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Grants to “tree-vitalize” Alaska schools offered by state forestry

“Tree-vitalize” your school with a grant from the Alaska Division of Forestry.

The Division's Community Forestry Program has grants for up to $10,000 for qualifying organizations to purchase trees, supplies, and materials for tree planting as schoolwide or classroom projects. The funding for the grants comes from the U.S. Forest Service.

“This is a great way for schools and other organizations to help beautify school campuses around the state,” said Jim Renkert, Community Forestry Program Manager for the Division of Forestry. “It also provides a chance to teach students the importance of trees.”

School, soil and water conservation districts, park foundations or other local non-profit organizations are encouraged to apply and sponsor fall, spring or summer tree planting events on school grounds or on nearby non-federal public lands.

Projects should raise awareness about the benefits of trees and the many ecosystem services that they provide. Proposals should demonstrate proper tree planting and care techniques.

The deadline to apply is March 4, 2022. For applications and instructions on how to apply, go to the Division of Forestry's Community Forestry Program website at http://forestry.alaska.gov/community/grants. Schools are encouraged to involve students in the grant application and planning process.

CONTACT: Josh Hightower, (907) 269-8466, josh.hightower@alaska.gov or Jim Renkert, (907) 269-8465, jim.renkert@alaska.gov

Governor Dunleavy proposes name change for Division of Forestry to include Fire Protection

Governor Mike Dunleavy has introduced an Executive Order that would change the name of the Alaska Division of Forestry to the Alaska Division of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Division Director Helge Eng states, “The Division's current name no longer represents the full range of its responsibilities and priorities.” The proposed name change “clearly reflects the public safety fire suppression responsibilities of the Division, as well as its forestry duties,” he said.

Barring opposition from the Alaska Legislature, the name change will take effect July 1, 2022. The Executive Order was read across the legislative floor on the opening day of the 2022 legislative session in Juneau on Tuesday.

Alaska and the nation now face more intense and longer fire seasons due to increasingly hot and dry summers and forest insect and disease outbreaks. In addition, Alaskans have increasingly chosen to live in high-fire-risk, wildland-urban interface areas. An estimated 80% of Alaska's population live in areas considered high risk for wildland fire.

The proposed name change also aligns with Governor Dunleavy's intent to strengthen Alaska's public safety sector, including fire organizations. The Division of Forestry is currently registered as a fire department under the State Fire Marshal's Office and holds a seat in the Alaska State Fire Chiefs Association.

“Given the demands placed on our firefighters as a result of longer, more intense fire seasons, both in Alaska and the Lower 48, this name change is welcome,” the Division's Wildland Fire & Aviation Chief, Norm McDonald, said. “Our firefighters take great pride in the work they do protecting their fellow Alaskans.”

The Division's wildfire protection program has grown exponentially. Today, more than 90 percent of the Division's budget is spent on protecting the life and property of Alaskans from wildfire.
“Protecting Alaskans from increased wildfire danger is now an equally important aspect of the Division's duties and this Executive Order for the name change helps reflect that,” Governor Dunleavy said. “Our firefighters deserve to be recognized for the job they do protecting the lives and property of Alaskans from wildfire and adding Fire Protection to the agency name helps accomplish that.”
If approved, the name change will help the Division achieve multiple objectives, including:

  • Communicating the Division's important role in protecting the lives and property of Alaskans from wildfire.
  • Improving the division's ability to recruit and retain skilled professional firefighters.
  • Helping the Division obtain federal grants to assist in hazard fuels reduction, training and developing fire crews, and acquiring firefighting gear and equipment.

The name change will have no costs associated with it. Existing physical equipment and supplies will be used until they wear out, and new equipment and supplies will bear the new name of the Division when obtained, Eng said.

CONTACT: DOF public information officer Tim Mowry, (907) 590-4038 or tim.mowry@alaska.gov

Spruce Beetle Website Launched

The Spruce Beetle Working Group has recently launched a website with information on spruce beetle in Alaska's trees and forests. It is designed to be used by anyone who is interested in spruce beetles, has questions about spruce beetles, or has spruce beetle issues in their trees.

This website is a collaborative effort among the US Forest Service, the Department of Natural Resources - Division of Forestry, and the UAF-Cooperative Extension Service.

Tanana Valley State Forest Citizens’ Advisory Committee to meet on Thursday, April 14.

The public is invited to attend the upcoming Tanana Valley State Forest Citizens’ Advisory Committee meeting, at 6pm on Thursday, April 14th. It will be held in the Large Conference Room of the DNR building in Fairbanks, at 3700 Airport way, and will also be teleconferenced via Zoom:
https://us06web.zoom.us/j/87221386737?pwd=c3RGeWQxeSs1UDVoNEVaYkQ5TlRLUT09
Dial-in: 1 253 215 8782
Meeting ID: 872 2138 6737, Passcode: 044053

This committee advises the Division on plans and proposals for managing the 1.8 million acre Tanana Valley State Forest, along with other forested state-owned lands within the Tanana Valley. Public testimony will be accepted around 8:45pm during the meeting.

Topics for the CAC meeting include:

  • Update on CAC participation in a NASA-funded research project: ‘Investigating Changes in Forests Across Alaska and Canada’
  • TVSF Management Plan Revision Update
  • Rosie Creek Recreation & Forestry Partnership
  • Northern Region Five-Year Schedule of Timber Sales
  • Fairbanks/Delta Area Update
  • Tok Area Update
  • Statewide Forestry update

Please see the attached agenda for more details.

For special accommodations due to audio or visual impairment, please contact Alison Arians by email or phone (alison.arians@alaska.gov, or 907-748-3712) before April 13th.
For additional information about the TVSF CAC, visit the committee’s webpage at http://forestry.alaska.gov/tvsf_committee.htm.

Forestry Social Media Sites

DOF now has Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube pages:

Individual links to Youtube content: