Newswise — Appalachian State University will sponsor the conference "Utilizing the Urban Forest: Turning Urban Trees into Wood Products" May 16 at the Broyhill Inn and Conference Center on campus.

The conference begins with registration at 8:30 a.m. and will conclude at 5 p.m. Conference registration is $75, which includes lunch, catered breaks and conference materials. An optional field trip May 17 to a portable sawmilling demonstration at the Biltmore Estate woodlot, Grovewood Gallery, Asheville Hardware and Treasured Trees of Asheville costs $35, which includes transportation to and from Asheville and a box lunch.

The registration deadline is May 5. To register, visit or call Amy Sanders in Appalachian's Office of Conferences and Institutes at (828) 262-2774. For more information about the conference, call Jana Carp at (828) 262- 7091.

Carp, an assistant professor of community and regional planning in Appalachian's Department of Geography and Planning, is the conference director.

"We're surrounded by wood products that are either beautiful and artistic or have very practical uses, or both," she said. "But most people think that wood has to come from commercial forests. This conference is about how useable wood can also come from our urban forests " trees along the streets, in vacant lots, in parks."

All too often, Carp says, trees removed because of storm damage, age or disease, are cut up and hauled to landfills or chipped into mulch.

"This is a tragic waste. Instead, we can use the wood in urban trees to support our local economies, reduce transportation and disposal costs, and help people notice and take care of the trees in their communities," she said. "North Carolina's urban forests offer a lot of opportunity for local management of this natural resource, which can combine economic and environmental benefits."

Conference speakers are:

Philip A. Araman, a research team leader and scientist with the USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station and an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Wood Science and Forest Products at Virginia Tech

Robert Bardon, department extension leader with the N.C. State University Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources and certified forester with the Society of American Foresters

Matt Dufon, a freelance sustainability consultant and independent contractor from Asheville and a member of the Asheville Treecyclers, a network of tree and wood products businesses dedicated to reutilizing currently wasted urban trees to their highest value

Chris Holmgren, a woodworker and owner of Seneca Creek Joinery in Dickerson, Md.

Brian LeCouteura, a regional urban forester and environmental planner for the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments

Dan Rider, associate director of the Maryland Forest Service specializing in increased utilization and subsequent marketing of locally produced wood products

Nathan Schomber, founder of Asheville Treecyclers and owner of Woodsmith Portable Mill Service in Asheville

Sam Sherrill, a woodworker and professor in the School of Planning at the University of Cincinnati where he conducts research on the best use of urban trees once they come down