ASLA Participates in the Sustainable Urban Forests Coalition's 2016 Annual Meeting

ASLA Participates in the Sustainable Urban Forests Coalition's 2016 Annual Meeting

On March 17, ASLA attended the Sustainable Urban Forest Coalition’s (SUFC) 2016 Annual Meeting held at The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC) worldwide office in Arlington, Virginia. A reception was also held on March 16 at the U.S. Botanic Garden, where both Congressman David Joyce (OH) and U.S. Forest Service Associate Chief Mary Wagner were in attendance and spoke passionately about the work of the Coalition, the urban and forestry community, and the state and urban forests.

The meeting included presentations on SUFC’s strategic plan and coalition activities in 2015; small group discussions related to environmental strategies for improving urban health and safety; urban ecosystems and water; and diversifying the urban forestry workforce. Keynote speaker Robert Zarr, MD shared his understanding and experience of the value of nature in preventing and treating chronic diseases.

The SUFC’s strategic plan sets forth five major areas for development including leveraging networking, advocacy, the concept of an urban forestry science delivery framework, diversifying coalition funding, and communications. For each area, the strategic plan provides context and 13 specific recommendations for meeting its development goals.

Small groups were led by Coalition leaders from American Forests, The Davey Institute, The Nature Conservancy, SavATree, and the National Recreation and Park Association. Attendees were given the opportunity to participate in discussions and submit suggestions on Coalition policy objectives, the state and direction of urban research, strategic engagement and outreach, how to diversify coalition funding, and leveraging the network.

Keynote speaker Zarr, founder of DC Parks Rx articulated the importance of time spent in nature and emphasized the link between chronic disease, poverty, low levels of activity, premature deaths, and the serious financial burden on the U.S. healthcare system. Zarr also highlighted the importance of being active in the presence of trees and the proven effect such activity hs not only on individuals physically, but on mental health as well.

The event concluded with ‘lightning round’ presentations on urban forestry and its intersections with public health, water, and the workforce and break-out discussions with afternoon speakers.

ASLA is a member of the Sustainable Urban Forest Coalition. Learn more about the Annual Meeting and the Sustainable Urban Forest Coalition’s activities.


Kevin Fry
Director, PR and

JR Taylor
PR Coordinator