By Hannah Wagner
The Sustainable Urban Forests Coalition (SUFC) held its 16th annual meeting and reception on February 24, 2021. Like most meetings this past year, the group met virtually via Zoom and made the most of their remote get-together with the help of facilitators. In all, 75 attendees participated—far more than would have normally been able to join for an in-person meeting—to discuss top urban and community forestry priorities.
The meeting hosted inspiring presentations from new partners on furthering diversity in urban forestry and adapting lessons learned from the pandemic. Attendees were called upon to collaborate on upcoming programs and projects including the Green Communities Leadership Institute, how urban and community forests and associated green space in communities has become an essential service during the pandemic, and a new tool developed in the San Francisco Bay Area that incentivizes tree planting in underserved communities with limited canopy cover and associated green infrastructure.
Photo by Leslie Robertson for the National Association of State Foresters
Part of the day’s agenda included updates from Capitol Hill, including staff with the House Natural Resources Committee and its National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee. A discussion among participants covered the forthcoming reintroduction of the Trillion Trees Act, which would complement the global effort to conserve, restore, and grow 1 trillion trees by 2030. NASF and other SUFC members will continue to provide guidance on how best to meet the goals of 1t.org in urban and community settings.
The highlights of the virtual reception were remarks delivered by USDA Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen and Associate Deputy Chief John Crockett. The USDA Forest Service’s support of urban and community forestry and its diverse stakeholders is critical to the success of SUFC initiatives. The reception also allowed time for attendees to ask Vicki and John questions about urban forestry—an exciting opportunity for SUFC members to have their voices heard.
NASF is a long-standing member of SUFC and provides input to the steering committee and its policy and strategic engagement work groups.
Interested in attending next year’s meeting? Get involved with the NASF Urban and Community Forestry Committee by reaching out to staff member Keith Wood.