Message from President Andy Hillman:
The ReLeaf-NYSUFC Relationship
New York ReLeaf and New York State Urban Forestry Council—are they parts of the same entity? Are they different organizations? How do they interact? This is sometimes confusing even to those of us who have been involved in urban and community forestry in New York State for a while.
New York State Urban Forestry Council is a 501(c) (3) with a primary mission of education to help create a healthy urban forest throughout New York State. The Council is a non-profit corporation with open, dues-paying membership that includes individuals, municipalities, non-profits, and corporations. The Council supports NY ReLeaf efforts.
NY ReLeaf, which pre-dates the Council, encompasses regional committees in most of the nine NYSDEC regions from Long Island (Region 1) to the Niagara Frontier (Region 9). The committees are loosely organized groups of volunteers that sponsor local urban forestry workshops and other educational activities. They can also host the annual NY ReLeaf Conference, which is where the official annual meeting of the New York State Urban Forestry Council takes place. The Council is the primary sponsor of the NY ReLeaf Conference. That certainly can add to the confusion!
The Council fulfills its mission in part by supporting the workshops hosted by the NY ReLeaf committees. Information about these workshops can be found in TAKING ROOT. The Council not only publicizes these educational opportunities, it also serves the committees financially by maintaining separate funds for each of the regions. These events provide valuable continuing education for planning and zoning boards, certified arborists and foresters, licensed pesticide applicators, and more.
This year, there have been many excellent urban forestry related workshops across the state. I recently had the pleasure of participating in two that were held in Region 3, which encompasses much of the Hudson River Valley. The first was a NY ReLeaf workshop about tree inventories held in Newburgh at the beautiful SUNY Orange facility overlooking the Hudson. The second, a week later, was sponsored by the Village of Mamaroneck on Long Island Sound and concerned green infrastructure. Although the latter was not a NY ReLeaf workshop, many of the participants and organizers are also active in NY ReLeaf and it was supported by the Regional Office of the NYSDEC.
It is no wonder that people have questions about the relationships among NY ReLeaf, New York State Urban Forestry Council, the annual NY ReLeaf Conference, and the NYSDEC Urban Forestry Program. I hope this synopsis sheds light on what might be described as the interconnected web of urban and community forestry in New York State. —Andy Hillman, Andrew.Hillman@Davey.com