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Urban Tree Symposium: The Future of the Urban Forest

Thu, February 6, 2020 @ 8:30 am EST - 4:30 pm EST

Tower Hill Botanic Garden, 11 French Drive PO Box 598
+ Google Map

Registration is Closed for the Urban Tree Symposium

Presented in Collaboration with Tower Hill Botanic Garden

We know that robust, resilient urban forests, support the livability of our towns and cities. How can land care professionals, foresters, and municipalities best nurture and care for urban trees? What can be done to combat the deleterious effects of increasing development on trees?

Join the Ecological Landscape Alliance and Tower Hill Botanic Garden for a one-day symposium focused on the health and welfare of the urban forest. Learn from some of the country’s leading experts about innovative efforts to plant, manage, protect, and preserve trees in urban and suburban settings.

Arborists, land managers, landscape designers, landscape architects, landscape contractors, parks and recreation professionals, and municipal foresters along with gardeners and landowners, housing developers and interested citizens – this conference is for you! Join us to learn new techniques and tools designed to ensure the survival of trees in our built environment.

State of the Urban Forest in the Northeast
Christopher Roddick

Because people, commerce, and climate change move faster than evolution, many of our trees in the Northeast are facing new pressures that we have never seen before. Almost every few months there is news of new invasive plant, insect, and disease problems. How will our unban trees adapt, change, and survive these challenges? This talk will look at how Arborists and Urban Tree Managers might help by understanding how trees use their natural abilities to protect and defend themselves and by looking at how best to adapt tree care programs for the future.

Using Technology to Manage the Urban Forest
David Nowak

To better manage urban forests, one needs to know their local urban forest resource. Technology is aiding in the assessment of local urban forests. This presentation will overview various free tools and technologies developed as part of the i-Tree suite. These tools include simple phone apps and property sketching programs as well as more sophisticated forest inventory or sampling programs and landscape scale mapping programs that assess the structure, benefits, values, and threats to your local urban forest. All tools are designed to be simple to use and aid in assessing local tree resources to improve forest design, planning, advocacy, and management.

Management Options for Insect Pests of Trees and Shrubs
Tawny Simisky

This presentation will discuss management options for insect pests of trees and shrubs. Reduced risk chemical management options for general groups of insects will be emphasized. Risks of broad spectrum insecticides to be mentioned. Examples of mechanical, cultural, and biological control options for specific insects will also be shared, in context with their specific biology and life cycle. Accurate identification of the insect, monitoring, Integrated Pest Management, and Plant Health Care are highly encouraged.


Tree Selection, Establishment, and Care
William Bryant Logan

We are just at the beginning of learning how to make a long-lived, sustainable urban forest. Not many years ago, we still thought it sufficient to put one of a small selection of broadly tolerant species into a 5×5 holes in the sidewalk. The tree was supposed to just live there. Because we told it to. In fact, either it usually either died within 5-7 years, or it turned the sidewalk into a funhouse floor. Urban tree planting is changing now, as we recognize trees not as sidewalk furniture but as living beings. We must listen to what trees are telling us and make our decisions accordingly. We must look at a tree not as “what,” but as “who.” We will begin with a look at the ancient forests of coppiced and pollarded trees, our last successful human effort to be part of sustainable woodlands. What can we learn from the ways in which people preserved such forests, sometimes for more than 1000 years?

Panel Discussion

Our lineup of speakers will share their expertise and experience in a moderated panel discussion at the end of the day. Audience members are encouraged to bring questions and join in the discussion.

Speaker Bios

William Bryant Logan is a certified arborist and is the founder and president of Urban Arborists, a leading New York City tree care firm. He is on the faculty of the New York Botanical Garden and an award-winning author of several books including Oak and Dirt, the latter of which was made into an award-winning documentary. Bill Logan’s latest book, SPROUT LANDS: Tending the Everlasting Gifts of Trees was published by WW Norton in March 2019.

Dr. David Nowak is a Senior Scientist and Team Leader with the USDA Forest Service in Syracuse, NY. Dr. Nowak received a B.S. and M.S. from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. His research investigates urban forest structure, health, and change, and its effect on human health and environmental quality across the world. He has authored over 300 publications and leads teams developing the i-Tree software suite that quantifies the benefits and values from vegetation.

Chris Roddick is an Arborist and Foreman of Grounds at Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and a NOFA-Organic land care Professional. In the past 20 years Mr. Roddick and his team developed the botanic garden’s tree care program and established the BBG as a leader in Conservation Arboriculture and veteran tree care. He also helped lead the Garden’s move from a chemical-based IPM program to a more organic approach. Though the process of trial and error (much error) he has experimented with many different organic, cultural, and environmentally responsible methods and products to improve the garden’s soil and plant health.

Tawny Simisky is a Woody Ornamental Entomology Specialist with UMass Extension, where she develops resources and implements educational programs for landscape professionals, arborists, and grounds managers. She provides entomological and diagnostic support to the UMass Plant Diagnostic Lab. Prior to this position, she worked with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Forest Health Program where she was involved with the eradication of the Asian longhorned beetle, monitoring the emerald ash borer, hemlock woolly adelgid, and other forest pests throughout the state.  


8:30-9am                       Registration and breakfast
9am                                 Welcome; opening remarks by Ruth Seward, Worcester Tree Initiative
9:15-10:15am                State of the Urban Forest – Chris Roddick
10:15-10:30am             Break
10:30-11:30am             Using Technology to Manage the Urban Forest – Dave Nowak
11:45am-12:45pm        Lunch (included with registration)
12:45-1:45pm               Management Options for Insect Pests of Trees and Shrubs
– Tawny Simisky
1:45-2pm                        Break
2-3pm                             Tree Selection, Establishment, and Care – Bill Logan
3:15-4:15pm                   How to Increase the Urban Canopy – Panel Discussion
4:15-4:30pm                  Evaluations and CEUs

CEUs have been granted by APLD, ISA, LA CES, Mass Forester, MCLP, MCA, MNLA, and NOFA. 

Please register through Tower Hill Botanic Garden using this link.


Thu, February 6, 2020
8:30 am EST - 4:30 pm EST
Event Categories:


Penny Lewis


Tower Hill Botanic Garden
11 French Drive PO Box 598
+ Google Map