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Urban forests provide enormous environmental, social, and economic benefits.  Urban forests conserve natural ecosystems and sustain clean air and water. They reduce stormwater runoff, moderate urban heat islands, absorb air pollution, and enhance wildlife habitat.  Yet the tree canopy in most U.S. cities has declined over the last few decades. What does that mean to planners and how can planners maximize green infrastructure (the natural environment) to reduce the costs and effects of gray infrastructure (the built environment)?  This session will help identify how planners can interface with urban forestry programs and expand urban forests. Speakers will also discuss the future of urban forestry, local grant opportunities, valuing trees as part of new development projects and Maintenance Assessments Districts, regional tree canopy assessments, and the San Diego County Tree Map.

Lunch will be provided and will be served starting at 11:30 am. 

Please arrive early so we can get started promptly at 12 pm.    

AICP CM – Credits: 1.5 (download flyer)


Dr. Greg McPherson, PhD  – Dr. Greg McPherson is a Research Forester with the USDA Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Research Station located in Davis, CA. Greg grew up under a canopy of American elm trees in Howell, Michigan. Despite attempts to save the trees, all were lost to Dutch elm disease, and having felt the sting of that loss he became a green accountant, developing new methods and tools for quantifying the value of nature’s benefits from city trees. He works with a team of scientists to measure and model effects of trees on energy use, urban heat islands, air pollutant uptake, carbon sequestration, and rainfall interception. Their research is helping justify investments in urban forest planning and management. In 2000 Greg received the International Society of Arboriculture’s L.C. Chadwick Award for Research. Greg Chairs the Tree Growth and Longevity Working Group and serves on the California Urban Forest Council’s Policy Advisory Committee. He attended University of Michigan (BGS), Utah State University (Masters in Landscape Architecture), and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (Ph.D. Forestry).

Robin Rivet, ISA Certified Arborist – Robin Rivet contracts with the California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE), where she provides technical advice and direction for an urban forestry tree mapping and public education program. Also certified as a utility forester, Robin was past manager of CCSE’s Cool Communities Shade Tree Program. An advocate for public service, she serves on the executive committee of the San Diego Regional Urban Forests Council, City of La Mesa’s Environmental /Sustainability Commission, and is the arborist rep for the City of San Diego Community Forest Advisory Board. Robin authors a regular column, called “Trees Please” for the San Diego Horticultural Society magazine, and is an active member of the California Rare Fruit Growers. She also trained as a UCCE Master Gardener, and has remained a horticultural consultant for over 17 years.  In 2012, she received the Durrell Maughn Founder’s Award from the California Urban Forests Council as an individual who had done the most in the past year to advance urban forestry education.

Alexander Hempton, AICP – Alex Hempton is a Planner and Project Manager with the City of San Diego’s Development Services Department and Membership Director of the San Diego Section of the American Planning Association.  A native San Diegan, Alex earned a degree in Urban Studies & Planning from the University of California San Diego.  This year he was selected as a juror on the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s Orchids & Onions awards panel.  At New City America, Inc., Alex contributed to the formation and management of Business Improvement Districts and Maintenance Assessment Districts.  Here, he gained a greater appreciation for urban forestry, street trees in particular, and their contributions to thriving communities.  Alex served as a board member for People for Trees, a former San Diego-based non-profit group.  In 2005, Alex started with the City of San Diego as a Planner in the landscape development plan review section.   His current assignment, as a Project Manager, involves the permitting of Wireless Communication Facilities (cell phone antennas), which often consist of faux trees.  When not reviewing “monopines,” Alex dedicates attention to living trees and improving the City’s urban forest.

Time:               12:00-1:30pm

Note: Please arrive prior to 12:00pm to register and enjoy lunch.  The program will start promptly at 12:00pm.

Location:          Caltrans San Diego – Garcia Auditorium

4050 Taylor Street, San Diego, CA  92110

Transportation:  Surface Parking at District Office – limited number of parking spaces for visitors; NCTD COASTER, MTS Green Line Trolley, and MTS Buses 8, 9, 10, 28, 30, 35, 44, 88, 105, 150 at Old Town Transit Center.

Early Registration: $10 (Members), $15 (Non-Members), $5 (students, unemployed and retired Members)

After October 11: $15 (Members), $20 (Non-Members), $10 (student, unemployed and retired Members)

REGISTRATION REQUIRED – RSVP: http://tinyurl.com/sdapa-urban-forest

Download the City of San Diego Urban Forest Management Plan

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