March 2020
“... down deep, at the molecular heart of life,
the trees and we are essentially identical.”
Carl Sagan , Cosmos
Oak Park IL
Photo by T Recchia
Crowning achievements

The following grants have been awarded by TREE Fund.

Bob Skiera Memorial Fund Building Bridges Initiative Grant Program
Supports projects that will help arborists and urban foresters communicate the value of trees and urban forests on a global basis through technology transfer and engagement with developers, builders, civil engineers, city planners, elected officials and other policymakers.
To: Jason S. Gordon, PhD, University of Georgia Research Foundation, Inc. "Engaging under-served populations in community tree management activities"

John Z. Duling Grant Program
Provides start up or seed funding to support innovative research and technology transfer projects.
To: Brian Kane, PhD, University of Massachusetts-Amherst "Comparing the efficacy of pull tests versus expert opinion when assessing decay and likelihood of tree failure"

Jack Kimmel International Grant Program
Provides funding for arboriculture research by applicants working primarily outside of the United States.
To: Andrew Millward, PhD, Ryerson University "Advancing non-invasive tree root detection by creating a training data set of GPR tree root signatures"
And to: Fahad Rasheed, PhD, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan. "Contributing for a breathable future: Characterizing the efficiency of local tree species for controlling particulate matter in Faisalabad district "

Safe Arborist Techniques Fund Grant Program
Supports original research that creates a safer work environment for people working in the tree care industry and the general public they serve.
To: Matt Follett, University of Montreal. "Evaluation of load distribution in removal operations: a comparison of techniques and equipment"
TREE Fund statement on COVID-19
TREE Fund recognizes the risks to individual and public health, emotional well-being, and economic vitality during the current coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic, and we encourage all members of the TREE Fund family—staff, board and committee members, volunteers, partners, supporters, riders in the Tour des Trees, and your friends and loved ones—to keep bodies healthy and spirits high. You matter to us. 

The TREE Fund staff is heeding the public health, medical and scientific advice to limit physical interaction and will be working mostly from remote locations, rather than in the office, probably through the end of March. Thankfully TREE Fund had prepared for an event such as this and has the technology in place that will allow us to continue pursuing our important mission. Staff and committee meetings will be conducted via the Internet. We remain available to you via email and telephone.

TREE Fund’s upcoming webinar (see story below) and our online search function remain two free services you can use during this time of prudent physical distancing and reduced social contact.

TREE Fund is an prime example of what people can accomplish when they work together toward a common cause. We trust we will all echo that example as, together, we navigate the challenges ahead.
Tour des Trees update
Although we are months away from the 2020 Tour des Trees, we wish to address any concerns you may have about the health and safety of this event. We currently have more than 23 weeks until Tour des Trees rolls out of Aurora. We will continue to monitor local health orders and CDC guidelines with the health and safety of all TdT participants as our primary concern. At this time we have faith in a healthy future and will not plan for any immediate changes to event plans and logistics.

As you continue to support your local businesses in this trying time, we ask that you also continue to support TREE Fund and Tour des Trees. Registration and fundraising will remain open, and we also continue to search for event partners and hosts.

In the meantime, we hope you will stay safe. Limit your exposure, and consider home-based training alternatives if you are at risk of public exposure. Take advantage of cellular and online communication as you pursue fundraising opportunities, and let us know if you have any questions.

Complete details on the 2020 Tour des Trees can be found here.

Registration is filling fast for Tour des Trees 2020! Are you interested in tackling a physical challenge, engaging with communities through tree plantings and educational events, making new connections in the industry, and supporting tree research and education? Registration closes on June 15.

Complete details on Tour des Trees 2020 can be found at here.

Already registered? Be sure to follow the discussion and stay involved by joining our  Facebook  event and  Strava  club!
Lead donors

We are deeply grateful to the following people and organizations who contributed $2,500 or more to TREE Fund in February 2020:

Ford Motor Company
Midwestern Chapter ISA
Texas Chapter ISA

See the full list of lead donors who make our vital tree research and education work possible on our website.
Volunteer spotlight
This month’s volunteer spotlight shines brightly on Auburn University. Please join us in celebrating the Alabama Cooperative Extension System at Auburn University for stepping up to become our primary TREE Fund webinar series host for 2020. Alabama Cooperative Extension System at Auburn University has partnered with TREE Fund on our webinars since 2015, when the program first began. During our very first webinar, TREE Fund boasted 79 attendees. Today, thanks in large part to our host partnership with Auburn University, many of our webinars reach up to 1,000 attendees. Since 2015, we have also successfully increased the frequency of our webinars while maintaining the quality and diversity of webinar topics and presenters; for a full list, visit Please join us and the Alabama Cooperative Extension System at Auburn University again on March 26 to learn the about latest research as well as to earn your CEUs.
TREE Fund free webinars
Why Do Tree Branches Fail?
Thursday, March 26, 2020, at 12 p.m. Central
Greg Dahle, PhD, West Virginia University

1 CEU Available with the live broadcast

We will explore how researchers from ecology, forestry and arboriculture have utilized biomechanics to understand how trees contend with the forces mother nature can throw at them during their long-life span. Biomechanics approaches integrate biology and engineering principles to explore how organisms deal with their environment. We will explore two studies that examine how loads move through a branch union/fork. A close relationship was found between aspect ratio and different failure types, and we will discuss how this information can help define the point at which a weaker co-dominant fork occurs.
Greg Dahle is an associate professor at West Virginia University where he teaches courses in arboriculture and urban forestry. Greg’s research lab utilizes a biomechanical approach to understand how trees grow and survive environmental loads, as well as broader urban forest management issues. Greg has worked as a commercial and utility arborist and is an ISA Board-Certified Master Arborist.

Mark your calendars for these upcoming free webinars from TREE Fund:

Fighting Microbes with Microbes to Protect Our Native Trees
Tuesday, June 16, 2020, at 1 p.m. Central
Rachael Antwis, PhD, University of Salford

Enhancing Tree Health in Water Sensitive Urban Design:
Role of Mycorrhizae
Tuesday, July 14, 2020, at 12 p.m. Central
Brandon Winfrey, PhD, Monash University

Soil Assessment for Urban Trees: Part 2 Action Plans
September 29, 1 p.m. Central
Bryant C. Scharenbroch, PhD, University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point

Measuring Multi-stemmed Trees
Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020, at 12 p.m. Central
Yasha A. S. Magarik, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies
Lara Roman, PhD, Research Ecologist, USDA Forest Service, Philadelphia Field Station, Northern Research Station

TREE Fund’s 1-hour webinars are free and offer 1.0 CEU credit from the International Society of Arboriculture, the Society of American Foresters, the National Association of Landscape Professionals and sometimes the Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System. Registration information becomes available on our website approximately one month before webinar date. Missed a webinar? Watch it anytime on our webinar archive page
Leading thoughts
by Russell K. King, TREE Fund President and CEO

I don’t know whether these are the best or worst of times, but they sure seem the strangest of times. Around the world, responses to the pandemic range from inspirational to depressing, from prudent to bizarre, as we watch the death toll rise and can only wonder where it will stop. It’s a confusing, frightening moment, and just when we need each other most our duty to each other is to keep our distance. 

Amid the threat, uncertainty and isolation, it’s no surprise that I am drawn outside to the trees.

The breeze feels cleansing and the glow of a March sun warms my spirit, but it’s the company of trees that restores my balance. Among the trunks and branches—full or bare, I don’t care—the embrace of faithful friends is familiar. With my boots in the dirt and my eyes on the crowns, I sense a divine comfort as nowhere else. The forest was my playground when I was young, but is my refuge, my inspiration, and my sanctuary now.

The fact is, being out among the trees is just plain old good for you, even if nothing ails you. A swiftly growing body of evidence links what I like to call “breathing the green” with (among many other individual and communal benefits) lower stress levels, decreased blood pressure, reduced risks of asthma, allergies, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, improved mental health, and a longer life expectancy. This isn’t the overwrought woo of wellness gurus run amok or even the poetic passions that often possess me; this is cold, hard science. Maybe this is a good thing of which to remind ourselves and each other--and to suggest out to others.

One of the nice things about this restorative respite from our malaise is that it’s free. No prescription required. No insurance. Not even a note from your mom. You don’t have to travel far or pay admission fees. Just open the door and step outside—then walk, jog, run, bike, or drive to a forest, an arboretum, a park, or just a street that’s blessed with trees.  

Hike, stroll, or sit. Do yoga, tai chi, or isometrics. Channel your inner John Muir, Rachel Carson, or John Chapman and note, draw, or just observe the natural world around you. Meditate, pray, or just breathe. Maybe, just be.
There are days when my time among the trees is spent focusing, in turn, on what I smell, hear, see, and feel, gathering both data and spirit for some future poem. Other days, I just stop and sense myself as a part of the all.

Later, we can consider what more you and I can do, through TREE Fund, to protect, nurture, and enhance the gift of trees. For now, in this strangest of times, let’s stop to breathe the green. Be safe. Be well.
TREE Fund achieves highest rating
TREE Fund has reached Guidestar's highest level of achievement for nonprofit transparency--the platinum award. GuideStar is the world's largest and most authoritative source of information on nonprofit organizations. Major donors tend to look to GuideStar as the “seal of approval” before making donations. 
TREE Fund Crown and
Diamond Partners!  
552 S. Washington St., Suite 109, Naperville, IL 60540
(630) 369-8300
TREE Fund is a 501(C)3 nonprofit with a mission to support scientific discovery and dissemination of new knowledge in the fields of arboriculture and urban forestry.