May 2020 Note from the Chairs

In This Issue:

  • Co-Chair Jennifer Judd Hinrichs Completes Term
  • SUFC Receives Landscape Architect Foundation Founders’ Award
  • Emerging Themes of COVID-19
  • Save the Date 2021 Meeting

Co-Chair Jennifer Judd Hinrichs Completes Term

On June 1, SUFC Co-Chair Jennifer Judd Hinrichs will step down from her role. 

Jen and SUFC have been connected in some way since the Coalition’s early days. She hired SUFC’s first Convener over 15 years ago when the Coalition was affiliated with the National Tree Trust and later served as its Convener and Interim Director for nine years, growing it from 16 to over 35 national members. For the last three years, Jen has served in a voluntary capacity as an adviser to the Steering Committee and as Co-Chair alongside Mark Garvin. Under her leadership, the Coalition expanded its partnerships, public awareness, and influence. 

When asked about Jen’s work with SUFC, Arbor Day President Dan Lambe shared, “Jen has committed her time, talents, tenacity and sometimes tears to make SUFC successful over many years. She did it because she cares deeply about the mission of the Coalition, the value of each member organization and the special people who became her partners and friends. We owe her a great deal of thanks for her humble leadership which has connected new partners, inspired new networks and advanced urban forestry across the nation.”

In an email to the SUFC Steering Committee, Jen confided, “…my 15 years with SUFC has been wildly educational and a central part of my life. I gained so many practical insights about coalition development and was constantly on a learning curve about urban forestry, public health, research, etc. And I have built many friendships that I hope will last another 15 years at least.”

The Coalition thanks Jen for all of her work over the years and wishes her all the best as she focuses on her partnership and capacity building consulting practice. Mark Garvin will continue as the Chair through 2020.

SUFC Receives LAF Founders’ Award

In April, the Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) awarded SUFC with the LAF Founders’ Award. SUFC is grateful for the recognition and proud to be among past recipients including: The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, Trust for Public Land, National Park Service and the American Society of Landscape Architects. 

The award is given to “a firm, agency, or organization that demonstrates a significant commitment to preserving, improving, or enhancing landscapes over a sustained period of time.” The Award Committee explained, “SUFC’s work to increase support and educate policymakers and the public about the multiple benefits of urban trees is critical to the health of our urban environments and the people that live and work there.”

LAF Founders’ Award (bronze stone)

Emerging Theme of COVID-19 Includes Spending Time in Nature

As Americans continue to shelter at home, the COVID-19 public health emergency has raised awareness about the benefits of time spent outdoors and the need to access quality outdoor space in cities. 

News outlets are continuously reporting on the benefits of the great outdoors on our mental and physical health. Scientific American reports, “During times of acute stress like we’re in now, a walk outdoors feels more important than ever.” Forbes has previously advocated for “forest bathing,” explaining that “people who spend more time in green spaces have significantly reduced risks for a number of chronic illnesses.” The Washington Post writes that “the Garden has lessons for us in this pandemic, if we stop and listen.”

To provide more access to the great outdoors, cities and communities nationwide are creating more spaces for their communities or advocating for an entirely new approach to urban planning. Seattle, for example, is permanently closing 20 miles of residential roads to vehicle traffic. The Conversation is calling for putting trees at the center of urban planning, while the Boston Globe wants community leaders to “prioritize creating the next new system of world-class contiguous paths, parks, and public spaces.” 

SUFC welcomes this additional attention and support for urban forests. Check out our Twitter page for more news on the endless benefits of urban forestry. Additionally, information about staying connected to the natural world during Covid-19 is available on the Children and Nature Network.

Save the Date for the 2021 SUFC Annual Meeting!

The 16th Annual SUFC Meeting will be held on February 24, 2021 at the University of Virginia Darden DC Metro Executive Meeting Center – the same location as the 2020 meeting. Please note this is a week earlier than we have met in the past.