On March 15th, the Montana Urban and Community Forestry Association (MUCFA) recognized Billings City Arborist Steve Riley as Montana’s “Outstanding Urban Forestry Leader” of 2017. Steve has lead Billings through its first complete pruning cycle of 9,000 plus park trees. A pruning cycle means all small trees are pruned every three years and all large trees are pruned every seven years.
Steve has also lead tree planting efforts for Billings parks for many years. Billings plants roughly 200 trees per year in its parks. Steve has expanded Billings tree pallete or the diversity of trees that are growing in Billings. This diversity of tree species will better prepare Billings for when an insect or disease vector finds a certain tree species, limiting the number of any one species of tree that could be attacked. Steve also developed a gravel bed nursery as a way to develop better quality trees to be planted in city parks saving the tax payers money.
Steve completed a good deal of this work without leadership as the city spent over two years searching for a City Forester. Steve is quiet and unassuming but passionate about the work he does.
MUCFA is made up of city foresters, tree board members, tree companies, and citizens from around Montana that are committed to the trees in Montana communities. To learn more about trees and what is happening in Montana’s urban forests please visit www.mucfa.com or follow MUCFA on Facebook.