In a follow-up to our recent Hefko Trees article, we talked to Marshfield City Forester Mark Ryskiewicz about what those trees and the city’s affiliation with Wisconsin Urban Wood has meant for Marshfield.
OnFocus: How did you go about getting someone to take the wood from the pool project?
Mark Ryskiewicz: Knowing the pool project was in the near future and visually seeing what trees were required to be removed, Wisconsin Urban Wood immediately came to mind. As the project was developing, I received a call from a local gentleman, Mike Hansen who was featured in the original Hefko Trees article, inquiring about wood and a desire to give back to the community. Hansen was very passionate about his endeavor and after talking to him about Wisconsin Urban Wood, we both decided to become members. By being members of the organization, it holds accountability for how the wood will be used, ultimately meeting our goals of seeing it recycled and put back into the community.
OF: What is the city’s affiliation with Wisconsin Urban Wood?
MR: The City of Marshfield has a professional affiliation with Wisconsin Urban Wood. We are looking for avenues to utilize, recycle, and reduce our wood waste. Wisconsin Urban Wood is a networking organization that helps connect us and our source of urban wood to user groups such as millers, sawyers, and wood workers.
OF: When did the relationship between the city and Wisconsin Urban Wood start?
MR: The City of Marshfield became a member of Wisconsin Urban Wood in March of 2020. The relationship is in its early stages and we are still learning how to exploit all the benefits from this organization.
OF: What’s the benefit of being a part of Wisconsin Urban Wood?
MR: Wisconsin Urban Wood serves as a resource and tool for connecting us to wood users. It also offers guidance and sets standards for how the wood can be used. We see it as a step in the right direction for our trees and attaining all the benefits possible from them.
OF: What would ideally happen to the wood from the pool project?
MR: Ideally, we would love to see the wood turned into finished products such as cabinets, flooring, paneling, tables, benches, etc. We would like to see some of that wood incorporated into future city projects. A few projects that have already incorporated recycled wood from our tree removals include paneling at the Wildwood Zoo Welcome Center, our tree gravel beds, and a conference table.
OF: Why do you think these trees benefit Marshfield citizens?
MR: Trees are important and play a vital role in a community. They add value by cleaning our air, reduce water runoff, aid in heating and cooling costs, and create aesthetics. The trees removed from Hefko pool aided in all of those aspects. Now hopefully they will serve another purpose by helping construct a building or create a place for someone to sit in a park. I think Marshfield citizens can appreciate our vision for furthering the use of these trees.
OF: What is the next step for these trees or any trees that the city has to take down?
MR: I think the next step is trying to build more relationships with more wood users. We can supply the logs but don’t have the means of milling them up and turning them into finished products. Establishing these relationships will open up more opportunities and ideas of how we can use the wood from our tree removals.
OF: Are there any projects coming down the line that would give you more opportunities to utilize Wisconsin Urban Wood?
MR: It’s all about collaboration and communication. Working together and thinking ahead on what future projects we can incorporate urban wood into. As for now we do not have any projects in mind however we are always keeping our eyes and ears open for future urban wood utilization.
OF: Are there any other comments you would like to make about Wisconsin Urban Wood?
MR: By being a member of Wisconsin Urban Wood, it allows us to choose who can take the wood. They are accountable for following the standards and values set by the organization. We do not make any money off trees that are selected for Wisconsin Urban Wood, we just want to see as much of the wood we remove be recycled. Also, we are not removing trees specifically for Wisconsin Urban Wood. All trees that are removed in the city are because of safety concerns or project conflicts.
If you are interested in the wood that the city or Mike Hansen has, Ryskiewicz says you should become a member of Wisconsin Urban Wood so that the wood can be properly distributed. Check out http://wisconsinurbanwood.org/ to learn more about how to become a member.