Urban Forestry: Healthy Trees for Healthy Communities

Planting Trees is Good for People
On Friday, October 7th, I attended a meeting in Wonewoc, Wisconsin to discuss urban forestry.  The motley crew of varied backgrounds that assembled for this discussion included a village administrator, an undertaker, a forester, and a casket maker (that's me).  After short introductions the ensuing conversation reinforced that each participant shares a core value:  that planting trees is good for people.

At the Northwoods Casket Company we value trees for the environmental, communal, economic, and social benefits they provide.  This is why we've made a commitment to plant 100 trees for every casket we build.  This commitment is written into our business plan, and it is permanent--this is not a temporary gimmick for publicity.

Urban Forestry for Healthy Trees
The Northwoods Casket Co has partnered with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to aid in tree-planting initiatives throughout the state like the Urban Forestry Initiative.  Next spring the Northwoods Casket Company will pay $1000 each for three communities to plant trees during their arbor day celebrations.  These communities will coordinate with the DNR Urban Forestry program to identify the best trees to plant as well as where, how, and when to plant them so they can provide the maximum benefit to the community.  For some communities, like Wonewoc, this will be a jumpstart to becoming a Tree City USA.

Healthy Community
A good partnership is one where all parties benefit; and so is the case in this partnership between village administrator, undertaker, forester, and casket maker.  The village administrator receives a $1000 tree-planting grant and forestry education.  The undertaker organizes local volunteers and generates goodwill for his business.  The forester reaches a new community with education to plant trees the right way and in the right places.  And the casket maker generates goodwill for the Northwoods Casket Company.  Everyone benefits.

The Motley Crew
The village administrator: Lee C. Kucher, Village of Wonewoc, Wisconsin
The undertaker: Steve Mitchell, Thompson Funeral Service, Wonewoc, WI
The forester:  Don Kissinger, Urban & Community Forestry Coordinator, WI-DNR
The casket maker: Jonas A. Zahn, President, Northwoods Casket Company, Beaver Dam, WI