May 2021 Note From the Chairs
In This Issue:
- SUFC Leadership Update
- New Member Joins SUFC
- Earth Month Recap
- Arbor Day Celebrations
- Appropriations Letters Update
- Legislative Tracking and the Need for Advocacy
Welcome SUFC’s New Leadership
Just prior to the Annual meeting in late February, SUFC elected new leadership for the Chair and Vice Chair (formerly Co-Chair) roles. Caitlyn Pollihan, the CEO & Executive Director for the International Society of Arboriculture Chairs the Coalition, and Rachel Holmes, Urban Forest Lead with The Nature Conservancy serves as Vice Chair. Both women are longtime advocates of urban forestry and supporters of the Coalition and we are thrilled to have them leading SUFC during such a pivotal time for nature. Congratulations, Caitlyn & Rachel!
As part of the Coalition’s ongoing effort to serve the urban forestry community and respond to the needs of our members, we are initiating an effort to understand our current value to the broader community and how we can improve on the support we provide. We appreciate you taking the time to answer these quick questions. Your response will help us realign our goals to the needs of the community and ultimately amplify your voice and your work. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts!
New Member Joins SUFC
The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) has recently become a member of SUFC! Paul Johnson, SFI’s Director of Urban and Community Forestry, will serve as the group’s liaison to SUFC. The timing couldn’t be better- SFI has recently launched a partnership to develop an Urban and Community Forest Sustainability Standard for application in North America and beyond through collaboration with American Forests, Arbor Day Foundation, the International Society of Arboriculture, the Society of Municipal Arborists, and Tree Canada. Welcome to SUFC, SFI!
Earth Month Recap
April was Earth Month, and many SUFC members proudly celebrated our planet through tree and climate advocacy. The Nature Conservancy virtually rang the NASDAQ closing bell and used this opportunity to #SpeakUpForNature by highlighting the importance of investing in forestry, agriculture, renewable energy, and more. In honor of Earth Month, The Trust for Public Land started a petition to pass the Parks, Jobs, and Equity Act, a $500 million emergency investment to bring more parks to more people in more places. For the week leading up to Earth Day, Corazón Latino partnered with the Moms Clean Air Force and the West Virginia Climate Alliance for an Earth Week online celebration which included reflections from West Virginia leaders on the current historic opportunity for climate action. The National Wildlife Federation also created an Earth Month-inspired action list for ways to celebrate, connect with, and protect the planet as part of their Eco-Schools USA program.
Arbor Day Celebrations
On April 30th, SUFC joined members and tree-enthusiasts nationwide to celebrate the 149th annual Arbor Day. SUFC’s twitter account highlighted the many ways in which our members honored trees on our favorite holiday.
Arbor Day Foundation (ADF) thoroughly celebrated their namesake with a dedicated a blog post on the ways to honor the day “in your own way” and even offered a virtual Tree Celebration Toolkit, which allowed recipients to access social media tools, an animated infographic, and provided ideas for virtual events. ADF encouraged their followers to post a picture of their favorite tree on social media using the hashtag #ArborDay and tagging their account. Thanks to a partnership with Peanuts, ADF was able to offer the planting of one tree per post, offering to plant up to 100,000 trees! Lastly, ADF partnered with the NBA from April 22-25th to plant 3 trees for every 3 pointer scored during a game. Thanks to the talent and drive of the players, the NBA has helped plant 2,124 trees!
Other members like the National Association of State Foresters celebrated the day by publishing an article highlighting the ever-growing importance of Arbor Day with a focus on federal legislation affecting forests, which can be found here. The Student Conservation Association’s partnership with CommuniTree to plant 500 trees around Northwest Indiana for Arbor Day and Earth Day also helped spur more local tree planting efforts, which you can read about in this article. The Davey Tree Expert Company celebrated Arbor Day in an episode of their Talking Trees Podcast.
On May 12, the SUFC Policy Working Group sent FY22 appropriations request letters to the House and Senate Interior Interior Appropriations Subcommittee and the House and Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee. Thanks to the support of over 25 organizations, a powerful message was shared with Congress about the value and importance of the programs mentioned. To view the finalized versions of these letters, please see the ‘Advocacy’ portion of our site.
Legislative Tracker and the Need for Advocacy
SUFC believes that to be an effective advocate for urban forests, we must build significant public support by educating our lawmakers about the important role they play in protecting them. With this in mind, the SUFC team has created this legislative tracking document so that SUFC members are aware of all legislation and executive actions that include language related to urban trees. We encourage you to use this tool as a resource and hope that it can be shared among member networks to benefit the wider urban forestry and tree advocacy community. If you aren’t tracking what Congress is up to, you can’t be part of the discussion or the solution. For an overview of the legislative process, please see here.