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Forest Service employees recognized for long-term contributions to urban forestry

Three men posing with awards
John Parry, Rick Harper and David Bloniarz pose with their awards after a ceremony that took place as part of the International Society of Arboriculture New England Chapter’s annual meeting. Courtesy photo by University of Massachusetts.

NEW HAMPSHIRE – Recently, John Parry, Eastern Region State & Private Forestry urban forester, and David Bloniarz, Northern Research Station biological scientist, each received a President’s Award from the New England Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture. The awards were in recognition of their valuable, long-term contributions to urban forestry.

Massachusetts-based Bloniarz conducts research on urban community forests and landscapes across the Northeast and Midwest. Parry has been working to promote Urban Forest Strike Teams, an initiative to recruit and train arborists and foresters to assess tree damage after natural disasters.

The two professionals work to assist states and other partners in promoting urban forestry in the Eastern Region. Bloniarz is nationally known for his work with i-Tree, software developed by the U.S. Forest Service, Davey Tree Experts and other partners, which can assess the value of urban trees in providing environmental services to communities.

Last year Bloniarz and Parry led an effort to develop the i-Tree Academy, a 5-month online training course. In 2019, the two employees hosted 45 participants across 13 states in an i-Tree Academy from January to May, conducting online scenario-based training that enables students to engage in urban forest management and inventory exercises. The training provides hands-on instruction for using i-Tree in real world settings and was so successful, another iteration is planned for January 2020.

Parry and Bloniarz have great respect for each other. Bloniarz said of Parry following the award ceremony, “If you need something done, just ask John Parry and he’ll get it done. He’s that kind of guy.”

Presentation of the awards took place at the ISA NEC’s annual meeting in October, with over 350 members in attendance. Outgoing President Dr. Richard “Rick’ Harper, a professor of urban forestry at University of Massachusetts, presented the awards.