The City of Seattle set the bold goal of achieving 30% tree canopy cover by 2037 to increase the environmental, social, and economic benefits trees bring to Seattle residents. The Urban Forestry Commission (UFC) is composed of thirteen members, six appointed by the Mayor, six appointed by City Council, and one (Position #9) is elected by the Urban Forestry Commission. Commissioners have knowledge in the areas specific to the position for which they are applying, including skills such as architecture, environmental justice, ecology, community outreach, and more. For more information
The UFC’s newly confirmed members include:
Hao Liang is a landscape architect. He devotes his academic and professional interests to design, cultural landscape, urban forestry, and marginalized communities. As a designer, he thinks cross-disciplinarily about social and environmental issues at different scales. He has worked on a wide range
of projects including public space, green infrastructure, campus planning, commercial development, and residential design. Hao enjoys the process of collaboration, learning from communities, and watching the daily changes of our built environment. In the context of the Urban Forestry Commission, Hao sees identity, inclusion, and equity as situated in different layers on a given topic, which are policy, planning, design, practice, and outreach. Hao is familiar with planning studies and design implementations. He will strive to communicate his specialty to others, make the process easier when it can be, and encourage everyone to participate. Hao is being appointed to serve the remainder of a three-year term ending March 31, 2024.
Rebecca B. Neumann
Dr. Neumann leads the hydro-biogeochemistry research group in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Washington. The group investigates transport and reaction of chemicals in the environment, tackling societally relevant topics, such as food and water quality and global climate change. Dr. Neumann was the 2018 recipient of the American Geophysical Union’s Charles S. Falkenberg Award, which recognizes “an early- to middle-career scientist who has contributed to the quality of life, economic opportunities and stewardship of the planet through the use of Earth science information.” Prior to UW, Dr. Neumann worked as a NOAA Climate and Global Change postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University in the Department of Organismal and Evolutionary Biology. She received a Doctorate degree in Environmental Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and baccalaureate degrees in Civil and Environmental Engineering and Art and Art History from Rice University. Outside of work she enjoys exploring the mountains with her husband and two kids. Rebecca is being appointed to serve the remainder of a three-year term ending March 31, 2024.
Lia Hall was born and raised in Seattle by an ethnically and culturally mixed family. After a short stint as an adult in New York City, she returned to the Emerald City of her youth. She resides in Rainier Beach near her sanctuary, Kubota Garden. With her husband/business partner, Cedar, they have two small children and run a neon sign shop mostly producing signage for small businesses in and around Seattle. Lia also has taught yoga classes since 2006, prioritizing offering classes for BIPOC communities and pregnant folks. She has a Permaculture Landscape Design Certification through Seattle Tilth and is passionate about planting, propagating and sharing native plants. Lia wants to help bring our city into alignment with its sustainability goals through advocating for our tree relatives while ensuring our community members have a voice. She believes we can all have a more equitable, happier, healthier future if we plan and design for the needs of a growing city while protecting our urban forests. Lia is being appointed to serve the remainder of a three-year term ending March 31, 2024.
Joe Sisneros has a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science and Resource Management from the University of Washington, with a concentration in the Sustainable Forest Management option. He has field and research experience in forestry and riparian restoration. Born on Coast Salish lands and raised in what is now Everett, WA, Joe loves to backpack, loves to read, and loves live music. With a formal education in forest ecology and oceanography, Joe has immense appreciation for the ecology of the Pacific Northwest and a deep passion for people that inhabit this incredibly special part of our Earth. Joseph is being appointed to serve the remainder of a three-year term ending March 31, 2023.
Falisha Kurji (they/she) is a graduate of the University of Florida with majors in Sociology and Sustainability Studies. They are deeply passionate about the intersections of environmental and social justice, and seek to advocate for BIPOC, lower-income, and unhoused communities’ access to green spaces. They are an alum of the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program at the University of Washington, where they developed a strong foundation and experience working on environmental justice issues. They are currently the Community Partnerships Coordinator at Seattle Parks Foundation, where they work with various community-led groups who are working to create safe and accessible public green spaces. In their free time, they enjoy learning about ethnobotany, connecting with their South Asian heritage, and dancing. Falisha is being appointed to serve a three-year term ending March 31, 2025.
Joshua N. Morris
Joshua is the Urban Conservation Manager at Seattle Audubon. In his role, Joshua leads engagement on
local conservation issues and coordinates coalition building, advocacy and outreach to support urban
conservation priorities which include our urban trees. Joshua holds a Master of Arts in international environmental policy and brings over ten years of professional and volunteer experience in environmental conservation to the Urban Forestry Commission. He is being appointed to a second term ending March 31, 2025.
Learn more about Seattle’s Urban Forestry efforts at Seattle’s Trees for Seattle website and the Urban Forestry Commission site.