Our Mission

The Connecticut Urban Forest Council, Inc. is a statewide organization composed of representatives from Connecticut environmental organizations, state agencies, universities, research institutions, corporations, professional communities and citizen tree groups. Its purpose is to provide advice, assistance, education, information and support to urban and community forestry professionals, associated professionals, municipal, state and corporate leaders, and volunteers.

The Council Seeks To:

  • Increase the number and quality of urban and community forestry programs in Connecticut towns and cities.
  • Inform community decisions makers, legislators, and the public about the essential benefits derived from urban and community forestry.
  • Provide continuing education and make educational resources available to arborists, tree wardens, foresters, community tree volunteers, public work employees and
  • others practicing urban and community forestry in Connecticut.
  • Develop policies designed to promote progressive and appropriate urban and community forestry programs and practices throughout the state.

To this end, the Council will serve to coordinate and direct urban and community forestry efforts in Connecticut.

Council Members

Heather Dionne, CT Forester, City of Hartford

The City of Hartford
50 Jennings Road, Hartford, CT 06120
860-757-0683 or 860-372-2674

Heather Dionne is the City Forester for the City of Hartford, Connecticut.  Over the past six years, 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.

Drew Goldsman, AICP, Urban Conservation Program Manager, The Nature Conservancy
Vice Chair

The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut
55 Church Street, Floor 3
New Haven, CT 06510-3029

Phone: (203) 568-6273
Fax: (203) 568-6271

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.

Emma Kravet, Education Director, CT Forest and Park Association

Connecticut Forest & Park Association (CFPA)
16 Meriden Road
Rockfall, CT 06481-2372
(860) 346-TREE

Emma comes to CFPA from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, where she managed the Sustaining Family Forests Initiative – a national program aimed at training natural resource professionals in more strategic and effective landowner outreach. She has previously worked in food and agricultural policy, youth development, and farm-based education. Emma also holds a dual M.A./M.S. degree in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning and Agriculture, Food and Environment from Tufts University.

Emma’s passion for experiential education has led her all over the east and west coasts, Central America, and Nova Scotia. She lives in New Haven where she can be found exploring East Rock Park and samba dancing.

Katherine Beechem, Greenskill Manager, the Urban Resources Initiative

Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies
Urban Resources Initiative
195 Prospect Street
New Haven, CT 06511
(203) 432-6189

Katie received her B.A. in Biology from Goucher College and her M.F. in Forestry from the Yale School Forestry & Environmental Studies.  Prior to studying at Yale, Katie worked with the Baltimore County Forest Sustainability Program, where she led the effort to plant 1,000 shade trees around public facilities and contributed to the reforestation of hundreds of acres of abandoned agricultural land.  She has also worked as a graduate teaching fellow at Yale F&ES, a research assistant at the Global Institute of Sustainable Forestry, an environmental educator at the National Aquarium, and as an Ultimate Frisbee coach.

Ron Pitz

Ron Pitz

Ron Pitz, Executive Director, Knox Inc.

Knox Inc.
75 Laurel Street
Hartford, CT 06106
Phone: 860-951-769
Web: www.knoxhartford.org
Email: ronp@knoxhartford.org

Ron is the Executive Director of Knox, Inc, a community strengthening, green non profit organization in Hartford. In that role he coordinates a staff of 30 operating 22 community gardens, a 15 member AmeriCorps Green Workforce Development program and Trees for Hartford Neighborhoods, a community strengthening program that, with community involvement plants 1,000+ trees in Hartford every year.
Bruce Lindsay

Bruce Lindsay

Bruce Lindsay, Town of Westport

Tree Warden
Town of Westport
phone: 203-627-3150
email: bruceflindsay@msn.com

Adriana Arango

Adriana Arango

Adriana Arango-Velez, Assistant Scientist, CT Agricultural Experiment Station

Department of Forestry and Horticulture
The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station
PO Box 1106. 123 Huntington Street
New Haven, CT 06504-1106
Phone: 203-974-8491
email: Adriana.ArangoVelez@ct.gov

Adriana received her Ph.D. and Postdoc at the University of Alberta in Edmonton (Canada).  She now is the lead in the Plant Physiology lab within the Department of Forestry and Horticulture at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. Her research focuses on the adaptive traits of trees that relate to a changing climate.  Specifically she studies physiological thresholds of tree responses to water stress, salt toxicity, and insect attack in urban and forest settings.

Katherine (Katie) Blake, Bird-Friendly Communities Manager
Audubon Connecticut

613 Riversville Rd.
Greenwich, CT 06831


Katherine (Katie) Blake is the Bird-friendly Communities Manager for Audubon Connecticut. She manages Audubon’s Urban Oases, Schoolyard Habitat and Plants for Birds Programs. She works with numerous and diverse partners in creating bird friendly communities in Connecticut schools, parks and yards.  She coordinates partnership meetings and collaborative projects in New Haven as a partner lead for the New Haven Harbor Watershed Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership. Prior to joining Audubon, Katie was the Coordinator for the MassConn Sustainable Forest Partnership. Here she conducted forest landowner outreach and managed forest protection initiatives.  Katie has extensive field experience studying Terns of coastal Massachusetts to researching Swallows in Central and South America. Katie has a Master’s in Conservation Biology from Antioch University New England and a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Mount Holyoke College.

Rachel Holmes, Conservation Education Specialist, The Nature Conservancy

The Nature Conservancy
Phone: 973-420-8954
email: rvholmes1031@gmail.com

Bruce Villwock, Landscape Designer, CT Department of Transportation

Connecticut Department of Transportation
2800 Berlin Turnpike
Newington, CT 06131
Phone: 860-594-2612
email: r.bruce.villwock@ct.gov

Jeffrey S. Ward

Jeffrey S. Ward

Jeffrey S. Ward, Chief Scientist

Department of Forestry & Horticulture
The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station
PO Box 1106, 123 Huntington Street
New Haven, CT  06504-1106
Phone: 203.974.8495
Cell: 203.671.4848
Email: jeffrey.ward@ct.gov


Jeffrey S. Ward is Chief Scientist-Department of Forestry and Horticulture at The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. His research has focused on the dynamics of long-term herbaceous and tree populations, invasive species control, and forest management.


Chris Donnelly

Chris Donnelly, Urban Forestry Coordinator

Division of Forestry, CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection

phone:  860-424-3178
email:  chris.donnelly@ct.gov
website:  www.ct.gov/deep/urbanforestry

Chris Donnelly is the Urban Forestry Coordinator in the Division of Forestry, CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.  In that role, he has the good fortune to work with a broad cross-section of people involved with trees and urban forestry in the state of Connecticut.  The urban forestry program at DEEP runs a small grant program, with the funding courtesy of the US Forest Service.  DEEP Forestry also recommends communities as Tree City USA’s and has an advisory role on a range of urban forestry related issues.

Joe R

Joe Ryzewski

Joe Ryzewski, Board Member, Yale – Urban Resources Initiative

New Haven, CT


Joe has been a past Chair of the Council,  led the development the Council’s Strategic Plans and supported other events. Currently he fills a volunteer position on the Council and is also on the Board of Directors for Yale – Urban Resource Initiative (URI).

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