City Trees

May/ June 2012

City Trees is a premier publication focused on urban + community forestry. In each issue, you’ll learn how to best manage the trees in your community and more!

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MFI 2012 Class Report The 7th Municipal Forestry Institute (MFI) by Walt Warriner, Community Forester, Santa Monica, California at the National Arbor Foundation Arbor Day Farm, in Lied Lodge. Urban forestry professionals representing a variety of different agencies came from Canada and the United States to attend. Although they didn't know each other at the beginning of the week, the Class of 2012 quickly bonded, and participants were working very well as a unit before the end of their first full day. took place in Nebraska City, Nebraska in February The MFI focuses on teaching urban forest profession- als the fine art of balancing nature with human nature in an urban setting. The goal is to cultivate leaders in urban forestry who will build strong programs for their communities. The MFI teaches leadership skills, how to effectively communicate, and how to use tricks of the trade to help an urban forestry program grow. It teaches critical skills that aren't taught in college but rather are learned on the job over the length of a career. Class participation is important at MFI where attend- ees learn from each other as well as from the teach- ing cadre. If anyone is shy when they first arrive, they quickly get over it and by the end of the week are able to freely share their experience and ideas. Peer Learning Groups (PLGs) are formed on the first day and assigned various projects to work on during the week. Like the professionals that they are, members of the Class of 2012 quickly learned how to work together on their assignments. Roles within the PLG are shared so that everyone gets a chance to act as a spokesper- son, a scribe, a leader, and a director at one point dur- ing the week. This year's class collaborated to coordinate a little vaca- tion time for Gumby. After hearing about his terrible ordeal of being kidnapped by the Class of 2010 and held for ransom in exchange for access to television, and all the trouble he got into at the wild party that the Class of 2011 threw for him, the Class of 2012 opened their hearts and their wallets and paid for him to go on a little vacation to Mardi Gras. MFI has been strongly supported over the years by Valley Crest Tree Company, the Arbor Day Foundation, Davey Tree, and the US Forest Service. The Texas Forest Service has sponsored the attendance of several urban forestry professionals each year since the first year of MFI. This effort has created a legacy of over 50 urban forestry leaders throughout Texas that are making prog- ress in helping communities manage their urban and 36 Peer learning groups are a big part of the MFI experience. MFI 2012 gets underway. community forests. The Texas Forest Service is a role model for other state forestry agencies in delivering quality programs at the community level. When the Class of 2012 left the Lied Lodge at the end of the week, they joined a network of MFI graduates ready to advance their programs. I encourage other municipal foresters and arborists to budget for or seek grant funds to attend MFI 2013 next February. It will be well worth your time! City Trees

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