Community & Urban Forestry Newsletter


Fall 2023 Community and Urban Forestry Newsletter

*To view previous newsletters visit our website at CUF Newsletter *

Introduction to Racheal Stenger (Outreach Coordinator)


Hi all,

My name is Racheal Stenger, and I am the new Community and Urban Forestry Outreach Coordinator. I just graduated with a B.S. and M.S. in Biology with a focus in forest ecology, and I am passionate about sharing the natural world with those around me. I am also an ISA Certified Arborist and have received my TRAQ certification.

A lot of my focus will be on Tree Steward events and assisting communities and groups with educating the public about trees and urban forestry. Feel free to reach out to discuss with me some of the ideas you have for educational opportunities or just to say hello. I look forward to collaborating and seeing you all at future DNR events!

May the trees be with you,

Racheal Stenger
O: 317-234-6741
C: 317-519-0117

Big Tree Register


The Indiana Big Tree Register (IBTR) has been updated. Previously, it had been updated every 5 years, most recently in 2015, but with no updates in 2020. However, with these new updates we are now opening up nominations on a continuous basis. If you have a tree you would like to nominate, you no longer have to wait five years. Just go to our website and complete the electronic nomination form. We are no longer accepting physical copies of nomination forms. For more information and to view the full list of champions visit our website. We have more updates to come regarding the IBTR so stay tuned.

Arbor Day Poster Contest for 5th Graders

Watch for an official announcement this fall, but for now we are looking for individuals interested in volunteering to be a judge for our Arbor Day poster contest for 5th graders. If you are unfamiliar with this program, it is a statewide poster drawing competition for any 5th grade student in the state. The theme each year is related to something tree specific. This year’s theme, as voted on by Indiana Division of Forestry staff, will be Oak Trees: Superhero of the Forest. More information regarding rules, prizes, and dates will be announced in October. If you have questions, please email Racheal Stenger at

Tree Stewards

After much planning, we have some Tree Steward training events to announce. Agendas and registration forms are here.

When: Sept, 18 & 19
Where: 6100 Southport Road, Portage, IN
Information: Registration for this event has closed. Watch for registration for an Advanced Tree Steward event this winter.

When: Oct. 26 & 27
Where: Glen Miller Park, 2514 E Main St., Richmond, IN
Information: Registration is open and can be found here.

When: Nov. 14 & 15
Where: Biddle Hotel & Conference Center-IMU Building, 900 E 7th St., Bloomington, IN, 47405
Information: Registration is open and can be here.

When: Jan. 8, 2024
Where: 6100 Southport Road, Portage, IN
Information: This will be an Advanced Tree Steward training event focused on technology, GIS, and its use in urban forestry. This event will only be available for previous Tree Steward attendees. Registration will open in November.

When: April 4 & 5, 2024
Where: Scottsburg
Information: Registration to open in February

Grant Updates

We appreciate everyone’s patience while we work toward getting the grants program up and running. Once we have something to announce we will send out emails to everyone as well as make updates to our website.

For available information regarding the Landscape Scale Restoration (LSR) and Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) grant opportunities through the U.S. Forest Service click here.

Indiana Arborist Association (IAA) Announcements

Indiana 2023 Saluting Branches (2 Location)
Sept. 20
Registration for Crown Hill National Cemetery is here.
Registration for Indiana Veterans Home Cemetery is here. 

Indiana 2023 Tree Climbing Competition AND Aerial Rescue Training
Sept. 29-Oct. 1
Sept. 29-Aerial Rescue Training (Lunch included)
Sept. 30-Climbing Competition
Oct. 1-Master’s Climb
Register here.

Indiana Community Forestry Council

Hello, Indiana Urban Forestry Friends,

You may notice a difference compared to the spring newsletter – the name of this advisory group! Rather than “Indiana Urban Forestry Advisory Council”, we’ve decided to claim the name “Indiana Community Forestry Council” or IN-CFC. This fresh, new moniker establishes a new era for an advisory body to DNR CUF that emphasizes the importance of trees in all our communities – our larger urban areas and our smaller towns or campuses alike. But we have been working hard on more than simply nomenclature, and this update summarizes our progress and specifies more concrete ways you can be involved.

Since the spring, we’ve established a webpage for the IN-CFC on the DNR CUF website. The page hosts information about the council, news/events, and resources. In the future, the IN-CFC may determine the need for an independent website, but for the current purposes of outreach and transparency, we are grateful to have support from DNR to host online information about our endeavor.

In addition, we have worked hard to develop a draft “constitution” – a set of governance strategies that outline the role of the council, the organizational structure, and its positions and terms. The document outlines our goal to establish general membership – open to anyone – as well as a Board of Directors for the IN-CFC composed of up to 25 individuals representing a broad and diverse set of perspectives and geographies in Indiana’s urban and community forests.

The Board is intended to include a standing executive committee composed of officers whose responsibilities are currently being filled by the founding members of the IN-CFC, yours truly. We are in the process of establishing the full Board with whom we will share the draft constitution for discussion and have a vote on its approval. Those interested in general membership should communicate their interest by filling out this IN-CFC general membership form.

The inaugural gathering of the IN-CFC Board of Directors and general members will be held in conjunction with the Indiana Community and Urban Forestry Symposium, jointly hosted by DNR CUF and the IN-CFC, in Indianapolis at the IUPUI Campus Center on December 7 and 8. We invite all readers of this newsletter to attend the Symposium, register here! We have been hard at work on the agenda and the meeting logistics and expect the event to draw urban forestry colleagues from across the state who are eager to connect after a long hiatus.

The Symposium agenda will be posted on the DNR CUF website, also to be linked in our IN-CFC webpage, in October. As you reserve these dates on your calendar, kindly take note that a nominal registration fee will apply. This fee will encompass refreshments on the first day and both coffee breaks and lunch on the second day. To maintain an affordable registration structure, we welcome organizations to consider the possibility of sponsoring, and for further details, you can get in touch with Jacob Roos at Your participation and support will be invaluable in making the Indiana Community and Urban Forestry Symposium a resounding success.

As always, reach out to us with questions or concerns. Stay connected here in the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Community and Urban Forestry newsletter.


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