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Photo Blog: Urban Forest Strike Team Mock Disaster Training

Southern Group of State Foresters
Urban Forest Strike Team Mock Disaster Training

Urban and community forestry professionals from across the Southeast converged in Arkansas this week for a unique mock-disaster training event. The training, hosted by the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Division of Forestry and the Southern Group of State Foresters, qualified participants to deploy in Urban Forest Strike Teams (UFSTs) following natural disasters nationwide.

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The Urban Forest Strike Team trainee group was comprised of forestry professionals from 11 southern states.
Participants received important classroom instruction about evaluating tree canopy damage and viability after a natural disaster
Participants benefitted from a mix of classroom and field training ahead of a mock disaster simulation
Thank you to the community of Trumann, Arkansas for welcoming us and allowing our trainees to conduct a real-world exercise in their neighborhoods.
Urban Forest Strike Teams are comprised of International Society of Arboriculture Certified Arborists who respond to areas where community trees have been impacted by a natural disaster.
Trainees assessed damaged and downed trees in Trumann, where residents continue to recover from tornadoes which devastated the area last winter.
Strike team crews provide tree damage and risk evaluations, as well as resources for obtaining federal assistance.
Following severe weather events, in coordination with a community, strike teams assess trees on public property for structure and root damage, lost foliage and broken branches.

Once completed, the assessment will indicate how many trees on public property were damaged in the storm, how many of those will require care or need to be removed, and which trees are safe to remain with managed care.

When strike teams are out in communities, they can often attract attention from news media. This provides an opportunity to develop community awareness about the importance of preparing the urban tree canopy for storm events and natural disasters.
Wrapping up the mock disaster field day, our trainees strike the quintessential “forester pointing up at trees” pose!