Urban and Community Forestry

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Hennepin County works within communities to increase tree canopy resilience

Hennepin County is working to improve tree canopy resilience to climate change, pests, storms, and extreme heat events. The tree canopy in Hennepin County faces a number of threats, including development, insects and diseases, climate extremes, and poor installation and maintenance.

Hennepin County forestry is helping homeowners with low incomes get trees removed and replaced on their properties as well as learn more about tree care and benefits. This work, funded by a U.S. Forest Service grant, this work addresses a significant need identified by community members as the emerald ash borer has swept through the county.

County foresters are also collaborating with the Minnesota Department of Transportation to plant 160 trees across seven sites on state rights-of-way along interstate 94 corridor in Minneapolis during the spring of 2024. These sites present an opportunity to increase the environmental and public health benefits that come from roadside trees.

Follow along to stay informed, apply to have a tree removed on your property, and learn about what is happening in urban and community forestry in Hennepin County.

Hennepin County works within communities to increase tree canopy resilience

Hennepin County is working to improve tree canopy resilience to climate change, pests, storms, and extreme heat events. The tree canopy in Hennepin County faces a number of threats, including development, insects and diseases, climate extremes, and poor installation and maintenance.

Hennepin County forestry is helping homeowners with low incomes get trees removed and replaced on their properties as well as learn more about tree care and benefits. This work, funded by a U.S. Forest Service grant, this work addresses a significant need identified by community members as the emerald ash borer has swept through the county.

County foresters are also collaborating with the Minnesota Department of Transportation to plant 160 trees across seven sites on state rights-of-way along interstate 94 corridor in Minneapolis during the spring of 2024. These sites present an opportunity to increase the environmental and public health benefits that come from roadside trees.

Follow along to stay informed, apply to have a tree removed on your property, and learn about what is happening in urban and community forestry in Hennepin County.

  • Monthly learning series: trees and forests

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    Hennepin County forestry is offering free monthly learning opportunities about trees and forests for residents. These sessions require no previous knowledge, are open to the public, and rotate between virtual webinars, in-person trainings, and hybrid webinars and trainings. Recordings from webinars will be available for those who are unable to attend.

    Download a flyer of upcoming sessions (PDF, 547 KB)

    Tree planting and selection webinar

    Thursday, May 23 from 6 to 7 p.m.

    Get insight on how to select the right tree(s) for your property and learn techniques from the experts for planting bare root, containerized, and balled and burlap trees.

    Register on Zoom.

    Tree identification in-person workshop

    Thursday, June 20 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Folwell Park in Minneapolis

    This in-person workshop will teach participants techniques to properly ID trees in their yards and neighborhoods. It will be interactive and held fully outdoors on and off paved trails. We will meet at the parking lot outside of the recreation center. Map to bus, bike, drive, or walk to Folwell Park.

    Register to attend.

    Diagnosing common tree defects and health issues in-person workshop

    Thursday, July 25 from 6 to 8 p.m.

    Learn from experts about how to diagnose common structural, root defects, and health issues in your trees. This will include stem girdling root identification and remediation, codominance that can lead to splits and tear-outs, and other health issues. This training will be held fully outdoors both on paved and unpaved paths. We will meet at the parking lot outside of the recreation center. Map to bus, bike, drive, or walk to Folwell Park.

    Register to attend.

    Save the date for additional trainings

    Save the date for the following trainings. Locations are still being determined. Once locations are selected, we will share registration links and details via this newsletter and on the learning series web page.

    Get to know your soil hybrid workshop

    Thursday, August 22 from 6 to 8 p.m.

    Learn from experts about the different types of soil in Hennepin County and how it can impact trees in this hybrid workshop held both in-person and virtually via Zoom. Get to know your soil to increase tree health and choose the right trees for your property.

    Recordings and resources from past trainings

    Identifying common diseases and infestations in trees webinar

    Held April 25, 2024

    Brian Schwingle, the Forest Health Program Coordinator from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, educates about common diseases and infestation of trees, including emerald ash borer, Dutch elm disease, and oak wilt. Watch a recording of this training.

  • Roadside plantings on Minnesota Department of Transportation property

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    Hennepin County is collaborating with the Minnesota Department of Transportation to plant 160 trees across seven sites on state rights-of-way along interstate 94 corridor. These sites present an opportunity to increase the environmental and public health benefits that come from roadside trees. Trees planted along roadsides are shown to improve local air quality, reduce flooding, provide shade for cooling effects in the summer and break winter winds, help local wildlife, and improve mental well-being of community members. Tree species planted during this project will tolerate conditions such as road salt, a variety of different soils, and trap particulate matter. The diversity of tree species will also increase their resiliency to climate change.

    Where and when

    Trees will be planted along the interstate 94 corridor in the North Minneapolis neighborhoods of: Mckinley, Webber-Camden, and Near North during the spring and fall of 2024.

    Neighborhood outreach

    Outreach to the neighborhoods where these plantings will take place will occur during spring of 2024. Outreach tactics will include postcards, forestry presence at community meetings to answer questions, posts to the neighborhoods via NextDoor, and lawn signs at planting locations.

    Attend a Tree Stewards training and volunteer planting on Saturday, June 1

    Tree Stewards

    A tree care and identification training (Tree Stewards) will be offered to community members from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. at Cityview Community school in Minneapolis with lunch provided after the class.

    Volunteer planting

    A volunteer planting is scheduled to begin after the Tree Stewards class (noon) at the intersection of N 4th St. and 36th Avenue in Minneapolis. Attendance at the Tree Stewards class is not required to help with the planting.

    Sign up to attend.

    Project updates and next steps

    Stay tuned here for additional details and how to register for the training, planting, or both.

    For more information about this project, Contact Leslie Alcantar Mejia at leslie.alcantarmejia@hennepin.us.

  • Urban and Community Forestry Grant awarded

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    Hennepin County was recently awarded a $10 million Urban and Community Forestry grant from the U.S. Forest Service to remove diseased trees, plant trees, educate residents, and support businesses and workforce development. The project will improve resilience to climate change, pests, storms, and extreme heat events.

    This grant is part of more than $1 billion awarded to 385 projects nationwide and $33 million in Minnesota. This historic funding from the Inflation Reduction Act will support projects that increase tree cover in disadvantaged communities, as identified in the White House Council on Environmental Quality’s Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool.

    County grant will remove and replace diseased trees

    With the grant funding, Hennepin County forestry will help homeowners with low incomes get trees removed and replaced from their properties. County foresters will also educate residents about tree care and the benefits of trees. This funding addresses a significant need identified by community members as the emerald ash borer has swept through the county.

    County foresters have heard from residents about the overwhelming financial burden of removing a diseased tree. Without help, some residents could be at risk of losing their home to tax forfeiture if the property is assessed for the removal of a tree. Many others aren’t likely to be able to afford to replace the removed tree, which furthers the disparities in the urban tree canopy.

    Workforce development

    To accomplish this work, the county will prioritize contracting with small and women-and-minority-owned tree removal businesses and expand county and community-based workforce development programs to employ teens and young adults to plant and maintain trees.

    There will be two new workforce programs created as well as the continuation of The Forestry Productive Day program. The new programs will include an adult arborist apprenticeship program and an introductory tree maintenance program for high school aged youth. The arborist apprenticeship program will take the participants through hands on training that includes tree identification, proper pruning techniques, tree climbing, common hand tool use and safety, removal of trees and the different techniques used for removals, exposure and training on removal equipment, chainsaw use and safety, chipper use and safety, proper protective equipment use, equipment maintenance, tree planting and maintenance, common pests and pathogens, tree defects and decay fungi as well as the Minnesota Tree Inspector certification. The youth program will teach tree identification, pruning, watering, and other tree care and maintenance skills.

    Forestry Productive Day is a workforce development program managed by the Hennepin County Department of Corrections. The crews are made up of individuals who may have had previous contact with corrections and have found themselves to be under employed. While in the field, Productive Day crews are trained on tree planting, watering, felling, chipping and other maintenance activities. There will be one youth crew and one adult crew working on grant activities for the duration of the grant.

    Timeline and next steps

    This grant will take place from 2024 through 2029.

    April to September 2024

    • Hire a county project manager and two field staff
    • Issue a request for proposals (RFP) and hire tree removal contractors
    • Develop communications materials and outreach plan
    • Build a web page for engagement and online forms for resident applications
    • Contract with 1 to 2 community-based organizations to support outreach and engagement and hire a consultant to support communications and tracking metrics
    • Begin outreach and engagement
    • Notify and screen homeowners for tree removal and replacement
    • Contract with 1 or 2 green jobs providers to train youth and young adults
    • Launch workforce development programs and continue Productive Day programs as pilot approaches with full implementation beginning 2025

    September 2024 through March 2029

    • Assess the first year of the project
    • Complete year-one reporting
    • Adjust the program as-needed based on assessment
    • Implement the program fully during spring and summer of 2025, 2026, 2027 and 2028

    Learn more about the grant project at a community meeting

    Learn about the grant at a hybrid community meeting. The next meeting will be from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 14 at the University of Minnesota Urban Research Center (UROC), Room 107.

    Grants also awarded to cities and other entities in Hennepin County

    Cities and other entities within the county that also received Urban and Community Forestry grants include: The City of Minneapolis ($8 million), The City of Richfield (nearly $500,000), Great River Greening ($10 million), and The University of Minnesota ($1.7 million).

    Updates and questions

    Subscribe to the grant update newsletter on this page to receive email updates as Hennepin County’s grant work progresses.

    USDA Nondiscrimination Statement

    In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, this organization is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, and reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.)

    Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the responsible State or local Agency that administers the program or USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information is also available in languages other than English.

    To file a program discrimination complaint, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, AD-3027, found online at How to File a Program Discrimination Complaint and at any USDA office or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all ofthe information requested in the form. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by: (1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; (2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or (3) email: program.intake@usda.gov.

    Hennepin County is an equal opportunity provider.

    Funding provided by the Inflation Reduction Act and USDA Forest Service.

Page last updated: 21 May 2024, 02:13 PM