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MS, Natural Resources and Environmental Science, University of Illinois
Lydia’s work focuses on increasing urban forest health in order to improve the quality of life of people who live in urban and suburban landscapes. One of the key areas of Lydia’s work is to ensure that stakeholders have a clear understanding of the value of the urban forest, so that adequate resources - human and monetary - can be allocated. Through a better understanding of the value of the urban forest and increased training opportunities for the skills necessary to care for the forest, public and private land managers, owners, and volunteers can improve this important resource for the future. As Director of the Chicago Region Trees Initiative, she employs a wide-range of methods and works with diverse sectors of the community to achieve these goals. Lydia leads staff and volunteers from The Morton Arboretum, 12 Executive Advisory Council members, and communities across the region, as the Chicago Region Trees Initiative works on topics such as forest composition, stewardship, increased forestry professionalism, and climate change in order to improve the health, diversity, and canopy cover of the regional urban forest.
The CRTI has provided direct education and outreach to more than 150 communities across the 7-county Chicago region. We have trained more than 100 individuals in basic forestry practices and engaged more than 100 individuals in a mentoring network. We have collected the largest urban forestry data set in the country. All of this has been possible with the help of outstanding staff and partners.