May 17, 2023

May 2023 Newsletter

The Urban Wood Network's mission is to inform, collaborate and connect to build community, business, and consumer confidence in the urban wood industry.

Message from the UWN Board of Directors

Happy Spring Urban Wood Network Members! 


Our Urban Wood Network (UWN) leadership team is excited to share that we are making strides toward building a long-term sustainable organizational foundation for UWN. As of mid-April, we now have an interim Board of Directors for the Urban Wood Network non-profit organization, filed in the State of Wisconsin. Our team continues to focus on the details of building our organizational foundation while also serving our members and mapping-out a path for the future. As many of you are well aware, this work is very important and takes time, so you can trust that our team is putting the key pieces in-place for future organizational growth and enhanced member services.

As we take this important step to become a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, we'd like to thank our partners at Sustainable Resource Institute (SRI) for their unwavering support in administering the Urban Wood Network efforts for the past six years. Kari Divine and her team at SRI have provided excellent leadership for the UWN initiative for many years and have been, and will continue to be, key partners in facilitating this UWN non-profit transition. We'd also like to thank all of the members, organizations and agencies who have supported UWN over the past six plus years to help us get to this exciting point, including: USDA Forest Service, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE), Urban Salvaged Reclaimed Wood (USRW) and many others.

In the coming months, keep your eyes out for more important developments for UWN and opportunities for you to get involved:

  • The Interim Board of Directors (BOD) are finalizing our organization bylaws and will be filing our federal non-profit paperwork by the end of May. We’re also building out a road-map for the Board and staff over the next 2+ years. All of the current board members and advisors have committed to serving in this role through the transition to a 501(c)3 non-profit organization at which point we will facilitate the nomination and selection of a new slate of board members who will guide the organization forward into the future.
  • We will officially transition the organization by July 1st.
  • As we make this transition, there will be many opportunities for our members to get involved. Here are some ways that you can help:
  • Pay your membership dues for 2023
  • Our primary source of funding to support staff and programs is through membership dues, so it’s critical that we have all of our current members in good standing on their annual membership dues. As of May 1, we have 253 UWN members (unfortunately 185 of these members have not yet paid their 2023 membership dues).  
  • Member who haven’t renewed can check out the instructions to do so in the Renew Your Membership Listing article below. Having trouble? Call UWN at 906-875-3720 and we’ll walk you through it.  
  • Stay engaged and be ready to support UWN in a leadership role. 
  • In the coming months, we’ll be recruiting applicants for the UWN Board of Directors and volunteers to serve on future Board committees, including: Education, Fundraising, and others. The current and future success of this organization will rely on our committed members and those willing and able to step-up and lead the organization for years to come. We're excited about the future and discovering new leaders who are ready to join the team and help us grow together.
  • Attend educational programs – A series of Lunch and Learn webinars are being planned to begin this summer. This will be a great opportunity to meet other members, learn from each other and grow together.

Thank you for your support and investment in the Urban Wood Network. As we are well aware, the recognition of urban wood up-cycling is at an all-time high across the country and the opportunities for funding and capacity building to support this work is growing as well. We look forward to working with all of you to build and grow a UWN non-profit organization that can help rise the tide for the success of everyone engaged in this effort.

Interim Urban Wood Network Board of Directors (BOD)

Lance Davisson (chair); Andy Trotter (vice chair); Paul Morrison (secretary / treasurer); Joe Lehnen; Rick Siewert; Jennifer Alger; Dwayne Sperber; Paul Hickman

Interim UWN BOD Advisors

John Melvin, Amanda Egan, Charlie Becker, Scott Altenhoff


UWN Executive Director - Kari Divine

Grant Funding Available

The USDA Forest Service has competitive grant funding available in Urban and Community Forestry and is requesting proposals from eligible entities that are working to provide equitable access to trees and green spaces and the benefits they provide. The minimum funding amount for projects is $100,000 with a maximum federal funding limit of $50,000,000 over a 5 year period. The funding opportunity is open to proposals spanning a broad range of investments working at a community, regional, and national scale.

All federal grant funds are to be matched at least equally (dollar for dollar) with non-federal match. Match-waivers are available for proposals that deliver 100% of the funding/program benefits to disadvantaged communities.

Learn more about the upcoming funding opportunity and how to apply by watching a webinar recorded on March 29, 2023.

In order to apply, organizations must have an active registration and an Unique Entity Identifier (UEI). If you do not have an active account, it may take several weeks or more to complete. Once you are registered with, Search for 2023 Inflation Reduction Act for Urban and Community Forestry grant opportunities on using the opportunity number: USDA-FS-2023-UCF-IRA-01

Before you apply, review the eligibility requirements here. 

All application materials must be received on the grant application website by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time June 1 2023. Visit for more details. 

Successful Urban Wood Drying Workshop!

Photo credit: Kim Slezak, SAF Certified Forester

Ten urban wood kiln drying enthusiasts met at the Sam Beuford Woodworking Institute in southern Michigan for a two-and-a-half-day workshop geared toward drying urban wood and slabs. Participants came from Canada, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, and Missouri to attend.

Information was presented by Frederik Laleicke of North Carolina State University on solar, de-humidification and vacuum kilns, best practices for kiln drying, and storing lumber. Great discussions on urban wood philosophy and business culture were also held, which was interesting and applicable to anyone in urban wood businesses.

The workshop toured UWN member Tervol's Wood Products in North Adams, Michigan and saw their huge inventory of slabs and dimensional lumber, their milling operation (they have both a Woodmizer LT70 and a slabbing mill), three kilns, and a log boiler that heats not only their facility, but also their nearby home!

The workshop ended with Paul Hickman (Urban Wood Network-Michigan Chapter Lead) updating on Urban Wood Network national program and leading a short discussion on Urban Wood Standards. Paul stressed the desire for Urban Wood Network to have members' input with experience and businesses that are involved in production and selling of urban wood.

UWN Member in the News!

UWN Member Wood from the Hood received some recognition in the news once again.. Owners Rick & Cindy Siewert were interviewed at their business and discussed the benefits of using reclaimed local wood. Watch the news coverage here.

Hardwood Log Scaling & Grading Workshop

A two day educational workshop on Hardwood Log Scaling & Grading for landowners, foresters, forestry students, log scaler/grader trainee, and sawmill supervisors will be held June 10th and 11th. In this hands-on workshop, you will learn how to apply log scaling principles and grading criteria used by industry

professionals to merchandise hardwood logs. The workshop will be at Northcentral Technical College in Antigo, WI and will be from 8:00am-4:00pm each day.

Click here for more information on the workshop and REGISTER HERE.

Urban Wood Re-Utilization Workshop

Jennifer Alger, the UWN-Western Region Representative will be speaking at a one day workshop on July 12th in Griffin, GA. Join Jennifer and other industry experts to learn on how we can prioritize the eco-friendly re-utilization of wood products to reduce waste and repurpose valuable materials. The workshop will provide valuable insights from leaders in the industry, sharing their experiences and resources on how to make the most of wood products. This event will be held at the Georgia Arborist Association Griffin Campus and is sponsored by the Georgia Forestry Commission.

Learn more about the workshop and how to register here.

Congratulations Texas Urban Sawmill

Texas Urban Sawmill was awarded a USDA Forest Service Wood Innovations Grant. Their grant project is titled “Full Circle Woodland Forestry a Circular Economic Project” and aims to rescue, utilize, and monetize traditional woody mass material that results in high wildfire risks throughout central Texas. Usually, this material is either burnt up or chipped. However, the Texas Urban Sawmill wishes to investigate a fresh, full-circle economic model that can decrease Texas' wildfire hazard and also create revenue from the material's worth to support tree-planting pursuits.

Member Spotlight

Owner Kim Slezak  married a 4th generation Farmer in Fillmore County, Nebraska in 2008, leaving a position with New Mexico Forest Service behind. She became a forestry consultant and it wasn't long before she was frustrated with all the trees she saw coming down for agriculture expansion and that were being wasted. In the village they lived in, she would hear a chainsaw and go see what was removed, talking with the tree company or homeowner about utilization. She often ended up with the logs.

In the fall of 2016, her husband found a mill on Craigslist in Missouri and in the Spring of 2017 custom milling was added to their business services.

To start her business off, as mentioned above, she would follow the sound of chain saws. She also did some social media postings to get the word out to neighboring towns. Dreaming of getting more rescues from a larger town, they have partnered with a local municipality to form a Public-Private Partnership. Kim now works for the Nebraska Forest Service and serves as the Nebraska representative on UWN's Unified Marketing Strategy to Help Reduce Hazardous Fuels in the Wildland Urban Interface, which will pilot a marketing strategy for urban wood in Nebraska and neighboring states for expansion nationwide. Kim attended the recent urban lumber drying workshop hosted by UWN in Michigan and is pictured in that article.

Kim is an enthusiastic UWN member and urban wood utilization advocate. Kim likes "the broader definition of urban wood being trees not planted specifically for wood production - so not just trees in town limits in parks and yards, but also windbreaks and rural removals" and sees this as keep to success.

Trees2Products will help you craft a dream from your log or ours. They sell stories. One client saved back trees from a windbreak removed for a pivot to go in and made something for every child and grandchild to have something from the farm. Same can be done with the tree in your yard.

Kim and and her husband Gerald welcome all to visit their website or Facebook page at Trees2Products for more information on their business.

Renew Your Membership Listing!

The UWN website has an enhanced membership directory that is:

  • searchable by membership category and geography
  • includes a photo gallery, a description of your business/organization, and links to your website and social media
  • able to be updated by you whenever needed

To create and publish your new membership listing, please go to the UWN website at

We strongly recommend using a desktop computer rather than a smartphone to complete this.

  1. Register for an account
  2. Complete and submit your registration form
  3. You will receive an email to confirm your account, please click the link to set your password.
  4. Set your password
  5. Login
  6. Click the “Create Listing” button
  7. Complete and submit your member listing (click to view instructions)
  8. An UWN representative will review your listing
  9. Once approved, you will receive an invoice to pay your membership fee unless your membership fees are already up to date. If your membership fees are up to date, then your listing will be published directly.
  10. Click the link on the invoice to pay your invoice online
  11. Once your payment has been received, you will receive a welcome letter
Member Listing Step by Step Instructions

Got questions? Call 906-875-3720 or Email: