City of Hartford - Forester 50 Jennings Rd, Hartford, CT 06120 860-757-0683 or 860-372-2674 [email protected]
Heather Dionne is the City Forester for the City of Hartford, Connecticut. Since 2012, she has been managing an urban forest that includes 434 shoulder road miles and almost 3,000 acres of greenspace and forestland. Educating the public on the importance of trees, climate change and proper arboricultural practices are her focus. She has worked hard to encourage decision makers to see trees as a necessity and not just a luxury, especially regarding budgeting and planning. Seeing first-hand the social injustices in a city relating to tree canopy gives her a vantage from which she can bring stake-holders together to come up with solutions.
Heather studied Urban and Community Forestry at Unity College in Maine, is a licensed arborist in Connecticut and with the International Society of Arboriculture, and recently acquired her certification as a supervising forest products harvester in CT.
Chris retired as the Urban Forestry Coordinator with CT DEEP after two decades in 2020. In this position, he had to good fortune to work with a variety of people throughout the State of Connecticut on a wide range of projects. This included tree planting projects, educational programs, outreach efforts, and much, much more. These experiences have helped foster a deep appreciation of both people and trees, as well as how they are connected together. It is because of these experiences that Chris wishes to keep his involvement with urban forestry and urban trees.
Department of Forestry and Horticulture The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station - Assistant Agricultural Scientist PO Box 1106, 123 Huntington Street New Haven, CT 06504-1106 Phone: 203-974-8491 Cell: 541.224.3137 Email: [email protected]
Dr. Susanna Keriö joined the CUFC in 2021, and has worked at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) since 2020. Through her research at CAES and her role in the CUFC, she aims to support the work of urban and community forestry professionals in maintaining a healthy urban forest canopy in New England. Dr. Keriö’s current research at the CAES focuses on developing innovative management strategies to reduce urban tree stress and to support tree health in urban environments under the changing climate. She received her Ph.D. at the University of Helsinki, followed by postdoctoral research at Oregon State University. Her research interests include factors affecting tree stress resistance, tree stress detection based on molecular cues, and tree stress management. Additionally, Dr. Keriö works on clonal tree propagation and tissue culture, to support tree germ plasm conservation and tree cultivar development.
Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Division of Forestry – Urban Forestry Coordinator 79 Elm Street Hartford, CT 06106-5127 Phone: 860.500.0152 Email: [email protected]
Danica Doroski received her Ph.D. and M.S. from the Yale School of the Environment. She is now the State Urban Forestry Coordinator at Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. Prior to moving to Connecticut, Danica worked in New York City for the New York Restoration Project and the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation and in Philadelphia at the Morris Arboretum.
Ron Pitz is the retired executive director of Knox, Inc. A non profit organization that uses horticulture and agriculture to strengthen and feed urban communities. During his 25 years working with Knox he fully realized the importance of preserving existing and planting new trees in urban areas. Under his leadership thousands of trees were planted in Hartford by Knox and volunteers. He continues his work organizing tree planting events in Bloomfield with the Wintonbury Land Trust and Trees for Bloomfield. He also is a DEEP certified Master Wildlife Conservationist and a UConn certified Master Gardener.
Eric Hammerling has been the Executive Director at the Connecticut Forest & Park Association (CFPA) since 2008. He has a M.S. in Environmental Science/Rangeland Management from U.C. Berkeley, and a B.A. in History from the University of Michigan. Eric directs CFPA’s policy programs, is an active testifier on forest, park, and trail-related legislation at the state Capitol, and has chaired several policy efforts including the Forests Subgroup of the Governor’s Council on Climate Change, the State Vegetation Management Task Force, and the Policy on Resilient Forests for Connecticut’s Future (PRFCT Future) working group.
Connecticut Department of Transportation - Landscape Designer 2800 Berlin Turnpike Newington, CT 06131 Phone: 860-594-2612 Email:[email protected]
Agricultural Scientist Valley Laboratory Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station 153 Cook Hill Road Windsor, CT 06095 Phone: 860-208-3517 Email: [email protected]
Dr. Rich Cowles joined the CUFC in 2018. He has worked at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station since 1994. His research has included conservation of eastern hemlocks and ash trees by protecting them with systemic insecticides until biological control becomes established. Although trained as an entomologist (with degrees from Cornell and Michigan State Universities), he also has been investigating various plant diseases, including boxwood blight and beech leaf disease, and phytophthora root rot in Christmas tree plantations. Dr. Cowles has been working since 2010 on genetic improvement of fir trees for growing on Christmas tree farms, and with his wife operates a small farm in Broad Brook, CT.
Herbert “Herb” Virgo is the Founder and Executive Director of the Keney Park Sustainability Project (KPSP) in the City of Hartford. Herb is certified as a Tree Warden and as a CT Forest Practitioner who works closely with the Public Works Department of Hartford. Herb has managed the restoration of 15 miles of trails in Keney Park and has been instrumental in creating the Keney Park Wood Materials Management Site and Tree Nursery. Herb has seventeen years of experience as a counselor, teacher, and wilderness educator in Florida and in Connecticut. Herb’s commitment to Keney Park shined a light on an invaluable Urban Forestry resource.
Robert Fahey, Ph.D.
George F. Cloutier Professor in Forestry and Director of the UConn Forest Assistant Professor – Department of Natural Resources and the Environment & Center for Environmental Sciences and Engineering Associate Director – Eversource Energy Center University of Connecticut Office: 225 WB Young Building, 1376 Storrs Rd., Storrs, CT 06269 Email: [email protected] Phone: (860) 486-0148 Website: faheylab.weebly.com
Robert Fahey’s primary area of research is Forest Ecology, but his (Bob's) work also includes Urban Ecology, Landscape Ecology, Remote Sensing, and Silviculture. He received his BS in Natural Resources from Cornell University, MS in Forest Science from Oregon State University, and PhD in Forest Ecology and Management from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He previously worked as a Research Scientist at The Morton Arboretum outside of Chicago and continues as a Research Fellow in the Center for Tree Science there. Current research is focused on understanding canopy structure-function relationships in forests, particularly in relation to disturbance resilience. He works across the spectrum of anthropogenic impacts in forests from urban to rural, and is particularly interested in adapting ecological and silvicultural knowledge to human-dominated landscapes.
Jillian Bell (she, her, hers) is Audubon Connecticut’s Bird Friendly Communities (BFC) Program Associate. She works with community groups and a suite of program partners to restore native habitat, connect people with nature, and inspire stewardship behaviors in the next-generation of environmental leaders.
Jillian’s ongoing work has supported over 45 schools and community groups in Connecticut and New York in their efforts to green their schoolyards and park spaces by creating native plant habitats on school grounds and restoring native habitats. She does this in part by delivering professional development workshops to teaching staff in order to support them in taking their students outside and in integrating their curriculum with the natural world right outside their doors.
The Nature Conservancy in CT - Urban Conservation Program Manager 55 Church St, Floor 3 New Haven, CT 06510-3029 Phone: (203) 568-6273 Fax: (203) 568-6271 Email: [email protected]
Drew Goldsman is the Urban Conservation Program Manager for The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut. The Urban Conservation Program provides support to cities across Connecticut, currently with a focus on Bridgeport, embracing natural solutions as an integral way of equitably fostering vibrant and healthy communities. Current initiatives range from supporting a resilient coastline to on-the-ground community engagement. The work includes investments in the urban forest and in green stormwater infrastructure. Drew has a strong background in urban environmental and social justice causes. With past positions focusing on transportation equity and affordable housing policy, Drew believes the built and natural environments are deeply tied and must equitably benefit all residents. Drew holds a Master of Urban Planning from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and a Bachelor of Arts from Hampshire College.