Urban Forestry South
Urban Forestry South is a US Forest Service science delivery center that is jointly funded by the Southern Research Station (SRS) and Region 8 and is associated with the SRS research work unit SRS-4952: Integrating Human and Natural Systems in Urban and Urbanizing Environments. We are also an active member of the National Urban Forest Technology and Science Delivery Team, which aims to deliver quality urban natural resource science, technology, and information with the goal of improving the long-term sustainability of urban ecosystems, and are the southern region’s center for Urban Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA).
We focus on a range of science delivery and technology activities that supports urban forest management, children and nature connection, tree health, tree biology, health benefits of urban forest ecosystems, urbanizing forestry issues, and the measurement of ecosystem benefits derived from trees in urban settings. Specific activities are outlined below.
Kids in the Woods/Green Schools
We promote the benefits of outdoor activity through our Kids in the Woods program, which connects middle school and elementary students with local birds, forests, and creeks. We also engage elementary school students in action projects that involve creating outdoor classrooms and school gardens, investigating school energy use, recycling, and more. Additionally we conduct research that explores how outdoor learning may affect student achievement, behavior, motivation, and perceptions of nature.
We deliver professional development workshops and organize field tours for teachers and natural resource professionals on outdoor learning and related topics. We also provide training sessions, webinars, and workshops for urban foresters interested in using i-Tree technology and disaster preparedness.
Urban Forestry South develops publications (e.g. fact sheets, handouts, journal and newsletter articles, technical notes) on topics related to our science delivery focus areas. Some examples include our Leaves of Change newsletter, fact sheets on ecosystem services and key urbanizing forestry issues, and handouts on the benefits of outdoor activity for children.
Urban Forest Strike Teams - Disaster Recovery
Urban Forestry South collaborates with the Southern Group of State Foresters and the state Urban & Community Forestry Coordinators to continue the development of the Urban Forest Strike Team (UFST) program. This program trains state agency, municipal, federal, and consulting arborists or urban foresters for disaster recovery operations following natural disasters, such as hurricanes and ice storms. Trained UFST members identify the risk that storm-damaged trees pose to people and property on publicly managed land (e.g. parks, street and other rights-of-way, around public buildings) and make professional recommendations for short-term risk mitigation.
Urban Forest Technology
Urban Forestry South provides support to state urban and community forestry coordinators and other partners across the South in the use of the i-Tree suite of tools for their urban forest management programs. This includes data analysis for i-Tree users in the South, and projects that will increase the applicability and ease of use of the i-Tree program. Urban Forestry South is also involved with data collection applications for inventory and monitoring the urban forest and supports urban tree canopy (UTC) standards and accuracy for a range of urban forest management objectives.
Websites and Social Media
The Urban Forestry South website provides timely information and resources for our clients throughout the region and nationwide. Leaves of Change Weekly is a WordPress site that contains information about a range of urban forestry issues, as well as informational posts about upcoming conferences, Center activities, links to related articles, job announcements, and much more. The Kids in the Woods blog contains pictures and information about our outdoor learning activities. We also use our Twitter sites to send out information and announcements about emerging issues and opportunities.