The APWA and the SMA are developing a first-of-its-kind program to improve dialogue between foresters and public works professionals that will ultimately lead to better care of the urban forest. Photo: Jenni Spinner

The American Public Works Association (APWA) received a $130,000 federal cost-share grant from the USDA Forest Service to fund an outreach program that aims to help public works departments improve tree care projects.

The program, “Urban Forest Management and Public Works: Improving Communications and Building Capacity,” is a joint venture between APWA and the Society of Municipal Arborists (SMA); the goal is to ensure better care of the nation's urban forest through enhanced communications.

“Although public works and urban forestry professionals are often housed in the same city department, they don't always understand how to combine their talents and resources for the benefits of the communities' trees,” says SMA executive director Jerri LaHaie, CAE. “This grant gives us the opportunity to create an ongoing dialogue between those professional groups, which will result in ideas for leveraging dollars, equipment, and person-power for better managed urban forests.”

The endeavor includes an educational campaign, a Webcast, and other forestry education and outreach projects designed to train the public works community. Slated to run for 18 months, it will be led by an advisory group that comprises APWA and SMA members. Eventually, all program materials will be available in a comprehensive toolkit. For more information, visit