Adult Opportunities

Tree Ordinance Administration Workshop

Learn about the ins and outs of crafting a strong tree protection policy for your community.

Content Detail

This full-day workshop will provide insight and examples on how to administer and manage a tree preservation ordinance effectively and equitably. Using real world examples, attendees will learn how to strike a balance between the black and white of the law, the BMPs (Best Management Practices) of site development and tree health, and the positive and negative realities of tree preservation. This training is intended for land managers, urban foresters, certified arborists, code enforcement officials, architects, civil engineers, consultants, and anyone working to improve their urban forest. Breakfast and lunch will be provided. 5.5 CEU’s will be earned for ISA Certified Arborists.

This program meets in person at the Arboretum.

Instructors: Joe Hansen, village forester and tree preservation officer, Village of Wilmette; Colette Copic, Chicago Region Trees Initiative community specialist, The Morton Arboretum

Continuing education: 5.5 CEU’s will be earned for ISA Certified Arborists.

Course number: CRT200


Joe Hansen, village forester and tree preservation officer, Village of Wilmette

Joe Hansen has worked for several government agencies for over a decade and has assisted in administering two comprehensive tree preservation ordinances. He is an ISA Certified Arborist Municipal Specialist, Tree Risk Assessment Qualified (TRAQ) and holds numerous certifications through the Tree Care Industry Association. He is the village forester and tree preservation officer for the Village of Wilmette, Illinois, the vice president of the Illinois Arborist Association, and the chair of the Urban and Community Forestry Committee on the Illinois Forestry Development Council. He is a task specialist on the Illinois Urban Forest Strike Team, and he is the host and producer of The Municipal Arborist podcast.

Colette Copic, Chicago Region Trees Initiative Specialist

Colette Copic is the community specialist for the Chicago Region Trees Initiative at The Morton Arboretum. They hold a master’s degree in environmental science from Loyola University Chicago. Previously, Copic has worked in environmental policy, research, and ecological restoration. At The Morton Arboretum, they work closely with government entities to carry out urban forestry projects and update tree protection ordinances through state-funded grant programs.

What to Know

This full-day workshop is intended for planners, decision makers, policy enforcers, and passionate tree champions directly involved in creating or carrying out tree protection ordinances in communities.

Program Schedule

Thursday, April 11, 2024, 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Thornhill Education Center

8:00 a.m.


Coffee, tea, and refreshments will be served.

8:30 a.m.

The Importance of Tree Protection Ordinances

This presentation will identify the value that trees provide to communities and why we consider them critical infrastructure. This portion of the program will also provide an overview of the different types of tree protection ordinances in order to create a foundation of understanding for the rest of the day.

9:00 a.m.

Example Ordinances

This presentation will identify the structural components of two local ordinances that demonstrate common high-level themes found in legislation throughout the country. Through this examination we will learn how their approaches lead to different, yet similar, outcomes. Topics covered will include tree protection requirements on private property, site development requirements, and tree replacement requirements.

10:00 a.m.


10:15 a.m.

Tree Removal Permit Review

We will discuss examples of how to administer and review tree removal permit applications. We will identify what information to ask of applicants proposing to remove private trees, field inspections, perceived tree risks vs. ordinance requirements, effective communication, and examples of how applicants may petition a decision.

11:00 a.m.

Introduction to Construction Principles

This presentation will provide insight on basic construction principles that often affect trees during construction. This will aid in the identification of constraints and limitations to both tree preservation and site development. Topics covered will include excavations for different project types, separation requirements for utilities, and site development plans.



Lunch will be provided.

1:00 p.m.

Plan Review Concepts

By being integrated into the design and plan review process, we are playing an integral role in tree preservation by attempting to reduce potential impacts to trees. Building upon the Introduction to Construction Principles, this presentation will provide insight on how to read building and engineering plans, discuss potential mitigation options associated with proposed plans, and explore how to effectively communicate requests to applicants, builders, and engineers.

2:00 p.m.


2:15 p.m.

Code Enforcement

Learn through examination of specific case examples to understand why code enforcement is a crucial component to the success of a tree preservation ordinance. However, like all infractions of the law, all outcomes are not equal.


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