Australia’s first dedicated urban forestry course launches in Melbourne

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The Australian School of Urban Forest's inaugural course runs from 11 to 16 November.

The Australian School of Urban Forest’s inaugural course runs from 11 to 16 November. Image: Nathaniel Watson, Unsplash

The City of Melbourne has partnered with the University of Melbourne to launch what it is calling Australia’s first “urban forestry school,” an intensive course focusing on urban forestry policy, planning and management.

Running for six consecutive days from 11 to 16 November, the Australian School of Urban Forestry’s inaugural course will feature skills-based workshops led by local and national researchers, industry practitioners, managers and policy experts.

It will also examine case studies and include field visits in which participants will be introduced to real-world urban forest challenges.

In announcing the new school, deputy mayor Arron Wood said it would help explore the role of urban forests in the face of increasing environmental, societal and population pressures.

“After a decade of drought and extreme heat many of our trees are in accelerated decline and we face the challenge of climate future proofing our urban canopy,” he said.

“Our dedicated Urban Forest and Ecology teams have become world leading in research, mapping and recording every tree in our municipality, developing biodiverse planting programs and building a resilient urban forest that can tolerate and continue to thrive in future climatic extremes.”

“We are excited to partner with the University of Melbourne in sharing this expertise to expand the network of urban forest experts working in government, industry and the community.”

Facilitated by the University of Melbourne’s School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences, the course is aimed at professionals in the urban greenspace industry, as well as those involved in community advocacy, environmental health, and policy management.

City of Melbourne “urban forester” Kelly Hertzog said it was important to get people from different backgrounds involved.

“What urban forestry really needs to go to the next level in our cities, is advocates beyond the standard places,” she said. “So people who are interested in delivering better greening outcomes in their own workplace on their own business, in their own property.”

University of Melbourne associate professor Stephen Livesley said the school would offer deeper engagement with the issues than a conference or workshop could.

The urban forest is a complex and dynamic system, supported by many decision-makers, stakeholders and communities that sometimes have opposing views,” Associate Professor Stephen Livesley said.

“There has never been a more critical time to come together and share professional and academic knowledge across urban forestry experts within government, industry, and community.”

The fee for the six-day course is $3,500. For further information, head here.

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