Urban and Community Forestry Meeting in Nevada

The Western Urban & Community Forestry (WUCF) Committee gathered for its annual meeting at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, April 11-13. 

The WUCF Committee was established as a forum to share information, collaborate on program delivery, and advance urban & community forestry (UCF) in the West. Membership of the WUCF Committee includes UCF coordinators from 17 western states and six U.S.-Affiliated Pacific Islands, as well as a staff liaison from the Council of Western State Foresters and representation from the USDA Forest Service.

The annual WUCF meeting provides an opportunity for committee members and partners to meet in-person to network and address UCF issues and opportunities, at both the state and national level. 

The 2023 meeting focused on the following key outcomes: refine and act on strategies for achieving priority items for UCF program implementation in the West; share and discuss a range of core issues, projects, and products to cost-effectively deliver and support state and federal programs and initiatives; and strengthen the regional network and voice of UCF leaders in the West.

This year’s meeting was hosted by WUCF Chair Cayenne Engel, with support from the Nevada Division of Forestry, the WUCF Leadership Team, and the Western Forestry Leadership Coalition. Attendees included U&CF representatives from Alaska, American Samoa, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington, and Wyoming. Additional attendees included staff from the Western Forestry Leadership Coalition, representatives from the USDA Forest Service, the Chair of the Southern Group of State Foresters UCF Committee, and the Arbor Day Foundation. 

On April 11, Nuwu Paiute community member Shannon Anderson opened up the workshop with a land acknowledgment, remarking that “The land is alive”. Following Shannon’s opening, Tom Claeys, North Dakota State Forester and WUCF State Forester Advisor, provided a brief welcome to attendees.   

"The work that you do in your states and communities is extraordinarily important, and we are your cheerleaders," said Tom Claeys, North Dakota State Forester, and WUCF State Forester Advisor. "Take the information from this week home with you and continue to make vital impacts in your states."

To tie in the national UCF perspective, updates were provided by Keith Wood with the National Association of State Foresters (NASF) and Kacey KC, Nevada State Forester and NASF President.  

“It’s great to see so many states here today; it’s great to see the collaboration. You all have so many good ideas that you are implementing in your state, and other states can learn from you. I urge you to tell your stories. Tell people why your work matters, and why trees in the city are important,” said Kacey KC, Nevada State Forester and NASF President. 

Partner groups provided presentations, including UCF updates from the Southern Group of State Foresters and the Northeast-Midwest State Foresters Alliance; Cal Poly on SelecTree - an online tree selection guide; Lisa Ortega from Nevada Plants on Community Partnerships; and Alana Tucker from the Arbor Day Foundation on the Tree City USA Program. 

On April 12, attendees got outside for a field tour with stops at Springs Preserve, the City of Las Vegas Nursery, and the Nevada Division of Forestry State Tree Nursery. 

The final day of the meeting concluded with a discussion about the WUCF workplan and the Inflation Reduction Act UCF funding. To learn more about UCF in the West, check out the latest WUCF publication focused on the theme of Resilience. This publication features 11 stories from across the region. 

The WUCF Committee will continue to meet quarterly via Zoom. To learn more about the WUCF Committee, visit https://www.thewflc.org/about/committees/western-urban-community-forestry-committee