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October 1, 2013

New council members appointed by DNR Secretary Stepp to ensure urban trees able to offer financial, health and safety benefits

MADISON -- If you are looking for higher property values, more shoppers walking in your business and improvements in your health and safety, get to know the Urban Forestry Council.

Never heard of them? They've been around since 1991. They're a hard-working group and maybe a bit on the quiet side. Yet, they may have more of an impact in your day-to-day life as an urban resident than you may realize.

How's that? It's trees. This is the group of experts and organization representatives who develop recommendations to help guide how the DNR urban forestry program can best help communities in supporting this valuable natural resource which offers a lot of benefits. In fact, one piece of research shows a 250 percent return on the investment of a city tree.

And while Wisconsin is known nationally as a farming state with lots of working cows and cheese factories, the 2010 U.S. Census tells us there are more of us Wisconsinites living in cities, villages and towns than in homes on the rural roads and hillsides. Make that 70 percent urban to 30 percent rural.

You've heard of the city mouse meets the country mouse. It's not that different for trees - there are urban trees and rural trees. And this group offers guidance and support to help communities looking to make their urban trees a living piece of the infrastructure that all citizens may enjoy and benefit.

A tree is not a tree is not a tree

An urban tree is right in the thick of activity and that makes its care and life different from its rural cousin, DNR Urban Forestry Team Leader Jeff Roe says.

"Trees in the city are dealing with people pressures - pollution, restricted root spaces - even people tearing off branches," he says.

A tough life for something that offers so much.

Roe says the state's urban and community forest resources totals 26.9 million trees and is valued at $10.9 billion.

So what's in it for you? A lot according to study done by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Forest Service and the Pacific Southwest Research Station.

Their 2004 study shows a large tree in the Midwest provides $3,790 in environmental and other benefits over its lifetime - a 250 percent return on your investment.

If all things go the way they should considering care, a healthy tree means healthy people!

100 large mature street trees:

Plus a tree-filled neighborhood, the scientists says, report lower levels of domestic violence, reductions in body and mind stress and is more sociable.

You'll also save about $31 in home heating costs each year from one well-placed big tree.

Trees also boost the resale value of houses - by one percent for each large front yard tree.

Businesses in tree-lined commercial areas report more shoppers, longer shopping trips, readiness to purchase more goods and a willingness to pay more for parking.

That's a pile of benefits, which is another reason why the Urban Forestry Council is important to you.

Who are these people?

DNR Chief Forester Paul DeLong says the Urban Forestry Council seeks to help the trees be all that they can be to a community. "Most of us know trees are pretty, are home to birds and breezes," DeLong says. "Research shows trees bring financial, property value and personal health benefits.

"And it is this group that keeps an eye on the research, trends and what communities may need."

The council members are appointed to serve by the DNR secretary. Nominations for membership is through the Urban Forestry Council nominations committee. To learn more about the Council, visit their webpage. /; search keywords urban forestry council.

Four new members have been named to serve on the 27-member council. They are:

Individuals reappointed to the Urban Forestry Council are:

Those members who are continuing to serve terms are: Dr. R. Bruce Allison of Verona, Todd Chwala of Eau Claire, Christopher Deegan of Madison, Thomas Dunbar of Amherst, Daniel Green of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Lief Hubbard of Madison, Thomas Landgraf of Madison, Shirley Brabender Mattox of Oshkosh, Daniel Siewert of Rhinelander, David Sivyer of Milwaukee, Jordon Skiff of Fond du Lac, Blake Theisen of Madison, Jeffery Treul of Waupaca, Les Werner of Stevens Point and Kevin Westphal of Cedarburg

Additional information about the council and the work they do can be found on the DNR website, by searching keywords "urban forestry council."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Laura Wyatt, DNR urban forestry council liaison, 608-267-0568; Joanne Haas, public affairs manager, 608-209-8147

Last Revised: Tuesday, October 01, 2013

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