There is increasing awareness that urban and community trees provide many benefits to the environment, to human health and well-being, and affects the economic viability of communities. As communities and homeowners face the financial challenges of tree damage that results from storms, disease, and pest insects, advocating for the support of these urban trees can be difficult. The Urban Forestry Academy is an informal training program that provides education to Cornell Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners, landscape professionals, and members of the public interested in promoting urban trees within their communities. This training is designed to not only teach the fundamental principles of tree biology and plant health care, but to also give people the tools to become advocates for trees in their communities. Weekly lectures and hands-on workshop trainings will be led by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Nassau County staff, with assistance from Cornell University faculty, local arborists, and representatives from other government organizations.
The Urban Forestry Academy will be a 12-week hybrid program that will utilize virtual interactive lectures and in-person workshop trainings. The dates for the 2021 Urban Forestry Academy will be February 4th – April 22nd. The virtual classes will be held once a week on Thursdays from 7:00 to 9:00 in the evening and there will be a total of three in-person Saturday workshops. Participants will be asked to pre-register for a two-hour time slot for the Saturday workshops to accommodate small group sizes.
The interactive lectures will cover a wide array of Urban Forestry topics, from the basic biology of trees to learning how to diagnose common tree problems. Lecture topics may vary depending on the interest of participants and relevance to current environments, but in general will align with the following syllabus:
Week 1: Biology of trees and plants
Week 2: Environmental benefits of trees
Week 3: Soil health for optimal tree performance
Week 4: Fundaments of Tree Identification
Week 5: Tree planting basics
Week 6: Pruning and caring for young trees
Week 7: Diagnosing common tree problems
Week 8: Caring for mature trees
Week 9: Wildlife benefits of trees
Week 10: Native trees in our environment
Week 11: Identifying tree risks and hazards
Week 12: Establishing a tree stewardship community
Completion of Requirements
The hands-on Saturday workshops will consist of field trips to local arboretums and demonstration sites, pruning demonstrations, and tree planting activities. Participants will be required to pre-register for a timeslot during the workshop to ensure small group sizes and ample supervision from staff and other course instructors. The dates for the Saturday workshops will be March 20th, April 3rd, and April 17th. The location and topic of these workshops is to be announced, depending on weather factors and availability of off-site facility.
Earning the Cornell Cooperative Extension Urban Forestry Academy Certification will provide credibility that can lead to opportunities to speak about the many benefits of trees, and provide guidance on urban and community tree best management practices. Participants who successfully complete the program may also receive ISA or CNLP CEU credits, or other equivalents as applicable.
To earn a certificate of completion, participants must complete the entire 30-hour course and actively participate in lectures and workshops. Participants who are unable to attend a lecture will be asked to watch a recording of the lecture and successfully pass a quiz relevant to the lecture materials. Participants who are unable to attend a Saturday workshop must provide a written notice to the instructor at least one week prior to the scheduled date and will be asked to participate in an alternative activity. In the event of an emergency absence, participants must contact the instructor within 48 hours and request an alternate assignment.
Participants who successfully complete all of the course requirements will receive an Urban Forestry Academy Certificate of Completion. Individuals who have received their certificate of completion may be eligible to participate in approved volunteer activities with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Nassau County.
Cost of Program
The cost of this program is $250 per participant. CCE Nassau will be offering reduced program fees to Nassau County municipality staff at a price of $125, Cornell Cooperative Extension Nassau County Master Gardener Volunteers at a price of $190 with an active membership status, and early-career individuals under the age of 25 at a price of $190. The minimum age to participate is 18 years old.
Support for this program will be provided by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation through their Urban and Community Forestry education program. This support allows us to offer Urban and Community Forestry education programs at an affordable cost to residents, tree professionals, and municipal staff.
Click here to register and pay through PayPal.
Last updated January 12, 2021