vehicles through the Federal Excess Personal Property Program (FEPP) and Firefighter Property Program (FFP). This allows WSFD to acquire used vehicles from the Department of Defense and other Federal entities.  Together, the WSFD and USFS absorb nearly all costs of the engine fleet program to ensure that fire districts/departments around the state have the necessary equipment to fight fires.

Participants are able to take the classroom materials back to their community, to share withmaintenance1 their peers the basic understanding of working on a wildland fire engine.  The savings from these programs reach out to all counties and most important, small communities that have limited funds.

While it is a lot of work to set up the workshop, the WSFD Shop staff welcomes the opportunity to instruct and mentor participants  and have participants share their the experience and knowledge as well.