Vinnie began his interest in urban forestry while working as an intern for a Landscape Architect who supervised street tree plantings in his native city, New York. Upon completion of his bachelor’s degree he found himself employed by the City of New York as an urban forester. It was there that he gained valuable experience in species and site selection, contracting work, inspecting nursery stock, tree hazard evaluation, inventorying practices, and community and public relations. Vinnie left a position with New York City Parks Department as Street Tree Planting Coordinator for the Borough of Brooklyn, New York.
Since 1991 Vinnie has worked for Penn State University as a Regional Urban Forester and educator covering 18 counties in Northeastern Pennsylvania. He has worked with many municipalities and organizations to develop community forestry programs and the green industry providing technical assistance and educational programming. More recently he has worked with municipalities and engineers on green infrastructure projects to manage urban stormwater. As a Penn State Extension Urban Forester, he has developed educational programs and presented throughout Pennsylvania on various topics ranging from tree species selection, planting and proper tree pruning practices to establishing shade tree commission, inventorying trees, developing shade tree ordinances, and managing stormwater.
He has presented at national conferences including the 1996 National Arbor Day Foundation's Tree City USA Conference, the 1999 National Urban Forests Conference in Seattle, the 2008 and the 2010 Partners in Community Forestry Conference. Mr. Cotrone has been a member of the International Society of Arboriculture since 1987 and an ISA certified arborist since 1993. In 1995, he was awarded the Northeastern Pennsylvania Environmental Partnership Award for forging environmental partnerships and bringing protection and stewardship to Northeastern Pennsylvania environmental resources. In 1996, he received the Urban & Community Forestry Agency Achievement Award for his work in Pennsylvania. In 2009, the Urban Forestry Program received the Extension Director’s Team Award for their work across the Commonwealth.