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Talent Urban Forest Monitoring Framework

Talent, Oregon

Featured image for the project, Talent Urban Forest Monitoring Framework

Image by David Mark from Pixabay

The Talent Urban Forest Monitoring Framework will define metrics that ensure the preservation of a resilient and healthy canopy,  as well as monitor impacts and benefits of the urban tree canopy on water and air quality, climate conditions and energy reduction, and overall health of the environment, people, and local economy. Replanting and monitoring efforts, deployed by citizen groups, will focus on wildfire impacted areas, equitable environments for underserved populations, filling the gaps in the remaining tree canopy, and community education.


About the Community

Located in southwestern Oregon, the small rural city of Talent was affected by the Almeda fire in 2020 where a third of the city and its trees were devastated by this fast-moving wildfire. In response, the Talent Urban Forestry Committee (TUF) is leading a city-wide Urban Forestry Master Planning process to address how to restore, enhance, and preserve Talent’s urban tree canopy in an equitable approach that focuses on community-wide benefits and underserved populations. To better understand the suitability of the planted and existing trees and whether their selection and management strategies are appropriate, Talent would like to develop an urban forest monitoring framework that can be conducted with assistance from volunteers and is designed in a meaningful way to streamline data input and future analysis. Talent has reached out to the Thriving Earth Community to identify a scientist who is interested in assisting the TUF committee with the design and initial implementation of the urban forest monitoring framework.

The TUF committee was formally established by the city in 2020. The committee is composed of five members of the community, a staff member, and a City Council liaison. Since 2020, they have initiated outreach focusing on tree stewardship and hosted tree planting events for community members, planting 100’s of trees. They have been conducting an inventory of standard tree measurements, are developing a tree enhancement and protection plan for Talent, strategically identifying goals and objectives to focus planting efforts, and have been pursuing funding to support their tree establishment goals.


About the Project

Talent Urban Forest Committee (TUFC) and the City of Talent would like to work with a scientist to create an urban forest monitoring framework to direct current committee members, the city, and future generations to ensure the success of a healthy and resilient forest canopy. The TUFC seeks to engage the larger community to inform them on best practices for tree planting, preservation, and reporting of tree health, alongside city, county, and state agencies to develop a holistic approach to urban forestry.

The project team will work with the scientist to define metrics for a healthy urban forest to create a resilient community. As well as set metrics to monitor benefits and impacts of the urban tree canopy on water and air quality, climate conditions and energy reduction, and healthy environments, people, and local economy to achieve the urban forest vision and goals. Citizen scientist groups will be deployed to collect data, and a framework will be developed to allow for data input and analysis that will inform future decision making.

The monitoring framework is intended to serve as a model and be shared amongst local community members, neighboring jurisdictions, and different organizations for best practices, education,  and associated benefits of increasing and maintaining an urban forest canopy to create healthy and resilient communities.

Project Team

Community Leads

Planning Team:

  • Mike Oxendine: City of Talent Urban Forester
  • Nancy Turyk: Climate Resilience Specialist
  • Em Wing
  • Julie Spellitich

Talent Urban Forest Committee (Group Photo):

  • Em Wing
  • Julie Spellitich
  • Jane Hardgrove
  • Daniel Collay
  • Derek Volkart
  • Jason Clark

Community Scientist

  • Geoffrey Donovan, Research Forester, US Forest Service

Community Science Fellow

  • Brianna Truden: Landscape Architect- National Park Service- Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance (NPS-RTCA)

Scientist Wanted

A scientist will help the Talent Urban Forest Committee and City of Talent develop an urban forest health and resilience monitoring plan to be carried out by city staff and volunteers.

  • Work with the project team to identify metrics to monitor for canopy health and resiliency. Help define metrics to monitor that highlight the benefits of an urban forest canopy including air and water quality, climate conditions and energy reduction, healthy environments, people, and local economies.
  • Develop a system in which TUFC and citizen science groups can be deployed to collect data and input information into a data management system. Collected data will help track changes over-time and will be analyzed to inform future decision making and public education.
  • Create an audience-appropriate user guide that identifies the steps and protocols for monitoring, data collection, management, and analysis. Deliverables could be written and/or videos and preferably bi-lingual.
  • Train the trainers. Teach the TUF Committee and associated partners on data collection and management techniques.
  • Define a framework to track changes over time.



Desired Skills and Qualifications (bulleted list):

  • Scientist with knowledge and experience in urban forest management, urban fires, and climate resilience.
  • Experience developing monitoring strategies.
  • Experience with citizen science.
  • Experience and/or desire to participate in community education, outreach, and engagement.
  • Knowledge and respect for indigenous cultures and worldviews.
  • Strong listening and collaboration skills.
  • Willingness to connect science to local concerns.
  • Ability to conduct audience appropriate in-person training in Talent.
  • Ability to carry out this project within the desired time frame.


Preferred skills

  • Bilingual (Spanish)


Thriving Earth Exchange asks all scientific partners to work with the community to help define a project with concrete local impact to which they can contribute as pro-bono volunteers and collaborators. This work can also position the scientists and communities to seek additional funding, together, for the next stage.

Interested in volunteering as a scientist? Apply now!