Our Woodland Legacy Symposium


Trees Forever’s Our Woodland Legacy Symposium in 2018 was once again a forum that gives voice and value to our natural assets. With the theme of “Connecting Land and Life,” we talked about current issues facing communities striving to conserve woodland areas and to improve the environment in our urban and rural areas. View the agenda here.


Our Goals for the Symposium: 

  • Engage policy makers and the public 
  • Support smart growth development 
  • Quantify the benefits of trees and natural areas


2018 Keynotes

Dongying Li, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning at Texas A&M University

As a trained landscape architect and researcher, Dongying Li, Ph. D. will shed light on how access to nature promotes positive mental health and well-being. Dr. Li’s research examines how nature improves children’s mental fatigue, moods and academic performances. Both children on the autism spectrum and children in communities impacted by natural disasters have shown to benefit from nature! Dr. Li will explain how mapping technology has advanced our understanding of the link between nature and mental health AND how this new research can help us create a thriving community! Read more about her research here or see her biography hereClick here to view the speaker’s presentation.

David Jahn

City Forester of Des Moines

As the city forester for the Iowa’s capitol city, David Jahn is actively giving a voice to the trees and woodlands in Des Moines. Jahn is currently initiating an Urban Forest Master Plan, managing the emerald ash borer (EAB) action plan, educating local tree contractors, and working with neighborhoods to raise awareness of the environmental benefits of trees. With a background in landscape management and forestry, David Jahn is working hard to grow his city’s tree canopy. Learn from his lessons and hear about his vision for the future. Click here to read Jahn's biography. Click here to view the speaker's presentation.





Workshop Topics


Inspiring and Supporting the Next Generation - An opportunity to learn about programs that engage youth in nature, and how they’ve benefited the participants and community.  We’ll hear from involved youth.


Dows Farm Project:  A project overview, and current local issues with sustainable developments - The Dows Farm is 180 acres of rolling farmland, pasture, and stream buffer under the ownership of Linn County. The Dows Farm Agri-Community design concept envisions development in a manner that incorporates and protects the site’s significant environmental features and respects its agricultural heritage. Design elements include a working farm to grow healthy foods using sustainable farming techniques; trail connections; greenways and open space to protect Squaw Creek; and a mix of housing types with a thoughtful integration of commercial uses. Facilitated by Les Beck, Linn County Planning & Development and Dennis Reynolds, Reynolds Urban Design.


Forest Bathing: An Introduction to the Japanese Art of Shinrin-yoku (limit 20 participants) - This guided mindfulness practice involves a short-distance outdoor walk where participants will become immersed in nature by exploring the senses.  Learn about and experience some of the research supporting this practice, and discover the health benefits for yourself!  Warm clothing and comfortable footwear is essential, but plan to leave technology behind for this workshop. Facilitated by Dr. Suzanne Bartlett Hackenmiller, M.D., Integrative Medicine Physician, Van Diest Medical Center/Mercy Des Moines.