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Who are the People in your Neighborhood?

Get to know your friendly Denver forester

The folks on Sesame Street used to sing a song asking if we knew who the people in our neighborhood were. The idea was to teach the viewers about the different ways people could show up for their neighborhood, to help make it a better place for all who live there.

Which got us thinking: Denver is our shared neighborhood. Do you know the people in your neighborhood? While we can’t introduce you to everyone, we can introduce you to the people in your neighborhood who take care of the city’s urban canopy.

Denver Forestry actively maintains the trees in Denver parks, parkways and public office buildings, and monitors the trees within the public rights-of-way, as they are Denver assets. Its mission is to protect, preserve and renew Denver’s urban forest.

Denver’s Urban Foresters stay busy with planning, researching and working with partners, advocating for trees, planting new trees, providing expert advice on tree care and, in general, getting the work done that keeps trees growing in our neighborhoods. Not only do they have the education and experience for the job, they also have a shared passion for the trees.

Let’s get to know a little bit about them, and why they choose to work in the trees:


Mike Swanson Denver Forester
Mike’s favorite tree in Denver is the Bur Oak – Quercus Macrocarpa.

Mike is the City Forester, which means he directs the activities of the Office of City Forester and its four work groups: Programs, Inspections, Plan Review and Field Operations.

Mike’s maternal grandmother instilled the love of trees and ecology in him as a young man, and eventually, after some journeying, he found his way back to that love and has made it a career of over thirty-three years.

“I’m a simple guy – I love to read, write, hike and watch my twin boys play basketball.”

Mike can hold a tree pose too, as he holds his 200 RYT in the practice of yoga. As he prepares for life after the Office of the City Forester, he is slowly learning the art and sport of fly fishing.

Denver Forester Lauren Abram
Lauren’s favorite tree in Denver is a massive American Sycamore in her neighborhood.


Lauren is a Forestry Program Coordinator, which means she helps manage and run the various tree planting and removal programs at the office of the City Forester.

Lauren studied environmental science in college, focusing on human-environment interactions and shares that urban forestry is a true interface of that. Lauren holds a Master of Science ecosystem sustainability, having studied the role trees play in energy savings.

“I love sycamores because of their unique bark – so even when they are without leaves in the winter, they are still visually impactful.”

In her free time, Lauren can be found in the ceramics studio, creating wheel-thrown and hand-built ceramics, as well as drawing, painting or otherwise creating.


Denver Forester Elizabeth Judd.
Elizabeth’s favorite tree in Denver is the Kentucky Coffee tree, as it is resilient, adaptable and grows into a great shape.

Elizabeth’s role is unique – she provides overarching support for everything already happening in the department. She works with the public as well as other departments to identify how to use resources better, what changes to make and what programs could reach more people. She is built for this job!

As a child, Elizabeth spent all her time outside. When she learned that landscape architecture was actually a degree, she was elated, and has been on this path ever since.

Elizabeth says her favorite tree, the Kentucky Coffee Tree, “remind me of my favorite tree that can’t grow in Denver – the adaptable and (changing) Katsura.”

Elizabeth has worked on all sides of trees – from homes to national parks and now the city. The goal is always the same: We need more trees!


Denver Forester Jim Myer
Jim’s favorite tree in Denver isn’t a particular tree, but just any Japanese Pagoda.

Jim is the Forestry Manager, which means he helps guide teams that are responsible for tree planting, health, public safety and development plan review.

He’s had a long career in arboriculture and has always been an outdoors person, concerned with the treatment of our natural environment.

When sharing about his favorite tree, the Japanese Pagoda, Jim said, “so many things about this tree–unique habit, bark, flowers, fruit, all season interest, great history and lore and use as a medicinal herb.”

When he’s not at work, you can find him running, biking, camping and hiking.


Denver Forester Hannah Romano.
Her favorite tree in Denver is the Northern Red Oak.

Hannah is a Forestry Program Coordinator, which means she helps the local community by directly improving and impacting the urban forests of our City and County.

She’s studied Sudden Oak Death in Northern California and found her passion for trees by working with and researching plants in college. As part of her post-grad AmeriCorps service, she also worked with the Environmental Center of San Luis Obispo to establish a new urban tree planting program.

In her spare time, she enjoys paintings and drawing scenes of the local streets in Denver.


Denver Forester Doug Schoch.
Doug’s favorite tree in Denver is the Giant Sequoia in Villa Park.

Doug is Denver’s Forestry Supervisor. That means he oversees the programs team and assists in the implementation and coordination of the Be A Smart Ash, GAP tree removal and replacement and Forestry Neighborhood Initiative tree programs.

Doug realized he was a “tree guy” when he was studying landscape horticulture at CSU. He naturally began to develop a deeper interest in trees.

“The diversity of tree species and their resiliency is fascinating.”

When he’s not rooted in tree work, Doug’s an avid road cyclist and birder.




Have a question for your city foresters? Email or call Denver’s Office of the City Forester at 720-913-0651.