Mirroring the national trend, nearly 80% of Nebraskans now live in cities and towns across what we used to think of as a rural state.
Urban trees and forests are an essential part of the infrastructure of our cities and towns, cooling and filtering our air, cleaning our water, reducing the need for hard infrastructure, increasing property values, reducing crime, enhancing human health, and just making our communities great places to live. Nebraska’s unique community forests are worth billions and generate hundreds of millions of dollars in benefits every year, it makes sense that these resources be managed and maintained by highly trained urban forestry professionals.
In partnership with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, US Forest Service, the Nebraska Forest Service (NFS) and the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum (NSA), took a huge step in establishing a 4-year undergraduate program in urban and community forestry, serving not only Nebraska but also many western states.
The urban forestry program will utilize existing natural resources and horticulture coursework and will create new courses specific to urban forestry. Internships with the NFS, NSA and in the tree care industry will provide both classroom and on-the-ground learning. Over the coming decades, this new major will train hundreds of urban forestry professionals who will spend their careers improving community forestry health and vitality in communities across Nebraska and the West.