Michelle Werts, Director of Communications

The urban forestry community is full of intelligent, passionate individuals. I was fortunate this summer to meet many such people while visiting four cities across the U.S. as part of our urban forests partnership with the U.S. Forest Service.

Milwaukee EAB Inspections - American Forests Magazine Autumn 2012

Members of Milwaukee's Environmental Services team work on emeral ash borer inspections and injections. Credit: Jack Gordon/American Forests

While in Sacramento, Calif., I discovered how the public utility, Sacramento Municipal Utility District, was working closely with the nonprofit Sacramento Tree Foundation to plant trees to reduce energy use, while the Department of Public Works’ urban forestry team works to maintain and protect the city’s manmade canopy.

In Portland, Ore., the emphasis was on protecting the Willamette Watershed through the work of Portland’s Bureaus of Environmental Services, Parks & Recreation, Water, Transportation and Development Services, alongside nonprofit partner Friends of Trees.

Moving onto Milwaukee, Wis., I found the city’s Environmental Services Division — formerly the Forestry Division — working hard to increase and maintain the city’s canopy, while also using proactive techniques to try and protect the city’s tens of thousands of ash trees from the invasive pest emerald ash borer.

Finally, in Baltimore, the Department of Recreation & Parks’ urban forestry experts and the nonprofit Parks & People Foundation revealed how in the neighborhood-centric city, improving the urban canopy was tied to engaging communities.

It was an enlightening trip. We’re looking forward to working with various U.S. cities on their urban forests.

For another urban forest tale, see the feature “Keep Austin Green.”