By Lanny Englund – Pacific Region Representative, CUFN Steering Committee
It has been an exciting six months in the world of Urban Forestry here in British Columbia. The first ever International Urban Forest Congress (IUFC) took place in Vancouver from September 30 – October 3, 2018. It was a huge success with more than 700 delegates from around the world in attendance, making it the largest international Urban Forestry conference ever held. The genesis of the Congress was Tree Canada awarding the 2018 Canadian Urban Forest Conference to the City of Vancouver. Early in the planning stages, the organizers saw an opportunity to expand the breadth to further incorporate the full range of people practicing urban forestry and to also bring in an academic component to connect practitioners with the latest research. This was accomplished through a groundbreaking partnership between Tree Canada’s Canadian Urban Forest Conference, the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture’s Annual Training Conference, and the Urban Tree Diversity Conference. The IUFC succeeded in bringing together practicing arborists and urban foresters, green space planners and designers, policy makers, researchers and educators to share their unique insights into arboriculture and urban forestry. Diversity was explored from the perspective of trees, forests, people, and policy, and management practices. I want to thank everyone that helped make this tremendous event a huge success, in particular I want to acknowledge the representatives from the host organizations; Bill Stephen (City of Vancouver), Nadia Chan (City of Surrey), Dr. Cecil Konijnendijk (UBC), and Dr. Adrina C. Bardekjian (Tree Canada), for their outstanding efforts leading the Executive Committee.
Here in the Pacific Region, beginning in 2015, we have held regional workshops in the off years (odd numbered years) of the Canadian Urban Forest Conference (CUFC) to maintain the momentum from the CUFC and to provide an opportunity to connect those practicing urban forestry in British Columbia. The CUFN Pacific Region Steering Committee is a group of volunteers who have committed their time to help make these workshops a reality with much assistance from Laura Cottle, our Pacific Region Coordinator. The Steering Committee took advantage of everyone being together at the IUFC in October to meet in person. The Association of BC Forest Professionals (ABCFP) are represented on the Steering Committee; at this meeting they offered to provide a venue for the 2019 workshop in conjunction with their annual conference and AGM in February in Kamloops. This was a unique opportunity since the two previous workshops in 2015 and 2017 were hosted in Vancouver. The ABCFP not only provided the venue, but also funded Laura to coordinate the workshop, while Tree Canada provided food and refreshments. The half day workshop titled, “Urban Forestry in Municipalities and Interface Areas of Interior BC”, involved a facilitated small group session to gather information from people practicing urban forestry in the interior of the province on the key challenges they are experiencing and how the Pacific Region of the CUFN could support them in addressing these challenges. The second component of the workshop was a series of presentations on the challenges managing the urban forest in the interior as well as strategies for how these challenges are being addressed. A total of 53 delegates attended the workshop and participated enthusiastically. Attendees were thankful for the opportunity to get together, meet others practicing urban forestry in the interior and learn about what others are doing.
Moving forward, the CUFN Pacific Region Steering Committee will be reviewing the feedback from the workshop to determine how participant input can inform our priorities for the CUFN Pacific Region as we renew our Urban Forestry Regional Action Plan in the coming months.