The TREE Fund announced the first of its 2016 grant awards totaling more than $160,000 for urban tree research and arboriculture education. As part of a strategic goal to increase the number, value, and impact of grants, the TREE Fund Board awarded three Hyland R. Johns Research Grants with a maximum value of $50,000 each, the largest outlay under this signature program since 2008. TREE Fund expects to award nearly $300,000 in additional grants by year end, bringing its total disbursement of funding to nearly $3 million since its inception in 2002.
2016 TREE Fund Hyland R. Johns Research Grant recipients:
Susan Day, Ph.D. (Virginia Tech) hypothesizes that the overall urban forest canopy structure has a greater effect on stormwater mitigation than characteristics of individual trees. In the “Urban Forests as Stormwater Systems—The role of canopy structure and ground cover in stormwater mitigation” project, Dr. Day will examine how planting design (trees only, trees plus understory, understory only) and tree management (leaf removal or mulching) influence water infiltration and capture. Results can be used to optimize groundcover management beneath trees and to inform stormwater policy and runoff estimation models.
Glynn Percival, Ph.D. (R.A. Bartlett Tree Research Laboratory, University of Reading, United Kingdom) is tackling the issue of finding alternatives to synthetic agrochemicals for controlling pathogenic fungi and bacteria-based tree diseases in his study, “Can Soil Amendments Reduce Disease Severity in Trees?” Dr. Percival will investigate the efficacy of soil amendments shown to “switch on” a plant’s own defense mechanisms – chitin, phosphites, biochar and pure mulches – alone and in combination on controlling apple scab (Venturia inaequalis) and Phytophthora root rot.
Bryant Scharenbroch, Ph.D. (University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point) and Co-Investigator Les Werner, PhD (University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point) are developing a user-friendly and freely-available soil management toolbox for urban tree managers with their project, “A Soil Management Toolbox for Urban Trees.” While soil management is critical in improving establishment, growth, health, longevity and function of urban trees, arborists and urban foresters do not currently have a soil management system (toolbox) to help them do this effectively. The toolbox will include three levels of detail for varying soil assessment needs.
2016 TREE Fund Arboriculture Education Grant recipients:
Asheville GreenWorks – “Tree Detective Kits” will promote interactive learning about trees with tools such as binoculars, leaf rubbing plates and specimens of tree cookies, leaves and seeds. They will be housed in public and school libraries for residents in Asheville and Buncombe County, NC.
Greening of Detroit – The “Our LAND (Learn, Admire, Nurture and Dream)” project combines yearlong classroom activities, service learning, and on-site field experiences – including designing studies, conducting field tests and interpreting and reporting results – for students in grades 4-8 in Detroit schools. Students explore the impacts humans have on ecosystems and ways to improve these interactions while enhancing their grasp of required science curriculum content.
McCrory Gardens – South Dakota State University
“Junior Arborist Camp” will consist of four days of field and classroom modules designed to acquaint middle and high school students with the opportunities and careers in arboriculture. The program also intends to evaluate its components and offer them as templates for other summer school programs.
2016 Robert Felix Memorial Scholarship winners:
- Savannah Haines, University of Maine
- Daniel Hedden, California Polytechnic State University
- Jamilee Kempton, University of Hawaii at Manoa