Forest council seeks members

Posted: Wednesday, April 15, 2009

With all the discussion of going "green" as of late, talk often turns to the concept of forests as renewable resources, but much thought must go into how trees are managed if they are to be there for future generations.

As such, the Alaska Community Forest Council, a state advisory council under the Department of Natural Resources' Division of Forestry, is accepting applications for new members.

"We want as much diverse input as we can get to help shape and direct our program," said Stephen Nickel, community assistance forester with the Division of Forestry's Community Forestry Program.

The council is a nonprofit that promotes the management of trees and forests within communities to maximize their benefits to residents and visitors and works to improve Alaskans' quality of life by expanding and caring for urban and community forests.

"Basically, they're an advisory group," Nickel said.

The council advises the state's Division of Forestry on developing and supporting local community forestry programs and works with the division to foster partnerships between government agencies, businesses and volunteers. Council members also review community forestry grant proposals and promote tree planting in their communities.

"Six of the council's 15 seats will become open at the end of June," Nickel said.

These seats are for a landscape architect, a construction/right-of-way person, an industry or business person, an Alaska Cooperative Extension Service employee and two members at large.

Council members are asked to serve on a working committee, help handle the normal business responsibilities of a nonprofit and support the care of trees and forests in the towns they live in. They must be able to attend all-day meetings four times each year, usually in Anchorage.

Council members receive no compensation, except reimbursement of travel expenses, but for their efforts they are provided educational opportunities and hands-on training.

"We always try to tie a training into the face-to-face meetings. These trainings may cover any one of a variety of topics, such as tree biology, tree care, proper pruning, things like that," Nickel said.

Applications and information about the council and the Community Forestry Program are available on the web at http://forestry.alaska.gov/community/council.htm, from the Community Forestry Office in Anchorage at 269-8466, or from Nickel at stephen.nickel@alaska.gov.

Completed applications are due no later than April 27. New appointees will be notified in late May and the three-year terms begin July 1.

Joseph Robertia can be reached at joseph.robertia@peninsulaclarion.com.



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