9:00 – 9:15 AM

Welcome & Details

Nancy Hughes & Gordon Matassa

California Urban Forests Council & Bay Area Urban Forest Ecosystem Council 


9:15 AM

From Research to Implementation: Cooling Urban Heat Islands
with Climate-Ready Trees

Janet Hartin

Area Environmental Horticulturist,
University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE),
San Bernardino, Los Angeles, and Riverside Counties

Description: The presenter will discuss the continuum from applied research to implementation that enhances tree canopy cover in low-shade neighborhoods, leading to numerous societal and urban ecosystem benefits. Examples of how partnerships have been formed with multiple governments and non-profit entities and organizations to provide education and free trees to members of underserved communities and information about the heat, drought, and pest-resistant tree species that are shared will be discussed.

10:00 AM

How Urban Trees May Be Improving Our Quality of Life
and Saving Lives

KEYNOTE SPEAKER – Dr. Geoffrey Donovan

USDA Forest Service in Portland, Oregon

Dr. Geoffrey Donovan earned a Ph.D. in Forest Economics from Colorado State. He is currently a researcher with the USDA Forest Service in Portland, Oregon. The first several years of research focused on wildfires, but in 2008 he switched the focus of his research to quantifying the benefits of urban trees. He found tree benefits range from the intuitive, reduced summertime cooling costs & stormwater benefits to the surprising—improved public-health outcomes. His research studies the intersection between people and the natural environment and where that interaction occurs in the city where people live. His most recent research is focused on the impact of trees on public health, which he believes are the biggest benefits of trees. Dr. Donovan has researched the relationship between trees and birth outcomes, leukemia, gentrification, voter turnout, ADHD, and, most recently, the impact of trees on human mortality in Portland.

Description: New research shows that exposure to urban trees may provide a wide range of health benefits. Some of these health benefits start before birth: mothers who have more trees around their homes are less likely to have an underweight baby. In childhood, exposure to the natural environment is associated with lower rates of asthma, ADHD, and childhood leukemia. In addition, children who have more trees around their homes and schools perform better on standardized tests. In adulthood, exposure to trees is associated with lower rates of cardiovascular and lower-respiratory disease. Finally, people live longer in neighborhoods that plant more trees. Taken together, this research demonstrates that urban trees are an essential part of our public-health infrastructure.

10 minute break

11:00 AM

Expanding Schoolyard Forests across California

Alejandra Chiesa, MSc, MLA

California State Director,
Green Schoolyards America

As the California State Director at Green Schoolyards America, Alejandra oversees the organization’s expanding work in the State. She provides strategic leadership to develop and implement emerging and future programs with school districts, public agencies and non-profit partners, in collaborative efforts to bring the green schoolyard movement to scale. Prior to joining Green Schoolyards America, Alejandra led the Bay Area Program at Trust for Public Land (TPL) for over ten years, where she worked extensively with communities to launch initiatives, secure funding, and develop open spaces to advance park and health equity. Alejandra’s passion focuses on advancing equity and access to nature with the goal of improving health and climate resilience. She has twenty years of experience as a landscape architect and extensive experience working with agencies, funders, non-profit partners, and communities to change systems and policies and achieve long-lasting impacts in green space equity. Alejandra is originally from Uruguay and holds a Master’s in Biology and Landscape Architecture from the University of Michigan.

Description: Green Schoolyards America seeks to transform asphalt-covered school grounds into park-like green spaces that improve children’s well-being, learning, and play while contributing to their communities’ ecological health and climate resilience.

10 minute break

12:00 NOON

Urban Forestry and Climate Resilience in Los Angeles 

Mary Hillemeier

Policy & Research Coordinator

Mary conducts and facilitates actionable research on community forestry, urban soils, extreme heat, and climate resilience in collaboration with TreePeople’s partners across Southern California. She holds an MPH in Health Equity and an MSW in Community Management and Policy Practice from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a certificate in Ecological Horticulture from the University of California, Santa Cruz Center for Agroecology. 

Description: TreePeople builds climate resilience in Southern California through urban and mountain forestry, community organizing, education, and policy and research. Recent research from the Los Angeles Urban Cooling Collaborative models “prescriptions” of tree canopy and reflective surfaces and their impact on heat exposure and health outcomes for city residents. The Safe and Prosperous Futures project explores community members’ perceptions of the changing climate, visions for the future, and opportunities for local resilience.

1:00 – 2:00 PM



2:00 PM

Why Trees are a Good Investment. How to tell the story.

Igor Lacan

Urban Forestry Advisor
County Director, UC Cooperative Extension
San Mateo/San Francisco Counties

Igor Lacan is a University of California Cooperative Extension Advisor for the San Francisco Bay Area, specializing in urban forestry. Focusing on trees and water, Igor’s research projects explore emerging issues in urban landscapes, such as tree growth in stormwater facilities, as well as contribute to mitigating longstanding problems, such as wood decay and failure in urban trees. Igor produces extension and outreach materials that transfer findings from the University to practicing arborists. Igor’s academic training includes urban forestry (Ph.D.), aquatic ecology (MS), and ecology (BS), all from the University of California, Berkeley (Go Bears!).

Description: Urban trees are a good investment, when considered at any level: from individual urban dwellers, to neighborhoods and whole cities, to entire nations. But because different audiences approach trees with different perspectives, both arborists and urban tree enthusiasts often encounter challenges in effectively communicating the “worth” of urban trees. This presentation will explore the different aspects of urban tree benefits, the various perspectives from which people view urban trees, and what communication methods might be effective in conveying the value(s) of trees to different audiences. We will evaluate, in particular, the issues of costs, dis-services, and risks (tree hazards), and present practical approaches to communicating these issues. Audience participation is welcome!

2:45 PM

What Elements Do We Need for Success?


Gordon Matassa (Oakland)
Sara Davis (San Jose)
Sarah Gaskin (A-Plus Tree)
Torin Dunnavant (Tree Davis)

3:45 PM

Urban Forestry’s Role in Public Health & Equity – Policies and Programs

Miranda Hutten

USDA Forest Service, Urban & Community Forestry

Miranda Hutten manages the Urban and Community Forest Program for the Pacific Southwest Region (Region 5) of the U.S. Forest Service. Her program area covers California, Hawaii, and the U.S.-affiliated Pacific Islands (Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Republic of the Marshall Islands, American Samoa, and Palau). 

Tanner Mar

Cal FIRE Regional Urban Forester – Bay Area/North Coast

4:30 PM

Wrap-up & CEUs

4:30 PM

Social Time // Bobcat Rodeo

6:00 PM

California Urban Forests Council Mixer
After Party & Capture the Canopy Comp @ Admiral’s Mansion

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