The Urban Forest Strike Team (UFST) Partnership has been awarded a 2017 Honor Award by the U.S. Forest Service, Eastern Region/Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry, for “Delivering Benefits to the American People.”

Kathleen Atkinson, Area Director and Regional Forester for the Eastern Region, presented the Honor awards at an event in Milwaukee on February 8, 2018, to recognize seven projects in five different categories. The projects were selected from many outstanding nominations that showcase the excellent work occurring in the region and recognize the employees and partners involved.

The honor award category, “Delivering Benefits to the American People,” recognizes Forest Service individuals, work units, partnerships, or groups that have demonstrated major achievements in ensuring that the Nation’s forests and grasslands provide the American people with a reliable supply of forest and rangeland products and services. Those who have demonstrated major achievements in promoting conservation education, community greening efforts, management of urban forests, and opportunities for youth to connect with the outdoors in their neighborhoods are also considered.

States in the Southern and Eastern Regions are using Urban Forest Strike Teams, which involves recruiting and training professional urban foresters and arborists on how to assess tree damage. These professionals can then be called on after a disaster to help communities recover from the damage. Since 2008, more than 400 people have been trained and responded to 15 disasters in the Eastern U.S.

This honor award recognizes all participants in the partnership, including Urban & Community Forestry (UCF) State Program Coordinators, the Massachusetts Tree Wardens & Foresters Association, UFST Team Leaders and Task Specialists, UFST Advisory Committee members, and U.S. Forest Service staff. UMass representatives include Extension Assoc. Prof. Rick Harper and Dr. Dave Bloniarz, USDA FS Research Scientist.