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Bloniarz, David V.

Project Coordinator, USDA Forest Service Urban Natural Resources Institute

Phone: 413-545-3755
Cell Phone: 413/537-3748
Holdsworth Hall
E-Mail: bloniarz@eco.umass.edu
Links: www.unri.org

Primary Interests

Primary work involves research and technology transfer initiatives related to urban natural resource structure, function and value.  The development of new tools and technologies that can be utilized by planners, managers and researchers are the primary focus of the work undertaken by the Urban Natural Resources Institute (UNRI), where Dr. Bloniarz serves as its project director.

Additionally, work includes membership on the i-Tree Development Team, which serves as the leadership mechanism for bringing this public domain urban forest inventory, assessment and reporting software tool to user communities across the world. Also, Dr. Bloniarz is currently coordinating a USDA Forest Service – US Dept of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) National Disaster Resilience Initiative that is developing model programming for the training of ‘citizen scientists’ and ‘community tree stewards’ from low-income urban neighborhoods, in order to more effectively address global climate change at the local level.

Since 2015, Dr. Bloniarz has been working with teams of visiting scholars from Mexico, Peru and Uruguay who are part of a US State Department environmental exchange program, which brings emerging scientists from these countries to the United States to work with researchers here in the United States.

GENERAL ACTIVITIES

2017

Community Tree Steward Educational Program – Coordinated the delivery of a 12-week educational program for low-income residents of Springfield, MA who are studying topics related to urban natural resources, landscape sustainability and the green industry.  Participants will complete 80-hours of instructional training and will be linked with potential green industry employers at the conclusion of the program. A cooperative project of the Forest Service, US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the City of Springfield, MA., and part of the HUD National Disaster Resilience Competition Grant Program.

Citizen Science Academy – Organized and oversaw the delivery of a 10-week educational program for low-income residents of Springfield, MA who aim to assist in research activities that are taking place, or planned, for their community.  Participants will complete 60-hours of instructional training on various aspects of the urban environment, including trees, air, soil, water, wildlife, climate, weather and other research topics. At the conclusion of the program the ‘citizen scientists’ will be linked with a researcher, with whom they will provide field assistance.  This program is cooperative project of the Forest Service, US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the City of Springfield, MA., and part of the HUD National Disaster Resilience Competition Grant Program.

Urban Wood Utilization: Development of a Handheld App and Online Database – Ongoing partnership with the Forest Service Forest Products Lab (FPL) and the Davey Institute, this project is developing a proof-of-concept protocol and software tools that will assist urban foresters, arborists, and commercial tree care firms to bring usable wood, from urban tree care operations, to the marketplace.  The project anticipates pilot testing of the program in early 2018, in several cities in our region, partnering with municipal departments, private industry and end-users of urban forest products.

Community Bio-Blitz at  Abbey Brook, Springfield, MA – This one-day event, attended by over 75 participants, was aimed at bringing environmental awareness to residents living nearby a degraded urban watershed.  Participants were led on ‘expeditions’ into the Abbey Brook Watershed, an 4.2 square mile forested area in one of Springfield’s most densely developed areas.  Over 80 different species of animals, plants, fish, insects, and other natural components of the watershed were found by participants.  The Bio-Blitz was organized by the Forest Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Renaissance Expeditionary High School, the University of Massachusetts, Mount Holyoke College, the Springfield Science Museum and the Springfield Conservation Commission.

i-Tree ECO Analysis and Report of Abbey Brook, Forest Park and Van Horn Park using Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) summer program interns.  Worked with a team of YCC team members who were trained on i-Tree, field data collection techniques and analysis tools. This work provided the first complete study of these greenspaces in the city of Springfield.

Rooted in Faith – This faith-based program was organized and conducted in Springfield, MA in partnership with Faith United Church, part of the United Church of Christ (UCC). A 3-session, evening gathering by members of the congregation, and community members, allowed for discussion of urban greenspace, the natural world and the value of trees in urbanized neighborhoods.  i-Tree was introduced, and participants completed an analysis of trees on the church grounds and nearby streets.  Tree valuation ‘tag sale’ signs were hung from trees by participants, using data developed via their use of the MyTree smartphone app, which is part of the i-Tree software suite.

2012

i-Tree Content Management System (CMS) – Proof-of-concept testing of Joomla! software tools to be used in a ‘turbo-tax’ style content management system and decision model for use in choosing appropriate i-Tree tools by users.

i-Tree ‘YouTube Style’ Videos – Produced instructional videos on the use of the i-Tree urban forest modeling tools, and distributed via Vimeo and YouTube.

UNRI Social Media – Update and maintain the UNRI, Facebook, and Twitter social media accounts.

UNRI Informational Webcasts – Organized and coordinated the delivery of a series of one-hour long webcast sessions which were delivered to over 60 participants, and include nearly 375 contact hours with webcast participants.

IUFRO Urban Forestry Section – Distributed Informational Updates via electronic mailing list, and serves as member database manager.

Urban Forest Strike Team – Updated website for archived materials. Coordinated the delivery of 3 one-hour webinar continuing education sessions for members of the US Forest Service Urban Forest Strike Team.

Forest Restoration from 2011 Storm Events in Springfield, MA – Worked with Massachusetts agencies (MA Dept. of Conservation & Recreation, MA Dept. of Energy Resources, MA Clean Energy Center), municipal officials, and members of Regreen Springfield, Inc. in Springfield, Massachusetts to prepare request for restoration funds to plant trees in response to the tornado and October 2011 snowstorm events.

Urban Tree Canopy and Energy Consumption Research Study – Serve as a member of a Univ. of Mass graduate student’s thesis committee, in which a study of increases to energy consumption in Worcester and Springfield, MA are being examined, following devastation to urban tree canopy from ALB tree removal (Worcester) and severe storm event (Springfield).

QR Code Tree ID and Energy Benefits Tags– Pilot tested protocols for a program that will install QR coded permanent tags on public shade trees. The codes will provide information on the tree species, growth habit and energy saving benefits to users of smartphones.

Weather Station Funding Proposal – Prepared funding proposals to the MA Dept. of Energy Resources, MA DCR and City of Springfield, MA for purchase of weather stations to monitor changes to urban micro-climate resulting in the planting of new trees in the tornado zones of Springfield, MA.

Energy Savings Tree Planting Initiative, Springfield, MA – Provided technical and logistical support to the City of Springfield, MA, MA DCR and Regreen Springfield (local non-profit) to prepare, submit and complete a funding proposal to MA Dept. of Energy Resources and the MA Clean Energy Center.

Urban Forestry Data Standards – Updated electronic mailing list of members. NRS Amherst Safety Committee – Served as Chair of the Safety Committee. Delivered a series of one-hour safety informational sessions.

Eastern Sates Exposition Environmental Murals with USDA and Forest Service – Assisted in the planning and completion of a project that enlisted elementary school-aged students to paint (3) natural resource themed murals at the Big E, Eastern State Exposition, the regional state fair for New England.

Sabis International Charter School/Green Stats/Civil Rights Grant – Closed out grant that introduced i-Tree Design and Streets to urban middle and high school in Springfield, MA.

Springfield (MA) Arbor Allies/Civil Rights Grant – Logistical and technical support for pilot mapping project in two neighborhoods, including coordination of two University of Massachusetts student interns.

2011

IPED Pest Detection Initiative – Organized a 4-part IPED online Training Series which was presented four 1-hour long segments of IPED.  Presenters included FS staff, state partners and project partners.

i-Tree Online Informational Webcast Series – Organized a 4-part i-Tree online Training Series which was presented four 1-hour long segments on various software components of i-Tree 4.0.

UNRI Website – Updated the UNRI website to include components for Facebook, Twitter and RSS Feeds.  Maintenance and updating of the site was completed during all quarters of the year.

UNRI Informational Webcasts – Organized and coordinated the delivery of 7 hour-long webcast sessions on a variety of topics.

IUFRO Urban Forestry Section – Distributed 8 Informational Updates via electronic mailing list.  Member database maintenance and updating, and website maintenance.

Urban Forest Strike Team – Developed website for archived materials.  Coordinated the delivery of 5 one-hour webinar continuing education sessions for members of the Strike Team.  Assisted with logistical support for the Strike Team deployment in Springfield, MA in response to June 1, 2011 F-3 tornado in that community.

i-Tree Storm – Worked with staff from NA and the Urban Forest Strike Team to implement the ‘pre-storm’ assessment component of the software in Springfield, MA, which was affected by a tornado in June, 2011.  Assisted with the Rhode Island implementation of i-Tree Storm pre-storm surveys in over a dozen communities, as part of an ARRA stimulus grant.

i-Tree Storm Team – Recruited four members to spearhead continued support and use of i-Tree Storm by natural resource managers and municipal mangers.  Set up a website for team communication, document archiving and team collaboration.

Tornado Damage Assessment, Springfield, MA – Worked with municipal officials, and staff from NA, in Springfield, Massachusetts to assess potential impacts and estimated values of lost ecosystem services associated with damage caused by an F-3 tornado in Western and Central Massachusetts.

Urban Forestry Data Standards – In first quarter of the year, updated electronic mailing list, and sent project update correspondence to all members.

NRS Amherst Safety Committee – Served as Chair of the Safety Committee.  Coordinated the Safety Buck program for the Amherst Research Unit as well as prepared and delivered 2 one-hour safety informational sessions for unit members.

Hosted Science Delegation from China – In August, a five-person delegation of Chinese scientists and natural resource managers spent a full day visiting the Urban Natural Resources Institute in Amherst, MA, and traveling to Springfield, MA for a field trip. Organized a day-long field trip to Worcester, MA to review the ALB restoration effort.

Sabis International Charter School/Green Stats/Civil Rights Grant – Logistical and technical support for grant that is monitoring the community forest in the school’s Springfield, MA neighborhood using i-Tree Streets and Canopy.

Springfield (MA) Arbor Allies/Civil Rights Grant – Logistical and technical support for pilot mapping project in two neighborhoods, including coordination of two University of Massachusetts student interns.

i-Tree Content Management System (CMS) – Researched software and methods to develop a CMS for i-Tree software tools.  Included development of draft flow diagrams and proof-of-concept testing of Joomla! software tools.

Page updated: October 26, 2017