Announcements from the October 2021 Chapter Meeting

The Announcements
View the full set of October announcements by clicking here. As more activities open up, more volunteer opportunities are coming into the chapter calendar. Opportunities and contacts, websites, and other details are available in the announcements.

We will be voting for our 2022 Officers and Directors during our November Chapter Meeting. The Board of Directors has approved the slate proposed by the Nominating Committee. Please see the announcements for the slate for 2022 so that you will be prepared to vote in November.

COVID-19 update: Under Dallas County’s Level Red precautions, we’ve cautiously moved to hybrid chapter meetings . We’re tracking with CDC guidance and continue to urge wearing masks indoors and social distancing. Please participate at the level of participation with which you are comfortable. Details here.

Highlights of the meeting
We are saddened by the loss of long-time Master Naturalist Shannon Love. This month’s camera roll shared many memories of her time with NTMN. Her spirit helped shape our chapter. She is deeply missed.

Thanks to all for your patience as we conducted our first hybrid chapter meeting. Despite some glitches, the format was successful and (with modifications) will serve as a template going forward. Special thanks to those who participated in the in-person meeting at Brookhaven. So very nice to gather in person!

The recording of the meeting is available here.

Lifting the Myth of the Red Tape Covering Dallas’ Urban Forest

Many thanks to Chief Arborist Philip Erwin for walking us through the challenges facing urban forests in the City of Dallas. Among his many Development Services roles Philip oversees the city arborist team and serves on the newly organized, multi-departmental Urban Forest Management Team.

Philip began with an overview of changes in city government and how recent reorganization promises to advance the cause of sustaining forests. Important drivers are the Comprehensive Environmental & Climate Action Plan and its required implementation of the Urban Forest Management Plan (UFMP). One objective in the Climate Action Plan is to increase the forest canopy from the current 32% to 37% coverage by 2040.

The UFMP sets ambitious goals for Dallas, including

  • inventory Dallas’ trees – Treekeeper Program
  • centralize forestry programs – Forestry Tech Team
  • ensure compliance with tree regulations & best practices
  • develop strategies for investment and needed forest resources
  • provide equitable access to tree canopy – Tree Equity Score
  • address environmental threats, e.g. Emerald Ash Borer
  • set best/highest use for removed trees/wood waste e.g. Urban Wood Network
  • outreach/education building relationships with the public, conservation groups, private utilities
  • revise the Great Trinity Forest Management Plan

Seeking balance between conservation and development – Philip discussed the Landscape and Tree Manual as the cornerstone of the wide range of regulations his group implements. It covers the approved tree list and tree mitigation standards. While these can be very protective in commercial development, he pointed out how little protection is afforded to trees on private residential property.

Residences contain over 70% of the Dallas tree canopy and, except during demolition and development, decisions about those trees are left to the property owner. Increasing redevelopment creates pressure on this large part of the urban forest. This will be a special challenge as Dallas works to increase the forest canopy.

Key takeaways – How You Effect Change: Philip closed with a review of Dallas initiatives and offered several paths for us to engage in. These include

  • Volunteering with Branch Out Dallas & local projects, e.g. Frasier Dam
  • Community tree planting and maintenance coordination
  • Urban Forestry Walkabouts for targeted neighborhoods
  • Forest Steward leadership for neighborhoods
  • Advancing the Ecological Conscience – going beyond taking care of our own needs, not assuming government will “do the rest”

Going deeper: City of Dallas – Urban Forest Master Plan, Climate Action Plan, tree inventory, and numerous tree resources
Texas Trees Foundation – Cool Schools, volunteering, more resources
Dallas Trees – Urban Forestry Advisory Committee, links
American Forests – Tree Equity
Sustainable Urban Forestry Coalition – links to related conservation groups

Contact Philip Erwin with your City of Dallas tree questions

Thanks to our guests and members for participating in this month’s meeting. I hope all feel welcome at NTMN.

Take care,
Scott Hudson
President
North Texas Master Naturalist

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