Urban Tree Summit

Urban Tree Summit 2021

September 8, 2021 | 8:30 am – 12:00 pm | Registration: mocoparks.org/UTS2021

Montgomery Parks and Casey Trees, Washington D.C., present the tenth annual conference — Urban Tree Summit. Presentations will focus on the health and welfare of trees in our increasingly developed landscapes. Learn from some of the country’s leading experts about innovative efforts to plant, protect and preserve trees in urban and suburban settings.

Graphic for Urban Tree Summit 2021, Sponsored by Montgomery Parks and Casey TreesTrees provide many benefits: they clean and cool our air, stabilize our soils, provide wildlife habitat and beautify our urban and suburban areas. We encourage all arborists, landscape industry, and environmental/green industry professionals, engineers, designers, housing developers, and interested citizens to take advantage of this opportunity to learn new techniques and concepts on what can be done to ensure the survival of trees in our built environment.

New Event Format: We’ve Added Weekly Field Sessions

September 9, September 16, and September 23, 2021 

In lieu of our traditional single-day conference event, we have opted this year for a new format with intentions to promote public safety as well as provide a more impactful experience.

We are kicking off our event with a virtual session to allow anyone far and wide to learn from our speakers. Following the virtual session, each week in September we will be hosting in-person sessions. Each field session will repeat twice at a capacity of 25 attendees for each time slot. The introduction of these repeat sessions allows for both public safety as well as a more personal feel. We hope these smaller sessions will foster engaging conversations, networking opportunities, and a more impactful experience overall.

[Important to Note] Each weekly field session content will be the same at both the 9:30 am and 12:30 pm timeslots, so be sure to choose only a one-time slot for each week. However, we do encourage attending multiple sessions across the month, as the topics will change week to week! All field sessions will be held in person on location.

Graphic of dark green button that reads, Register & Purchase Tickets


We’re excited to announce the agenda for all parts of the Urban Tree Summit we’re hosting this September with Montgomery Parks. Whether you join us in person or online, be sure to take advantage of Early Bird Pricing, which ends on August 13. Stay tuned for the various CEUs offered!

September 8 | Half-day Virtual Session on Zoom | 8:30 am – 12:30 pm | $35 | Register Now

Presented by: Carly Ziter, Assistant Professor in the Biology Department at Concordia University, Montreal; Kevin Smith, Supervisory Plant Pathologist with the US Forest Service; Cecil Konijnendijk, Professor of Urban Forestry at the University of British Columbia

Assessing Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services of Our Urban Forests

Carly Ziter, Assistant Professor in the Biology Department, Concordia University, Montreal

Urban trees provide an incredible range of benefits to our communities. Managing our urban forests for multiple benefits requires an understanding of how these benefits are provided across different land use types, and at multiple scales. This talk will present an overview of recent urban ecology research on ecosystem services of the urban forest, drawing on field studies of temperature regulation in Madison, WI, and community science approaches to mapping urban forest biodiversity and benefits in Montreal, QC.

Healthy Levels of Decay and Disease in Urban Forests

Kevin Smith, Supervisory Plant Pathologist, US Forest Service

Arborists, horticulturists, and land managers are often trained to see macro-fungi (mushrooms in a broad sense) as an indication of disease and risk. Indispensable to healthy wild and rural forests, fungi also participate in urban and community greenspaces. This presentation will introduce the concept that mushrooms and other decay fungi drive the living landscape. Tradeoffs of tree risk and landscape benefit will be explored. Landscape professionals will be encouraged to become more engaged with these interesting and essential partners and occasional adversaries.

Mainstreaming Urban Forestry for Healthier and More Resilient Cities

Cecil Konijnendijk, Professor of Urban Forestry, University of British Columbia

Recent years have seen an increasing interest in urban green infrastructure and nature-based solutions as part of healthy and resilient cities. The climate emergency and the recent global pandemic have accelerated this trend. Urban green is on the agenda of cities – perhaps more than ever. But what is the role of urban forestry and how can we ensure that we stay relevant? Taking a global perspective, this presentation discusses the current use of green space as a way of dealing with major societal challenges. It also shows how urban forestry can play an essential role by engaging with other fields and disciplines, and by providing an important longer-term social-ecological perspective that can operate at different scales. Recent innovations in urban forestry will be highlighted. Finally, specific recommendations will be offered for the further development of urban forestry and urban foresters.


September 9 |  Field Session 1 | Pope Farm, Montgomery Country, Maryland | 9:30-11:30 am or 12:30 – 2:30 pm | $60 | Register Now

Urban Wood Utilization:  Let’s talk shop!  

Partick Harwood, Urban Forester with Montgomery Parks; Shaun McKim, Urban Forester with DDOT, Urban Forestry Division; Shaun Preston, Recycling Coordinator, Urban Forestry, with Camp Small, Baltimore City

Do you want to learn more about how to utilize your urban wood waste? Come learn from municipal urban wood utilization experts from the City of Baltimore, Washington, DC and Montgomery County Parks who are currently turning waste wood into valuable lumber and other wood products.  This session will present the initiatives, challenges and solutions of each agencies’ urban wood utilization program and will help urban foresters, local leaders and professionals gain insight into the management of an urban wood utilization program. This session will include a live sawmill demonstration and interactive question and answer session.


September 16 | Field Session 2 | Arlington, Virginia | 9:30-11:30 am or 12:30 – 2:30 pm | $60 | Register Now

Tree Pit Design Throughout the Decades and Rooftop Tree Plantings

Presented by: Vincent Verweij, Arborist and Urban Forestry Manager with the Department of Parks and Recreation

This interactive field session will cover two fascinating topics in the world of modern Urban Arboriculture: Tree Pit Design and Rooftop Tree Plantings. For the first hour we will dive into tree pits – What designs work and why? Why do some older designs still work today? How is tree pit design changing over time and what new strategies are we moving towards? We will discuss these questions as well as issues of modern conflicts such as increased salt usage, more concrete in cities, and fewer pavers. We will also engage in discussion around how tree pits can assist in stormwater runoff.

In the second hour, we will look to the skies and discuss the modern phenomenon of rooftop tree planting. The emergence of green rooftop plazas with trees allows for expanded habitats in otherwise fairly desolate cityscapes, natural insulation for buildings, stormwater retention, and provides aesthetic benefit for the communities. However, this movement is not without complications. Upkeep and maintenance of the trees, tree weight, installation, waterproofing of roofs, the height of the plazas, and mature tree size are all factors that need to be considered when implementing rooftop green spaces. Come chat with us about this emerging aspect of urban forestry!


September 23 | Field Session 3 | Langdon Park, Washington, DC | 9:30-11:30 am or 12:30 – 2:30 pm | $60 | Register Now

Partnerships in Action: From Advocates to Arboretum

Presented by: Earl Eutsler, Associate Director and State Forester with the Urban Forestry Division and Mark Buscaino, Executive Director of Casey Trees

Come join us for a special Pop-Up Arboretum in the lovely local Langdon Park! UFD Forester Earl Eutseler will guide this group on a tour through notable trees in Langdon Park and learn more about the history of the park, the trees that shade it, and what benefits they provide. We will also discuss Casey Trees’ ever-growing relationship with Langdon Park — exploring themes of community advocacy, partnership, and how and why we chose the trees we did for plantings here. During this walk-and-talk we will also chat about the geographic history of Langdon Park and the stream that once flowed through it; and we will stop by the notable memorials in this park — including the beautiful cherry trees in the 9/11 Memorial Tree Groves Project.


Presenter Bios

Cecil Konijnendijk 

Photo of Cecil KonijnendijkCecil, who co-leads the Nature Based Solutions Institute, has over 25 years of experience studying, teaching, and advising on aspects of urban forestry and nature-based solutions. He is widely considered as one of the world’s leading urban forestry experts, and his work has been featured by leading media outlets such as CNBC and in international documentary films. A Dutch national, he has lived and worked in Europe, Asia, and North America. Since 2016 he has been a professor of urban forestry at the University of British Columbia. Cecil helped found the leading academic journal Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, and edited seminal textbooks such as The Routledge Handbook of Urban Forestry. He is currently Editor-in-chief of Arboriculture and Urban Forestry, the scientific journal of the International Society of Arboriculture. He has published widely. Cecil is passionate about using trees and nature to develop better cities and always stresses the importance of building meaningful relationships between people and places. He has advised international organizations such as FAO, as well as national and local governments in more than 30 countries, and was an invited panelist at the 8th Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe in April 2021. Cecil currently lives in Barcelona with his family. 

 Carly Ziter  

Photo of Carly ZiterCarly Ziter is an assistant professor in the Biology Department of Concordia University, Montreal. She is also affiliated with Concordia’s interdisciplinary research institute for Next Generation Cities. As a landscape and urban ecologist, her research asks how landscape structure, land-use history, and biodiversity impact multiple ecosystem services – the benefits we receive from nature – and their relationships in urban and urbanizing areas. Her research program centers on the ecosystem services concept as a lens through which to ask ecological questions related to sustainability, policy, and practice. Ziter and her students combine field-based studies, sensor and satellite data, community science, and synthesis approaches to understand the ways our urban forests and green spaces contribute to safer, healthier cities. Recent research includes developing approaches to quantify how variation in impervious surface cover and canopy cover interact to affect urban air temperature at fine scales, mapping urban forest biodiversity and ecosystem services across private land uses and linking urban greening with human health. Ziter is also committed to integrating public engagement and science communication into her scientific work and was recently awarded Concordia’s National Research Communicator of the Year.  

Kevin Smith 

Photo of Kevin SmithDr. Kevin T. Smith is a Supervisory Plant Physiologist for the US Forest Service and Affiliate Professor at the University of New Hampshire, Durham. Educated as a plant pathologist and mycologist, for more than forty years Smith has actively researched the growth and defense processes of living trees and the long-term relationships of trees and forests with decay fungi and their associates. He has published more than 150 research and technical articles on topics ranging from cultural archaeology to quantitative wood anatomy to air pollution chemistry. 





Last Updated: February 11, 2022