Community & Urban Forestry Newsletter


Winter 2023 Community and Urban Forestry Newsletter

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

Inflation Reduction Act Grant

We are currently working on reviewing all IRA Grant applications so that the award of funds can be announced by Feb. 1. The second round of funding for the IRA Grant will be announced later in 2024.

Big Tree Registry

As announced during the summer, the Indiana Big Tree Registry has been updated with new champions and is accepting new nominations. There is no deadline for nominations. We are accepting them continuously and will verify new nominations as we receive them. You can view the current champions on our new interactive map here.

Arbor Day Poster Contest for 5th Graders

This year’s Arbor Day Poster contest theme is Oak Trees: Superheroes of the Forest. This contest is open to all 5th-grade students. Nominations will be accepted until March 1. More information can be found here.

Tree Stewards

I hope everyone is having a lovely holiday season. As the CUF outreach coordinator hired in May, I had the pleasure of leading three Tree Stewards workshops this fall in Portage, Richmond, and Bloomington.

Overall, the events were successful, with 18-35 attendees per workshop. People in attendance included municipal workers, tree board members, arborists, college students, and more. There is expected to be approximately 1,200 volunteer hours completed from just these three workshops due to the 15-hour volunteer requirement for completion of the course.

We will offer several more Tree Stewards workshops in 2024. We are hosting an Advanced Tree Stewards workshop for the first time in northwest Indiana that will be focused on GIS technology in urban forestry. Provided there is enough interest, we will look into providing similar advanced workshops in the future. We will also host three regular Tree Steward events this spring: April 4 & 5 in Scottsburg; April 18 & 19 in West Lafayette; and another in the Fort Wayne area toward the end of May. For any questions about Tree Stewards and upcoming events, please contact Rachael Stenger at, 317-234-6741.


Indiana Arborist Association (IAA) Announcements

The 77th Indiana Arborist Association annual conference will be held on Jan. 23-25, 2024 at the Indianapolis Marriott East. Registration and more information can be found by clicking here.

IAA Day of Service at the Indiana Statehouse

The Indiana DNR & Indiana Department of Administration (IDOA) would like to give a huge thank you to the Indiana Arborist Association as they held a day of service at the Statehouse on Dec. 16. During their day of service, they were able to remove dead trees and prune many others. They also spent time one on one with the ground’s maintenance crew training them on proper pruning methods. 


*NEW* position posted within Community & Urban Forestry Department

We have an opening within our department for an Urban Forestry Specialist. This position will work directly with communities throughout the state who have been identified to be disadvantaged or underserved to help improve their urban forestry programs, monitor grant projects, and lead training and educational events. Some of the day-to-day duties may include monitoring, inspecting, and assisting with tree planting projects, instructing, and training volunteers, use of GIS programs to record, view and analyze tree inventory and canopy data.

Click here for more information and to apply.

Urban Wood Survey

Please take a couple minutes to complete this survey regarding urban wood waste and utilization:

Indiana Community Forestry Council


On December 7 and 8, the Indiana DNR Community and Urban Forestry Division and Indiana Community Forestry Council (IN-CFC) hosted the 2023 Indiana Community and Urban Forestry Symposium at the IUPUI Campus Center. It was exciting to have stewards and supporters of Indiana's urban canopy gather, learn, and share their knowledge again. Below are some highlights featuring three presentations by experts in the field.

First, we heard from Brooke McFarland, a national program specialist for the Washington Office of the USDA Forest Service. Brooke shared her journey in urban forestry, which began in Louisiana, where she witnessed the impacts of climate change and the inequity in natural resource investment. Her passion for contributing to a solution led her to her current role of managing a portfolio of national partnerships that impact our urban forests.


Next up was Jill Johnson, a regional Urban Forestry Coordinator for the U.S. Forest Service with over 20 years of experience in the field. Jill helps state forestry agencies and other organizations deliver urban forestry programs in the Midwest. She shared her insights on the current state of urban forestry in Indiana. She highlighted the unprecedented amount of money available to fund urban forestry programs nationwide through the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) grant funding. Jacob Roos, Community and Urban Forestry Director also updated attendees on the Indiana DNR Community and Urban Forestry department's latest activities, with $4.125 million awarded to Indiana through IRA and $3.674 million available for communities in Indiana.

Carly Weidman and Madeline Baroli presented a new Tree Species Vulnerability Tool and its applications with Keep Indianapolis Beautiful. They discussed the impacts of climate change on urban forests and how the tool can help engage communities in making urban tree canopy decisions and address damaging environmental inequities in tree distribution to cities and towns across the U.S.

Lastly, community leaders across the state heard about their exciting programs and initiatives during the Communities in Action Panel discussion. Panelists range from the City of Richmond Parks and Recreation Department, CommuniTree, Wesselman Woods, and the City of Goshen — special thanks to our panelists for sharing their experience and continued commitment to Indiana's urban forest.

The symposium ended as IN-CFC hosted its End of Year meeting, discussing the latest draft of IN-CFC's constitution. We received great feedback that will shape the direction and operation of Indiana Community Forestry Council - Thank you! Are you interested in becoming a Member of IN-CFC? Want to stay up to date on IN-CFC's next steps? Complete the Interest in Membership form here.