The Bob Skiera Memorial Fund Building Bridges Initiative Grant Program

Bob Skiera, an urban forestry pioneer, was renowned for his ability to communicate the needs and benefits of the urban forest. He played a significant role in building bridges of trust and cooperation between urban foresters and other professionals in urban planning and management. As a past President of both the International Society of Arboriculture and the Wisconsin Arborist Association, and a member of the Wisconsin Forestry Hall of Fame, his contributions to the field are undeniable.

In honor of Bob Skiera’s legacy, the Bob Skiera Memorial Fund was established in collaboration with the TREE Fund, the Skiera Family, the Wisconsin Arborist Association, and the International Society of Arboriculture. The fund aims to provide financial support for the “Building Bridges Initiative.” This initiative seeks to enhance communication and collaboration between arborists and urban foresters with public works officials, risk assessment professionals, civil engineers, wildlife researchers, soil scientists, and other relevant stakeholders. The grants awarded under the Building Bridges Initiative can reach a maximum value of $30,000, with $25,000 contributed annually by the Bob Skiera Memorial Fund and $5,000 provided by the John White Memorial Fund.

The 2023 Building Bridges Initiative Grants will focus on research that facilitates or promotes interactions between urban forest managers, arborists, and other professionals committed to maximizing the value and use of the urban forest resource. The suggested areas of investigation include quantitative and/or qualitative analysis of urban forest benefits to humans and communities, policy formation and program implementation, “Nature Based Solutions,” ecosystem services, and more.

At Tips Tree Planting, we welcome research proposals and applications from a wide range of academic and technical disciplines, encompassing both qualitative and quantitative approaches. However, we do not fund grants to individuals, projects primarily focused on municipal tree surveys or assessments, tree planting programs, studies of individual tree species for agricultural or timber/forest planting purposes, or commercial product testing solely for the benefit of the manufacturing company.

If you are interested in applying for the Bob Skiera Memorial Fund Building Bridges Initiative Grant, the application process is as follows:

  1. Send an email with a brief Letter of Inquiry (LOI) of no more than 100 words to between August 1, 2023, and September 15, 2023. The LOI should include your project title, concept, and clearly identify the Principal Investigator and Institution involved.

  2. TREE Fund will evaluate your LOI concept, ensuring it meets all application criteria and has a reasonable chance of success based on the year’s research priorities. If your LOI is approved, TREE Fund will provide a numbered application form for your use. Please note that applications can only be submitted with the provided numbered form, and the number of applications given per cycle may be limited. TREE Fund’s determinations on LOI approval are final.

  3. Complete the application form between August 1, 2023, and October 1, 2023. Save a Word version for your records, create a PDF version with the title format “PI Surname, Grant Program, Application Number,” and email it to as an attachment, along with PDFs of the PI and Co-PI (if applicable) CVs. Please note that exceeding word counts may lead to application rejection.

The application requires the following information:

  • Project Description: Provide a brief summary of the current issue/problem, its impact on arboriculture and urban forestry, and the research goals.
  • Measurable Outputs/Outcomes: List tangible outputs and identify up to five measurable outcomes expected from the proposed work.
  • Current Knowledge/Past Research in Project Area: Describe what is known about the problem/project area, referencing previous attempts to address it, literature reviews, and past experiences of the investigative team.
  • Project Work Plan: Clearly define the scope of work, including hypotheses, design, methodology, and analyses. Identify any anticipated proprietary elements.
  • Dissemination Plans: Describe the activities and outlets used to share project results, addressing both academic and practitioner communities.
  • Literature Cited: Cite previous work published elsewhere, following the provided format.

Additionally, budget elements must be included, covering institutional compensation, travel, equipment, materials and supplies, contract labor, institutional overhead, and other miscellaneous expenses. Cash or in-kind funding from other sources is required, with a minimum of 10%.

The selection criteria for grant awards will be based on applicant eligibility, adherence to submission directions, alignment with TREE Fund’s mission, and minimum requirements. The Research and Education Committee will conduct a comprehensive evaluation, emphasizing the investigative team’s track record, the project’s potential contribution to the arboricultural industry, the approach and experimental design, and the dissemination plan to both the scientific community and tree care professionals.

TREE Fund values diversity and does not discriminate based on race, color, creed, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or national or ethnic origin. Current trustees of TREE Fund or their family members are ineligible for grants.

The recommendations for grant awards will be presented to the TREE Fund Board of Trustees for approval in December 2023. Grant recipients will be notified within one month of Trustee approval. Upon acceptance, a Grant Agreement form will be provided, outlining the payment and reporting schedule. Recipients are encouraged to review the sample Grant Agreement form with their employers’ financial or grant management offices before submitting an application.

Reporting requirements include notifying TREE Fund of published or presented research findings and acknowledging TREE Fund’s support in related articles or presentations. TREE Fund is committed to ensuring that research findings are freely and widely available to all parties benefiting from the author’s work.

At Tips Tree Planting, we believe in the importance of building bridges and fostering collaboration within the field of urban forestry. The Bob Skiera Memorial Fund Building Bridges Initiative Grant Program seeks to honor Bob Skiera’s legacy by supporting research that enhances the understanding and value of our urban forests. If you have a project that aligns with this initiative, we encourage you to apply and contribute to the advancement of arboriculture and urban forestry.

For more information and to submit your application, please visit Tips Tree Planting. Together, let’s create a greener and more sustainable future.

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