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Urban Forestry Committee reestablished

File photo by Brandon Summers

Dickinson's Urban Forestry Committee has been reestablished.

The committee's duties were previously being handled by City Planning & Zoning Commission.

"They did that a few years ago when they didn't have a full time forester," Vernon Quam, city forester, said. "It was to keep the tree board going and making certain decisions to be active in the Tree City USA program."

The committee serves as advisors to the city forester and forestry department activities, Quam explained.

"The people are the ones who are associated with trees and tree planting, or are concerned, have some part of their position, just dealing with trees," he said.

The committee has eight members: Kurt Froelich, NDSU Extension Service county agent; Craig Pearson, Parks & Recreation building and sites manager; Bob Klein and Bonnie Toogood, Stark/Billings Soil & Conservation; Mick Riesinger, Dickinson State University facility operations; Monika Armstrong, Second Nature Greenhouse owner; John Dutchuk, Amvets Post 22 commander; and Jacob Zettel, Montana-Dakota Utilities.

Dickinson staff, such as City Planner Walter Hadley, Public Works Director Gary Zuroff and City Engineer Craig Kubas are also involved with the board as non-voting members.

"When you get those types of people together, we're like partners bringing things to the table," Quam said. "More resources, more things in common with each other that we can share."

Dickinson's forestry department already works with local agencies and entities.

For example, the department helps with Stark/Billings Soil Conservation efforts.

"They plant trees like us," Quam said. "We work with them on sources of trees and plantings, things like that."

Dickinson Parks & Recreation cares for large spaces that boast many trees.

"We need to work closely with them as well, as far as plantings and getting some consistency for what to plant and the different varieties that are out there," Quam said.

Dickinson State University is also concerned about the trees on its expansive acreage, Quam said.

"We're looking at trying to get them involved in the Tree Campus USA program, which is part of the Arbor Day Foundation," he said.

North Dakota has two other Tree Campus USA members: North Dakota State University and United Tribes Technical College.

"We have the possibility of becoming the third," Quam said.

According to Quam, the prospect of so many collaborations is exciting.

"We're looking at a lot of different things as far as interests and combinations," he said. "It's just a win-win situation, as far as getting together and talking about these things, and making them partners."

City Planner Walter Hadley applauded the return of the urban forestry committee.

"It is nice to have some on-the-ground help for urban forestry, for sure," he said. "We have used the planning commission for the past four years in that capacity, as well."

Dickinson will be recognized as a Tree City USA for the 26th year at an Arbor Day Celebration to be held Wednesday, May 22, at 9 a.m. at Dickinson Dinosaur Museum.