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Grand Rapids workshop focuses on finding value in urban waste wood

Arborists, municipal tree care workers and forestry professionals are invited to participate in a workshop showcasing the use of urban wood for green building materials, lumber, sustainable energy and other value-added products.

Participants will learn about better uses for removed trees, how to recognize and capture value in sawlogs from routine tree removals, and how communities across the country are incorporating these cost-saving practices in their tree maintenance programs.

Sponsored by Spalted Banjo Consulting, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Sustainable Resources Alliance (formerly the Southeast Michigan RC&D Council), the workshop is set for:

Thursday, July 20
9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Blandford School, 3143 Milo St., Grand Rapids
To register, visit The cost is $35 and includes a full lunch. Participants are asked to register by July 17. Check-in begins at 8:30 a.m. the day of the seminar.

“We’d like to encourage municipalities and tree care companies to explore options for capturing some value from wood material generated through routine tree care operations,” said Kevin Sayers, DNR urban forestry program manager. “Diverting the most usable logs from the waste stream can help reduce disposal costs and give community trees a ‘second life’ in the form of furniture, lumber, paneling and a variety of other uses.”

Much of the wood volume removed annually from the urban forest currently ends up in landfills or as mulch, Sayers said. Using the wood in other ways is not only more efficient, it also saves municipalities the cost of disposal fees.

“Trees in the urban forest provide multiple values,” said David Neumann, DNR forest utilization and marketing specialist. “Urban trees are beautiful and provide shade, habitat for wildlife, clean the air and filter water, and help save energy by shading buildings. However, trees may need to be removed for a variety of reasons including storm or insect damage, and when that happens they can have great potential for use as ‘green’ building materials.”

Neumann also said that many of the tree species growing in Michigan cities and road rights of way can produce high-quality hardwood lumber, with interesting character or grain patterns sought after in furniture manufacturing.

For more information about the workshop, contact Margaret Miller, Spalted Banjo Consulting, at or 269-921-0592.

The DNR is committed to the sustainable management of forest resources, and supports this workshop series as part of an effort to promote the use of wood in construction and other forest product industries. To find wood product manufacturers located in Michigan, visit the free Forest Products Industry Directory maintained by the DNR at For more information on the DNR’s urban and community forestry programs, visit

Partial funding for this event is from the Bringing Urban Forestry Full Circle grant project, which is supported by the USDA Forest Service Northeastern Area, State and Private Forestry Landscape Scale Restoration Grant Program. The U.S. Department of Agriculture prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities and is an equal opportunity provider and employer.