TREE Fund announces grant and scholarship awards

At its May 2021 meeting, the TREE Fund Board of Trustees approved the following grants and scholarships. Congratulations to all recipients!

Hyland R. Johns Grant

Richard J. Hauer, Ph.D., University of
Wisconsin-Stevens Point

“Tree Health Implications of Long-term Strategies to Treat Emerald Ash Borer: Long-term Effects on Tree Injections and Tree Tissue”

This project will determine the long-term effects to trees from repeated trunk injection to prevent mortality from emerald ash borer (EAB, Agrilus planipennis). Does repeated treatment through injection ultimately lead to trees that are unable to effectively take up chemicals due to internal damage and/or wounding from repeated treatments? Further, do these treatments lead to enhanced decay in trees, increasing risk for lower stem or root failure? Observations of bark cracking and discoloration around injection sites have been reported, but not quantified in a scientific manner. This is especially true of trees that have been repeatedly treated over long periods of time. Linking these external indicators (e.g., bark splitting, lack of wound closure, weeping wound sites) to internal damage (e.g., cross-sectional and longitudinal tree dissection) will aid urban-tree managers in balancing the risk and rewards of long-term EAB management via injection.

Project Team: Dr. Richard Hauer, Randy Krouse, Dr. Andrew Koeser, Dr. Jake Miesbauer

Utility Arborist Research Fund Grant

John Goodfellow and John Ball, Ph.D.
“Characterizing the Risk of Electrical Contact to Arborists”

Electrical contact has been among the most common causes of injury to arborists and accounts for about 15% of all fatalities (typically 20 to 40) each year. The hazards associated with working in proximity to energized electrical conductors is a significant focus of the industry’s ANSI Z133 Safety Requirements for Arboricultural Operations.

The 2021 TREE Fund UARF Grant funds a project that involves assessment of risks to arborists from potential adverse exposure to electrical currents and voltages and includes four tasks:

1. Cataloging and summarizing electrical-
contact incidents that were the result of adverse exposure by arborists to electrical currents and voltages, based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Fatal and Nonfatal Injury database, OSHA Fatality and Catastrophe Investigation reports, emergency response databases and industry experience with electrical-contact incidents.

2. Conduct high-voltage testing of a progressive series of fault-pathway lengths through branches, defining the levels of exposure to voltages and currents through a branch in contact with a 15kV-class conductor.

3. Developing a series of representative case-study incident scenarios used to define the likelihood of electrical contact, the level of exposures to fault currents and voltage gradients and the medical consequences of such exposure.

4. Once defined, risk-mitigation measures will be identified that may be appropriate for inclusion in the next edition (2022) of the ANSI Z133.

The current safety standards in ANSI Z133 American National Standard for Arboricultural Operations – Safety Requirements (2017) pertinent to electrical hazards will be reviewed. Each of the incidents reviewed in this study will be coded to specific ANSI Z133 standards in place that are intended to avoid, eliminate or reduce the hazard. This dataset will be used to develop case-study scenarios representative of these incidents, defined in terms of the likelihood of electrical contact, the level of exposures to fault currents and voltage gradients and the medical consequences of such exposure. Once defined, risk-mitigation measures will be identified. The intent is that this work will support further development of industry standards and best-management practices. Results from this investigation will provide guidance to the ANSI Z133 committee and specifically the Electrical Hazards (Section 4) taskforce as they prepare revisions for the next edition of the Standard.

Ohio Chapter ISA Education Grant

Akron Parks Collaborative
“Youth corps to turn vacant lots into urban forests”

This project brings urban forestry to the neighborhoods and business districts. It engages neighborhood youths, other residents and businesses in the process of creating and stewarding a forest, while educating on its importance and introducing urban-forestry job skills to youths. In partnership with the City of Akron, the Akron Parks Collaborative applied for funding to initiate forest creation on city-owned vacant lots. Utilizing Akron’s Tree Canopy Study and the city’s new Treekeeper Canopy GIS system, data will direct the selection of one city lot for this pilot project. Site selection will be based on proximity to a water source, such as a hydrant, to one of the city’s “Great Streets” areas and to potential neighborhood collaborators.

Program partner, Summit Build Corps, will recruit 6 to 10 youths (age 16 and up) within the selected neighborhood to prepare the site, plant trees, mulch and water. They will be trained and supervised, and will gain an understanding of the urban-forestry field. An educational sign will inform the neighborhood about what to expect visually and how the forest benefits them directly, as well as the larger benefits in relation to the city and climate change.

Robert Felix Memorial Scholarship

Alexander Martin, University of British Columbia

Alexander Martin is an ISA Board Certified Master Arborist and a TCIA Certified Treecare Safety Professional studying in the University of British Columbia’s urban-forestry program. Originally from Manitoba, he lives part-time in Vancouver. Alex’s research interests focus on the merger of anthropology and arboriculture/urban forestry. He believes in the importance of discussion between practitioners and researchers to develop comprehensive and field-applicable current standards.

John Wright Memorial Scholarship

Matthew Le, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

“My first steps into the tree industry were at The Morton Arboretum as a research technician fellow,” wrote Le. “I was just out of high school and had minimal knowledge about trees. But very quickly, I witnessed the many possibilities within a career working with trees. The time I had at the arboretum was pivotal in my decision to pursue a tree degree. After my first semester at UW-Stevens Point, I joined Kramer Tree Specialists as a plant-health-care applicator. Though my education continued from home for this past year, I was lucky to be able to stay with Kramer and join the tree crews. And this summer, I couldn’t be happier to be returning to The Morton Arboretum, the place that started it all.

“Before I took off to college, I developed a goal and mission to help communities actualize the many benefits of trees. I’m on this path because I want to bring natural beauty into our built landscapes by thoughtfully planting trees so those now and after us may stop, look, appreciate and realize the importance they have to the environment. I believe that it is only the trees on our public grounds that are free to all members of society to enjoy, and it’s these trees that will have the biggest impact on our communities. As such, I plan to become a municipal forester one day and to deliver those benefits at the community level.”

Bonnie Appleton Memorial Scholarship

Ignacio Moreno, Cal Poly Pomona

“My name is Ignacio Moreno, and I am senior at Cal Poly Pomona. I am currently double majoring in landscape architecture and plant science. To get to where I am today, I started with English-language classes and two associate degrees in science, in turfgrass management and environmental horticulture, at College of the Desert. It has been a tough but rewarding academic journey. I grew up in a rural part of Mexico, and this is where my love for the outdoors and arboriculture began to grow, as I was surrounded by it. On my free time, I enjoy spending time in the outdoors, watching movies and spending time with my family. Thank you, TREE Fund. Your generosity is helping me achieve my goals.”

Fran Ward Women in Arboriculture Scholarship

Joanne Kim, Pennsylvania College of Technology

“In suburban Philadelphia, I was raised by an immigrant family who embraced the benefits of the outdoors. My grandmother would have me help her forage chestnuts, harvest vegetables and prepare cultural foods. Motivated by a combination of international travels to Korea and a keen enjoyment of nature, I traveled all over the United States as a young adult.

“It was at an unsophisticated nursery in Charleston, South Carolina, where I gathered an honest depiction of plant production and greenhouse maintenance. After several years of training at institutions such as Longwood Gardens and Chanticleer Garden, I gained a diverse set of skills under mentors such as Yoko Arakawa, Joe Henderson and Ed Snodgrass. As someone who aspires to create opportunities for others, I firmly believe there is a natural progression from team player to strong leader, but the best always remains curious. The ability to take on responsibilities in multiple areas of floriculture allows me to share my freedom of expression. That is why I am determined to graduate from the Plant Science program at Penn State University, with a goal to achieve a graduate degree and become a passionate instructor for the future generations of horticulturists.”

The TREE Fund, based in Naperville, Illinois, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with a mission to explore and share the science of trees contributing to the lives of people, communities, economies and the environment, and of the planning, planting and sustainability of urban and community trees. (

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