An Urban Tree Care Conference
January 19th & 20th, 2017


We have invited the following professional experts to speak at the 2017 conference.

Amy Bell is principal of Groundwork Studio, a landscape architecture firm focused on site design integration, and creative approach to interactive landscapes. She has practiced landscape architecture in the high desert for the past 10 years, with a focus on educational, therapeutic, and play environments. Amy holds a Master’s Degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of New Mexico, is a licensed landscape architect in New Mexico and Texas, and became an ISA Certified Arborist in 2015. She is eager to strengthen the relationship between landscape architectural practice, arboriculture, and urban forestry in the state.

Arielle Conti works within the Technical Services and Research Department in Washington D.C. on projects that engaging community members in their urban forest through meaningfully citizen science projects. For the past decade her work has focused on science communication and environmental education. She comes to the Casey Trees with a B.A. in Environmental Science and an M.A. in Environmental Policy from American University.

Ben Wright, ISA certified arborist, lives with his family and works in Taos, NM with his company, Sound Tree. While transitioning from carpentry to arboriculture, he has grown from a dedicated tree admirer to an inspired tree care provider. He graduated from UNM in conservation biology, and is currently a Masters of Natural Resources candidate at OSU focusing in urban forestry. His capstone project investigates the troubled dynamic of Siberian Elm in NM. He is the current chair of the Taos Tree Board, a member of the Heartwood Coalition, and relentlessly advocates for community involvement in the urban forest.

Bonnie Rabe is a Division Director at the New Mexico Department of Agriculture, where she manages the Agricultural and Environmental Services Division. The Division includes the Pesticide Compliance, Nursery Industry, and Feed Seed and Fertilizer sections as well as the State Chemist and State Seed Laboratories. Her responsibilities include personnel management, budget development and monitoring, grant oversight and reporting, policy analysis, interaction and coordination with regulated industry, public and constituent agencies.

Dr. Ashley Bennett received her Ph.D. in Entomology from the University of Wisconsin, and after completing her graduate degree, she accepted postdoctoral research positions at the University of Illinois and Michigan State University. In 2016, she accepted the urban IPM and small farms extension specialist position at New Mexico State University. Her research and extension program is focused on understanding how local site design and landscape composition in urban landscapes affects the ability of beneficial insects to perform ecosystem services such as pest suppression and pollination.

Dr. Bernd Leinauer’s research program at New Mexico State University focuses on investigating water conservation strategies for turfgrass areas. These strategies include the screening for low water use, cold and salt tolerant turfgrasses, irrigation with saline water, modification of turfgrass root zones, and subsurface irrigation. Dr. Leinauer has authored and co-authored a book, a book chapter, and nearly 70 scientific peer reviewed research papers. He was part of a group of NMSU researchers that received the USDA’s Outstanding Integrated Program Water Resources Award and he received both the College’s Distinguished Research Award and the University’s Distinguished Career Award.

Dr. Jessica Sanders has a passion for the urban forest and her research has focused on developing and enhancing current urban forestry practices to better manage the urban interface. She joined Casey Trees in July 2012 and has been working to expand organizational research efforts while efficiently using its vast GIS dataset to inform best management practices and streamline internal processes. Jessica’s graduate and PhD work at Rutgers University’s School of Environmental and Biological Sciences looked at modeling growth rates of the Northeast Urban Forest. She has published numerous papers on urban tree growth expectations and predicted mature urban tree canopy.

Dr. John Ball is a Professor of Forestry at South Dakota State University where he instructs courses in arboriculture and forestry. He also serves as a campus arborist, the extension forestry specialist, and the South Dakota forest health specialist.

Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott has a Ph.D. In Horticulture from Oregon State University and is an ISA certified arborist and an ASCA consulting arborist. She is the Washington State University Extension Urban Horticulturist and am Associate Professor in the Department of Horticulture. Linda speaks and publishes extensively on topics of interest to arborists and is one of the Garden Professors – a group of academic colleagues who educate and entertain through their blog and Facebook pages: "The Informed Gardener":; "The Garden Professors" Facebook page and group -

Dr. Natalie Goldberg is a Distinguished Achievement Professor and the Extension Plant Pathologist at NMSU. She also serves as the Department Head for the Extension Plant Sciences Department. As the Extension Plant Pathologist, Dr. Goldberg’s primary responsibilities include statewide educational programming in areas related to plant health management and crop biosecurity, and she directs the NMSU Plant Diagnostic Clinic. She also assists in the identification of new plant diseases in New Mexico, conducts applied research projects, writes educational publications, and provides information on disease outbreaks in New Mexico to the public and to regional and national pest information databases.

Dr. Richard Hauer is currently a Professor of Urban Forestry at University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP). He teaches courses in the urban forestry, tree care/culture, and woody plants/dendrology. Rich has conducted research in tree biology, urban forest management, emerald ash borer management, trees and construction, and ice storms.

Isaac Benton is the Albuquerque City Councilor for District 2, and is the 2017 Council President. He has served on both the Finance & Government Operations Committee and on the Land Use, Planning & Zoning Committee. He has also served on the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority Board and chaired both the Regional Transit District and Metropolitan Transportation boards. Councilor Benton is a licensed New Mexico architect and building contractor. Between 1991 and 2009, he operated his own architecture practice with a focus on libraries, senior and community centers, schools, and housing, always using sustainable design and public participation in the design process. He is a LEED (Leaders in Energy and Environmental Design) certified designer and has served as President of American Institute of Architects of New Mexico. He is also a member of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Scott Grimes graduated with a B.S. in Forestry from Colorado State University and worked for 30 years in municipal arboriculture and parks management. He currently provides tree and landscape consulting and project management for Colorado Tree Consultants. Scott is an ISA Certified Arborist, ISA Municipal Specialist and Tree Risk Assessment Qualified (TRAQ). He helped develop the Colorado Tree Coalition’s Tree Risk Assessment and Management program and has presented at conferences in Wyoming, Nebraska and Colorado. He chairs the ISA-Rocky Mountain Chapter Education Committee and serves as the Secretary/Treasurer.