Dan Wattenhofer, GreenCorps Member and Urban Forestry Specialist, Mississippi Park Connection
My name is Dan Wattenhofer and I am the new urban forestry specialist and Greencorps member at Mississippi Park Connection, and I’m pleased to be here! For the next year, I’ll be working with the vast ash tree population within the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area.
I grew up Champlin, Minnesota, right near the northern boundary of the Mississippi River and Recreation Area. My friends and I spend a lot of time canoeing and biking around the Coon Rapids Dam area and I think that where my connection to the river first started. I attended St. John’s University and graduated in 2014 with a degree in Political Science. After graduating, I went to work as an arborist and climber at Rainbow Tree Companies, a tree care company that works throughout twin city metro area. During my time as an arborist, I really developed a passion for trees and all the benefits that they can provide. Some of my favorite areas to work in back then were along the river gorge area where the fall colors are even more brilliant from 60 feet up in a tree.
In my free time I volunteer at the local fire department, mill logs, climb, canoe, and wander around breweries asking what stouts are on tap.
Here at the Park Connection, my yearlong project will be assessing the state of the threatened ash tree population throughout the river corridor and working with our many partners to identify successful emerald ash borer management plans, develop criteria and prioritize stands for management, and determine best adaptation strategies for the potential loss of ash stands. Additionally, a good deal of my work will include identifying the impacts that the diminishing ash population will have on things such as the loss of recreational value at places of interest, loss of trees as a means of carbon storage, effects on soil erosion, and potential implications for wildlife.
I am excited to be a member of the team and get my project up and running! See you out there!
Minnesota GreenCorps is an AmeriCorps program, hosted by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.