This article was featured in the 2022 Spring Newsletter by Christina McLaughlin- Partnership Coordinator for Urban Forestry, NYS DEC.

The last two years have taught us a lot about the value of green spaces for communities. Parks and nature preserves have seen an increase in usage across the state since the start of the pandemic. Growing concerns about climate change and its impacts on our everyday lives are leading to recognition of the importance of trees as a tool for mitigating urban heat islands, managing stormwater, storing carbon, and cleaning the air. That’s why the theme of this year’s ReLeaf Conference is “Trees Bring Us Together.”

ReLeaf is a part of the Urban Forestry Program at NYSDEC and it is run in partnership with the NYS Urban Forestry Council. Consisting of eight committees around the state, ReLeaf brings together tree care professionals, municipal staff, utility arborists, state and local government officials, educators, tree board members, and interested members of the public in support of urban forestry. It promotes the value of trees, proper tree care, and sound urban forest management practices by connecting communities to technical expertise, educational resources, training, and potential funding sources that will help them meet their local needs and maintain and improve their urban forests.

We are pleased to announce our keynote speaker for the conference is Ian Leahy, Vice President of Urban Forestry at American Forests. Ian was the urban and community forestry coordinator for the District of Columbia before joining American Forests, where he has overseen the development of their Tree Equity Program since 2014.

Please join us at Jefferson Community College in Watertown, NY, July 21–23, 2022. Registration information will be available in May on the Council’s ReLeaf webpage. To get timely news and updates about urban forestry events and issues you can subscribe to NYSDEC’s monthly email newsletter, “Plants, Trees, and Land Conservation,” and the Council’s monthly newsletter “Taking Root.”  You can also follow both NYSDEC and UFC on social media.

SLELO PRISM will be presenting at the ReLeaf Conference about our Urban Forest Sustainability Initiative and Pledge to Protect Program on June 23rd. REGISTER for the conference. 

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