Delaware Forest Service leads tree planting in Milton

YouTube Tree Stewards

Link to You Tube Video on Milton Tree Planting


More Photos from the Milton Tree Planting Event are on Delaware Forest Service Facebook Page

MILTON, Del. (April 24, 2021) –  The Delaware Forest Service and its new “Tree Stewards” program led more than 50 volunteers and town officials to plant 160 trees in Milton, Sussex County on Saturday, April 24. The trees will enhance the town’s hiking and biking trail near West Shore Drive, part of DelDOT’s  ongoing “Rails to Trails” project in Sussex County. Delaware’s urban and community forestry program funded the cost of the trees and provided technical assistance.

Milton Mayor Ted Kanakos, “This is magnificent. We probably have 50 volunteers, just taking a Saturday morning to beautify this area. It’s really a great feeling. Any project like this, no matter where it is, enhances the town.”

The tree planting also served as a hands-on project for the latest graduates of the new “Delaware’s Tree Stewards” program, which aims to train knowledgeable community tree advocates to increase tree canopy and transform their neighborhoods through the power of trees.

The City of Lewes parks administrator Janet Reeves is a recent graduate of the Delaware Tree Stewards training: “I’m here with the tree commissioner of the City of Lewes and we hope to take our knowledge and bring it back to our city and our parks and rec. commission so that we can enhance what we already have in the City of Lewes. We have over 900 inventoried trees, so we hope to take these skills back and help others have an understanding of proper tree planting and proper tree maintenance.”

Tree Stewards coordinator Sam Seo was happy with the day’s effort and the quality of the tree planting, “Tree Stewards is an opportunity for us to bring training and resources to Delawareans who want to improve their landscapes in their own neighborhood. By teaching things like how trees work, how to plant trees, how to develop tree projects – we’re really hoping to empower individuals and groups to take on those kinds of projects independently, and of course with the support of the Delaware Forest Service and many of our partners.”

Milton town resident Gwen Saucier, who turns 75 this year, was one of the day’s tree planting volunteers: “I believe we need to continue to replenish our land with trees… We’ve taken a lot away from our forestry and it’s time that this current generation pay back.”

Milton tree planting 4
Milton councilwoman Randi Meredith and her daughter Azalea helped with the tree planting project along the “Rails to Trails” walkway.

Milton tree planting 3

Milton Tree Planting 2

Milton tree planting 1



Urban forestry director on U.S. Council of


Kesha Braunskill
 Click the above image for link to YouTube video.


DOVER, Del. (Aug. 27, 2020) — Delaware’s urban forestry program director Kesha Braunskill has been named to the Stakeholder Council of the U.S. Chapter of,  an international effort to plant one trillion trees launched in Davos, Switzerland, which “aims to connect, empower and mobilize a global reforestation community to conserve, restore and grow one trillion trees globally by 2030.”  The World Economic Forum launched at the Annual Meeting 2020 in Davos, Switzerland. It is designed to support the U.N. Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030 whose goals are to accelerate global restoration of degraded ecosystems, to fight the climate crisis, enhance food security, provide clean water and protect biodiversity on the planet.

Kesha Braunskill 2The U.S. is home to the first regional chapter of The U.S. chapter is supported by the US Stakeholder Council, a bipartisan group of senior-level representatives from government, business, civil society and academia who are informing the strategic direction of the initiative.

The press release launching the U.S. chapter’s effort reported that “26 forward-looking companies, cities, and organizations across the U.S. announced they will help combat extreme heat and wildfires, as well as other adverse effects of climate change, by conserving, restoring, and growing more than 855 million trees. Healthy forests are a critical nature-based solution for the climate crisis and these pledges mark the launch of the US chapter of, the global trillion trees movement.”

Braunskill joins a prestigious group that includes corporate leaders from major Fortune 500 companies, members of the U.S. Congress, and leaders in the nonprofit sectors. American Forest Foundation, Arbor Day Foundation, Bank of America, Mastercard, Microsoft, National Association of State Foresters, National Forest Foundation, Salesforce, and the cities of Detroit and Dallas are among those who have committed to invest in creating healthy forests. The World Economic Forum and American Forests are leading the initiative and will provide individuals and organizations in the U.S. with the tools and technical assistance they need to create and bring their pledges to life. Pledges demonstrate an advancement of conservation, restoration, and reforestation goals within the US and internationally, a significant effort and achievement toward the trillion trees goal. Trees pledged will cover 2.8 million acres.

“One Trillion Trees rests on the belief that trees can have a positive impact on our planet’s future. This initiative is a great platform to promote trees and their benefits and make a difference on a local scale where most of us live and work. Collectively we can move the effort forward by planting more trees in our neighborhoods, parks and schools. And more importantly we can properly care for the trees that we already have.” said Kesha Braunskill, Delaware urban and community forestry program director.

Healthy and resilient forests are a key part of efforts to combat the negative impacts of climate change. Studies have shown trees can reduce temperatures by 9 degrees and energy costs by $7.8 billion a year. The chance of extreme wildfires occurring also decreases dramatically when forests are managed properly by, for example, planting specially-selected tree species in burned areas and using novel planting techniques for resilience to future wildfires.

“The US Chapter launches at a perfect time,” said Jad Daley, President & Chief Executive Officer of American Forests.  “It unites the diverse organizations and people working for trillion trees so that we can do more, and do it better, by working together. And it aligns with the trillion trees movement quickly building in the US, including bi-partisan Congressional support for historic forest conservation legislation and bold new commitments from corporations and NGOs to help address carbon emissions with reforestation.”

“We have seen enormous energy and enthusiasm to conserve and restore our forests,” said Justin Adams, Director of Nature Based Solutions, World Economic Forum. “A nature-positive recovery is crucial to a great reset of our society and economy. Putting trees at the heart of this reset will help ensure it is sustainable for us and future generations.”

Investing in forests will also help improve the economy and public health. In the US alone, every $1 million invested in tree planting and other forest restoration activities creates almost 40 jobs. Globally, sustainable management of forests would create $230 billion in business opportunities and 16 million jobs worldwide by 2030. From a health perspective, trees absorb 17.4 million tons of air pollutants a year, helping to prevent 670,000 cases of asthma and other acute respiratory symptoms annually.

In America, forests and forest products currently capture 15% of the nation’s carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels. Conserving, restoring, and growing trees can enable US forests to capture nearly double the emissions.

American Forests is the first national non-profit conservation organization created in the US. Since its founding in 1875, the organization has been the pathfinders for the forest conservation movement. Its mission is to create healthy and resilient forests, from cities to wilderness, that deliver essential benefits for climate, people, water and wildlife. The organization advances its mission through forestry innovation, place-based partnerships to plant and restore forests, and movement building.


Delaware Forest Service awards $58,000 for 16 tree planting projects

Delaware urban grant project
Urban and community trees provide numerous benefits, including better air and water quality, storm water retention, and increased property values.

DOVER – The Delaware Forest Service has awarded $58,244 to fund 16 tree planting projects throughout the First State. Since 2007, the agency has given more than $1.7 million to cities, towns and homeowner groups to support community tree efforts that take place on public lands. Recipients provide a 50-50 cost-share match in either non-federal funds or in-kind services such as volunteer time, equipment, or donated supplies.

“These urban forestry grants are a central part of our agency’s efforts to meet our statewide program goals. Tree planting projects help to bring people together, build awareness about the importance of proper tree care in community settings, and highlight the many benefits of increasing tree canopy,” said Kesha Braunskill, Delaware Forest Service’s urban and community forestry director.

Delaware’s Urban and Community Forestry Grant Program is a competitive process open to all municipalities, community associations, and certified 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations in the State of Delaware. Funds can only be utilized on public property owned by the municipality, HOA, or nonprofit organization. Grants ranged from $500 to a maximum of $5,000 in two project categories: tree planting or tree management. Applications were limited to one project in one category and were judged on a competitive basis by the grant committee of the Delaware Community Forestry Council. Eligible projects must be performed on public lands within the community. Priority was given to first time applicants, Tree Friendly Communities, and applicants that have passed an Urban Tree Canopy Goal Resolution (only applies to Municipalities).

2018 Delaware Urban and Community Forestry Grants

Community or Municipality City or Town County Amount
Town of Elsmere Elsmere New Castle $5,000
Spring Arbor Community Association Middletown New Castle $5,000
Academy Hill – Phase V Newark New Castle $5,000
Westover Hills – Section C Wilmington New Castle $1,350
Highlands Community Association Wilmington New Castle $1,645
City of Dover Dover Kent $1,350
Longacre Village Dover Kent $3,190
Spring Meadow Community Smyrna Kent $5,000
Delaware Botanic Gardens, Inc Dagsboro Sussex $5,000
Town of Ellendale Ellendale Sussex $2,345
The Village of Five Points Lewes Sussex $3,000
Bay Crossing Lewes Sussex $3,695
City of Lewes Lewes Sussex $3,921
James Farm Ecological Preserve Ocean View Sussex $4,978
The Grande at Canal Pointe Rehoboth Beach Sussex $3,475
The Meadows at Old Landing Rehoboth Beach Sussex $4,295
TOTAL $58,244

For more information, contact Kesha Braunskill, or 302-698-4578.


New online tool to assess community tree canopy in Delaware

DOVER, Del. – The Delaware Forest Service (DFS) has unveiled a new online tool that uses geographic information systems (GIS) software to help cities, towns, and neighborhoods to measure and increase their community tree canopy percentage. The link is:

Developed by the Delaware Department of Agriculture’s GIS specialist Jimmy Kroon, the tool covers the entire First State: municipalities, homeowner associations, and neighborhoods can assess their current level of tree cover as a starting point to explore opportunities to plant new trees or maintain their existing ones.

This maps shows the Rodney Village subdivision near U.S. 13 in South Dover. A new GIS tool from the Department of Agriculture's Forest Service shows that the community has a current tree canopy level of 31.2 percent.
This maps shows the Rodney Village subdivision near U.S. 13 in South Dover. A new GIS tool from the Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service shows that it has 29.8 of its 95.3 acres covered by trees, for a total tree canopy level of 31.2 percent.

Tree canopy is important because trees provide numerous natural benefits for air and water quality, lower heating and cooling costs, a reduction in harmful UV radiation, as well as other environmental and social benefits. In particular, trees mitigate the soil erosion and stream pollution caused by impervious surfaces and storm water run-off in urban areas. Studies show that trees can improve property values and provide scenic beauty, reduce summer peak temperatures, and even improve social ties among neighbors, factors that can help a community attract businesses and residents.  One study found a 10% increase in tree cover was linked to a 12% decrease in crime .

Tree planting at State Street Park in the Town of Delmar.
Tree planting at State Street Park in the Town of Delmar.

Urban tree canopy (UTC) assessment is used to help decision-makers understand their urban forest resources, particularly how much tree canopy currently exists and the amount that could exist.  This enables citizens and public officials to identify “plantable space” to locate trees. The UTC assessment protocols have been applied to dozens of counties, cities, and towns in the United States and Canada. The assessments help inform UTC goals, prioritize tree planting locations, establish urban forestry master plans, and justify spending and potential return on investment (ROI) for urban forestry programs.

From left, Delaware Forest Service urban forester Dionne Duphily and forest health associate Hannah Small worked on a hazard tree assessment in the Town of Odessa. The DFS has developed a new online GIS tool to help communities measure their tree canopy and develop strategies to maintain and increase it through grants and technical assistance.


In Delaware, state forestry staff work with cities, towns, and communities to increase tree canopy through urban grants and technical assistance. Once the baseline of tree canopy has been established, urban foresters can help communities set goals to increase their percentage. According to Kesha Braunskill, Delaware Forest Service’s urban and community forestry program director, the following municipalities have adopted formal resolutions to increase and/or maintain their tree canopy:

  • Arden
  • Ardentown
  • Blades
  • City of New Castle
  • Delaware City
  • Delmar
  • Georgetown
  • Greenwood
  • Henlopen Acres
  • Laurel
  • Lewes
  • Millville
  • Newark
  • Rehoboth
  • Smyrna
  • Wilmington

“We hope this new online tool will help people focus on the many benefits of trees as well as the need to increase tree canopy statewide,” said Braunskill. “We can magnify the numerous benefits of our urban forests by simply planting more trees in our communities and developments.”

The Delaware Forest Service’s goal to keep and increase existing canopy is balanced against a concern that some people are taking out trees unnecessarily. In general, tree removals should be considered when the tree poses a hazard or a risk assessment shows a “safety” or “tree health” issue. In addition to asking the Delaware Forest Service for help, those with concerns are also advised to only consult companies with arborists certified by the International Society for Arboriculture (ISA). Because trees are so beneficial, the advice is generally if you “remove a tree” then “replace a tree.”

As part of the Delaware Forest Service’s annual tree grant process, applicants who seek funding for tree removals must provide for the tree’s replacement, a requirement also adopted by ordinances in Rehoboth, Lewes, and Wilmington. Similarly, every municipality that applies for an urban and community grant must also have a tree canopy goal.

There are currently tree canopy maps in PDF form for all 57 incorporated municipalities, but the new GIS tool allows those outside municipal boundaries to also be aware of the benefits of keeping and increasing their tree cover. Even homeowner associations can set goals: Tavistock in New Castle County, for example, has adopted a tree canopy resolution. The Delaware Forest Service offers technical assistance on tree planting, lists of recommended trees, site evaluation, tree ordinance, and setting tree canopy goals. The agency also sponsors a website,, where residents can learn about the work of  the urban and community forestry program and even read a “Tree Owner’s Manual” to learn about how to select, plant, and care for a new tree.

For more information, contact Kesha Braunskill at

6th Annual Delaware Arborist & Tree Care Seminar will be held on Nov. 2 and 3 at Delaware State University

Contact: Kesha Braunskill, Delaware Forest Service, (302) 698-4578 email:


online registration

The 6th Annual Delaware Arborist and Tree Care Seminar will be on November 2 and 3, 2016 from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Student Center at Delaware State University, 1200 N. DuPont Highway, Dover, DE.

Cost is $95 with lunch included both days. There is no option available for single-day registration. All major credit cards (Mastercard, VISA, American Express, and Discover), checks and money orders accepted. Attendees paying by check or money order are asked to fill out the online form to complete registration (follow instructions on where to mail payment).

Link to EventBrite Registration

Sponsored by the Delaware Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry Program, the seminar includes classroom lectures, hands-on training, and vendor exhibits offering the latest knowledge and best management practices on tree care, health, and tree worker safety. This year’s program includes an update on the recent detection of emerald ash borer in Delaware, practical “how-to” sessions on proper planting techniques, chainsaw maintenance and equipment operation, disease and pest diagnosis and treatment options, civic improvement programs, and more. Attendees have included a mix of representatives from government agencies and nonprofits, municipal officials and public works staff, tree care professionals and landscaping workers, as well as the general public with an interest in trees in the community setting.

Continuing education credits for International Society of Arboriculture certification, Tree Care Industry Association and its Certified Tree Care Professional program, Delaware pesticide licensing, and  Maryland’s Licensed Tree Expert certification will be offered. Major sponsors for the 2016 event include Delaware State University, Delmarva Power and Rainbow Scientific. Delaware State University has been recognized as a Tree Campus USA for five consecutive years – the only college or university in the First State to achieve that honor.


Dr. John Ball is Professor of Forestry at South Dakota State University. He’ll speak at the 6th Annual Delaware Arborist & Tree Care Seminar at Delaware State University on Nov. 2 and 3. Cost is $95 with lunch included.

Some of the featured speakers and presentations at this year’s event will be:

Dr. John Ball is professor of forestry at South Dakota State University, where he also serves as the campus arborist and the extension forestry specialist.  He instructs arboriculture and forestry as well as rock climbing and emergency medical technician training.

  • “What Happens When You Take the Tree Out of the Forest?” focuses on the effects of urban environments on tree species normally found in forest settings.
  • “Mind Your Z’s!” covers the Z133 safety standard that can reduce fatal and non-fatal injuries among tree workers by 80 percent.


Jerry Bond of Urban Forest Analytics LLC is the author of the 2012 book, Urban Tree Health. He has a graduate degree in urban forestry from Cornell University with 20 years experience in the public and private sectors. He has published on modeling, risk assessment, tree health, storm damage, biomechanics and computer applications.

  • “Dieback Dilemma” examines this crown parameter with practical examples for the person in the field.
  • “Tree Load Analysis” discusses this useful method for assessing tree health and risk of tree failure.

Scott Sjolander has spent 30 years in utility arboriculture and been the urban and community forestry educator at Penn State Extension since 1995. He has an M.B.A. from Penn State, is an ISA Board-Certified Master Arborist, and is also a Tree Risk Assessment Qualification instructor.

  • “Avoiding Tree and Utility Conflicts in Arboriculture” discusses utility service needs and space constraints and their influence on the development of tree plans.

Howard Eyre has been at Delaware Valley University since 1991 with responsibilities in landscape techniques and contracting, nursery management, and arbor care. His academic work focuses on the relationship between plant growth rates, environmental pressures, and the soil or media in which plants are grown.

  • “Soil Biology and the Establishment of Trees” shows how understanding soil biology can be the first step in achieving the best success in tree establishment.

Shannon Herbst and Jeff Picher of Rainbow Scientific are industry experts with many years experience in tree health issues, pest and disease diagnosis, and treatment.

  • “Chlorosis” – Causes, symptoms, and diagnosis. How to manage with Verdur®, PGR’s and cultural practices.
  • “Bacterial Leaf Scorch” – The disease, symptoms and diagnosis. Managing with antibiotics, vector control, growth regulators and root enhancement programs.
  • “Field Demonstration” – How to infuse Verdur® through root flare injections to manage chlorosis. Soil injecting Cambistat® on trees with BLS and chlorosis

Click here to download the most up-to-date  2016 Arborist Agenda