Community & Urban Forestry Newsletter


Spring 2023 Community and Urban Forestry Newsletter

Welcome to the first edition of the Indiana Community and Urban Forestry Newsletter. Thank you for taking the time to read it. My name is Jacob Roos, and in December 2022, I became the new Community and Urban Forestry Director for the Indiana DNR.

Before that, I spent most of my career in the residential tree care industry in Chicago and Indianapolis, the utility forestry industry in Illinois and Wisconsin, and did a brief stint with the Indiana Department of Transportation Real Estate Department. We plan to publish this newsletter quarterly (spring, summer, fall, winter) update you on everything related to Community and Urban Forestry.

We also plan to involve other Division of Forestry staff members, such as Lexi Eiler. She wrote this issue’s Arbor Day article and is the division’s forestry education specialist and Project Learning Tree coordinator. If you would like to contribute to this newsletter, please email I look forward to hearing from you, meeting you in person, and collaborating.

Jacob Roos
Community & Urban Forestry Director
Division of Forestry
402 W Washington St, W296,
Indianapolis, IN 46204
C: 463-253-8217
O: 317-234-4386

Arbor Day Celebrations


When: Saturday, April 22 at 9 a.m.
Where: Hancock County Courthouse Plaza in Greenfield
Why: Celebrate Arbor Day in Greenfield with Regreening Greenfield and receive free tree seedlings

Saturday, April 29 at 8 a.m.
Where: Arboretum at Evergreen Park in Huntington
Why: Celebrate the grand opening of the newly planted Arboretum in Huntington by help planting and mulch trees, go on a tree identification walk, a forest therapy walk, enjoy live music and food trucks, hands on nature activities for families and nature story time. There will also be a rain barrel painting contest and vendor and exhibitor tents.

Friday, April 28 at 2:30 p.m.
Where: Kaiser Park, South Main Street in Crown Point
Why: Arbor Day Ceremony at Kaiser Park followed by a spring cleanup at Crown Point Sportsplex Turf at 1313 E. North St. Gloves, garbage bags and grabbers will be provided. Please dress in comfortable clothing and shoes you don’t mind getting dirty.

When: Saturday, May 6 at 8 a.m.
Where: Broadway Fountain in Madison
Why: Celebrate Arbor Day and pick up some tree saplings. There will be swamp white oak, red oak, black gum and bald cypress available.

Friday, April 28 at 9 a.m.
Where: North entrance to Switchyard Park in Bloomington
Why: Help plant trees and celebrate Arbor Day with Indiana’s longest-running Tree City USA

Friday, April 28 from 4-7 p.m., singing starts at 6 p.m.
Where: Garfield Park, The Pagoda (2345 Pagoda Drive, Indianapolis 46203)
Why: Celebrate Arbor Day by lifting your voice in song to pay tribute to the trees and by participating in reforestation efforts. The Indiana Forest Alliance invites you to join in an original community arts project on Friday, April 28 at Garfield Park’s iconic Pagoda shelter. This fun, all-ages, all-voices welcome event is presented in coalition with AES, Indy Parks, and the Department of Public Works (DPW). An Indy Free Tree giveaway site will be set up for neighbors to pick up a free swamp white oak sapling, provided by AES and DPW. For more information, questions or to find out how your church or community choir can participate contact Lori Perdue,, 317-902-8221.

Friday, April 28, 6 p.m.
Where: KHCPL Russiaville
Why: Stop by and pick up a free tree. The seed library will also be open so you can select seeds to plant, as we look toward planting season.

Saturday, April 29, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Where: Mount Ayr Community Park
Why: Celebrate 20 years of being a Tree City USA with the smallest Tree City in Indiana. There will be a free tree giveaway, food, music, and children’s events including bounce houses.

See below for Arbor Day Celebrations at Indiana State Parks

Celebrate Arbor Day!


Arbor Day has been celebrated in the United States for more than 150 years, the first celebration occurring in largely tree-less Nebraska. Founder J. Sterling Morton, a newspaper editor and politician, was a longtime advocate for the windbreaking, soil-protecting, shade-creating, timber-growing benefits trees could bring to the Nebraska territory. His advocacy paid off when he became territory secretary and proposed the first tree-planting holiday to be celebrated in April 1872. Public response to the first Arbor Day was overwhelmingly enthusiastic with more than an estimated 1 million trees planted.


Today, every state celebrates Arbor Day, most on the last Friday in April. Though the world has changed drastically since 1872, today’s citizens have the same drive to plant trees those Nebraskans had many years ago. Trees are a critical component of solutions to some of the most prominent global environmental issues of today. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, one acre of forest can take up 6 tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, making trees one of the most accessible and efficient tools we have to fight climate change. They are effective cooling agents in urban heat islands, with tree-shaded areas capable of being 20 – 45°F cooler than unshaded areas (U.S. EPA 2022). Trees also provide food and shelter for wildlife in natural and urban spaces, creating necessary habitat to support a variety of species and mitigate loss of biodiversity. Humans also thrive in tree-filled environments—trees can create a sense of calm for the people exposed to them (Arbor Day Foundation 2023).


Morton encapsulated the spirit of his tree planting movement when he said, “Other holidays repose upon the past; Arbor Day proposes for the future.” On Friday, April 28, we have the opportunity to create a greener future for our communities by celebrating Arbor Day. Get involved by volunteering at a community planting event, planting a tree of your own, donating to a local tree-planting nonprofit group, or even sharing information about the qualities of trees on social media. Visit the Arbor Day Foundation website for more information, inspiration, and resources to make the most of Arbor Day. 

Lexi Eiler, Forestry Education Specialist
DNR Division of Forestry

Volunteer Opportunities


Resilient Pike, an offshoot of Earth Charter Indiana, seeks 14 volunteers to help plant trees at every school in the Pike Township Metropolitan School District on April 12.

Trees, water, and mulch will be provided, the only thing you need to bring is planting tools. This will be a great opportunity to share and use your tree- planting knowledge and skills with K-12 students.

For more information or to express interest, please contact Katie Booth at

If you are interested in more volunteer opportunities, check with local communities leading up to Arbor Day to see if they would like any help with their Arbor Day festivities.

Tree Stewards

The Tree Steward training program is returning this year! We are in the beginning phase of planning. We have already heard from a few communities and individuals who are interested in hosting or want to know where and when events will occur. We will soon be looking for instructors to help teach some of the topics. If you are interested in being an instructor, please let me know. A link to the survey I sent to previous Tree Steward attendees and instructors earlier this year is below. If you have not already done so, please fill it out and return it when you have a moment. Also, please be sure to keep track of your volunteer hours and submit them to our office. You can either physically mail them or email them. I greatly appreciate everyone sending in their hours over the past year while our office was vacant.

Tree Steward Survey Link

Grant updates

Yes, there will be grant opportunities available this year, including funding through the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). The timing and the funding available will be shared with you when available. There is a lot of excitement about the IRA grant, but we still need more information from the U.S. Forest Service.

For anyone interested in future CUFA (Community & Urban Forestry Assistance) grants or who have received grants in the past, please see the following survey link regarding CUFA grant issues. It should take only a couple minutes. Filling out this survey will help us better understand how we can better serve you. CUFA Grant Survey

Current grant recipients, please make sure to keep me in the loop on everything going on with your project and complete the accomplishment reports. If you are having issues or problems with anything please let me know.   

Tree Campus K-12

tree campus

Most of you reading this are familiar with Tree City USA, a program with the Arbor Day Foundation (ADF). But one of the newer, maybe lesser-known recognition programs with the ADF is Tree Campus K-12 , which started in 2022. Tree Campus K-12 “inspires the next generation of tree stewards through experiences that bring the benefits of trees to life both inside and outside the classroom. The program fosters positive connections between youth and the trees in their community and cultivates within its participants a lifelong respect for trees on a global scale.” In the program’s first year, 70 schools in 31 states were recognized, including West Lafayette High School. To receive recognition, schools must meet the following four goals: Tree Campus Team, Education Plan, Hands on Experience and Arbor Day Observance. If you know of a school or teacher in your community that would be interested in this program, please have them contact the Community and Urban Forestry office. More information is at

Indiana Arborist Association (IAA) Events

Certified Arborist Prep Course and Exam - June 28-29, Noblesville
June 28, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. ET
June 29, 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. ET, (exam to follow for eligible attendees)
Registration link

TRAQ Renewal Course and Exam - Aug. 21, Franklin
Aug. 21, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. ET
Registration link

TRAQ Full Course and Exam - Aug. 22-24, Franklin
Aug. 22, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. ET
Aug. 23, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. ET
Aug. 24, 8 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. ET (Exam)
Registration link

Indiana Urban Forestry Advisory Council Update

Hello Indiana Urban Forestry Friends, 

In 2022 there was a call-to-action meeting regarding the redevelopment of an urban forestry advisory board for the DNR Community and Urban Forestry (CUF) program. Just like the 66 Tree City USA communities in Indiana, government-led urban forestry programs need to consider the vision and needs of their community.

An advisory board is also a federal requirement with implications on our state's urban forestry funding and pass-through grants many of us appreciate for local projects. The USDA Forest Service requirement is: "Each State shall have an appropriately broad-based UCF Council  that consists of governmental agencies, industry, academic institutions, nonprofit and community-based organizations, and grassroots volunteers concerned with urban and community forestry, and reflects diverse public participation. States are encouraged to utilize the State Council to expand delivery of the state program, leverage external resources, grow public-private partnerships, and build a vibrant statewide constituency empowered to promote urban forestry statewide.

The State Council is, at minimum, required to advise and/or assist the State Forester in the development of program emphasis, priorities and implementation, and periodic review and revision of the 5 Year State Strategic Plan/ State Forest Action Plan." A select group of Indiana Urban Forestry Friends attended this June 2022 meeting. There was a good turnout and good response to questions about the vision of the redevelopment of an advisory board. Here are some of the results:

  • Participants included mostly government agencies with other representation from industry, academic institutions, and nonprofit or community-based organizations. 
  • Participants were mostly willing to become board members and help formulate a structure for the advisory board. 
  • Areas of interest for working groups landed on public policy and urban tree canopy. 
  • The voice of the polled group suggested goals for the advisory board should be to give much support to municipal forest managers, provide public awareness of urban forestry and private tree ownership, influence state policy, communicate with the USDA Forest Service, and maintain independent leadership. 
  • To meet these and other goals the polled group suggested regular meetings, communication with the DNR CUF program, modest and realistic goals, and outreach to policy makers, mayors, and other environmental groups. 
  • The suggested model was a non-government organization/non-profit organization. 
  • Resources mentioned included financial support, volunteers, DNR CUF support, and paid staff. 

Since June 2022, four individuals have continued to work together, Jacob Roos joined the conversation this January, and our federal representative has attended a couple of meetings and contributed much to the conversation. The four individuals are Paula Brooks of Hoosier Environmental Council, Sarah Mincey of Indiana University, Jerome Delbridge of Tree-Centric Solutions, and me, Aren Flint of Davey Resource Group. Jacob Roos is our new state urban forestry program coordinator, and Jill Johnson is our national Midwest region's program coordinator. The most recent result of these continued meetings is the official establishment of an executive board. That board are the four urban forestry friends mentioned above with me as the chair and Jacob and Jill as ex officio members.

Some Indiana urban forestry friends may be interested in knowing what they can do to help or stay connected at this point. The executive board is currently working on two next steps. Those steps are the operational structure and a greater-inclusive advisory board. The executive board will be reaching out to a greater group of many tree-related organizations throughout the state. The size of the board is undetermined at this point, but we know we need a representative voice that can speak for the vision and needs of urban forestry in our great state. The structure at this point is to have the executive board meet monthly, have a greater board that meets with the executive board routinely (maybe quarterly), and have working groups that meet as needed to review, discuss, act, or plan various tasks. Much of this structure beyond the executive board is in flux until the greater-board is established. 

The Indiana urban forestry advisory executive board hopes this news is received well. We are excited for 2023 as our year-end goal is to have the greater-board established and a structure in place. We welcome Jacob to his position and are looking forward to supporting the state with a voice for Indiana urban forestry. Stay connected here in the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Community and Urban Forestry newsletter. 


Your Executive Board
Aren Flint, Chair
Paula Brooks
Sarah Mincey
Jerome Delbridge