AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala. — Beau Brodbeck, an Alabama Cooperative Extension System assistant director for field operations, has been appointed to the National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council (NUCFAC) by Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack. Effective immediately, Brodbeck will serve as a voice for Extension not only in Alabama but throughout the entire country.
The NUCFAC is a United States Department of Agriculture council that is responsible for overseeing the progress and issues of urban and community forestry across the nation. It serves as subject expert counsel to the secretary of agriculture. Created by the 1990 Farm Bill out of necessity for the sustainability and future of the country’s urban forests, this group of 15 members meets two to three times per year to discuss these national issues.
Brodbeck’s professional background in community forestry and experience as a specialist with Alabama Extension makes him an excellent addition to the council. For several years, his role with Alabama Extension included outreach activities in community forestry, forest mapping, tree risk assessment and chainsaw safety.
Brodbeck’s applied research focuses on topics such as identifying barriers to arborist certification, understanding how Alabama communities address tree risk and — most recently — evaluating the intersections of homeowner’s insurance and tree related liability.
“As Extension professionals, we connect stakeholders to research and researchers to stakeholders’ needs and challenges,” Brodbeck said. “In my role as an assistant director with a reach beyond traditional urban forestry programs, I hope to provide input from a variety of programmatic backgrounds, ranging from youth to human sciences.”
He said he is excited to utilize his new position with Extension to learn more about community needs and how they fulfill them within council discussions.
“As a member of the NUCFAC, it is my hope to provide a voice for Extension professionals when framing funding and stakeholder needs in urban forestry,” Brodbeck said.
The council hopes to continue making innovative, strategic and educated recommendations to the secretary of agriculture. Becky Barlow, Alabama Extension assistant director for agriculture, forestry and natural resource programming, said Brodbeck will help accomplish this goal with fresh perspectives.
“For many years, Beau has been an urban forestry leader in Alabama and on a national level,” Barlow said. “Through his work as an Alabama Extension specialist in urban and community forestry, he has reached professionals and the public in Alabama and beyond. Not only has he developed a prominent Extension program, but he has also served as a leader on multiple community-forestry related boards. He also boasts a successful grants program that positively influences his Extension programming.”
Community forestry is an integral part of today’s natural resource management policies. Brodbeck and the advisory committee expect to develop the national 10-year urban forest action plan and identifying barriers and opportunities for expanding access, growth and better management of urban forests.