Individuals, Organizations Recognized for Conservation, Tree Planting
Fourteen individuals and organizations are recipients of a 2013 Arbor Day Award in honor of their outstanding contribution to tree planting, conservation and stewardship.
Kemba Shakur, executive director of the Oakland, Calif.-based Urban ReLeaf, will receive the J. Sterling Morton Award, the highest honor given by the foundation. Shakur works with low-income communities to plant trees, mentor young people and build neighborhood leaders, and Urban ReLeaf has distributed more than 15,000 trees. When Shakur saw that no one else was planting trees in her west Oakland neighborhood, she started to plant them herself. She continued planting in her front yard, on her block, in her neighborhood and, eventually, throughout the City of Oakland.
UPS is the recipient of the Promise to the Earth Award. Working with some of the largest environmental organizations in the world, UPS has supported the planting of more than half a million trees in dozens of countries. UPS also joined a number of public and private groups in donating $200,000 to fund tree planting for the Flight 93 Memorial Project, a 2,200-acre national park in Pennsylvania commemorating those who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001.
Eden Reforestation Projects, a nonprofit based in Glendora, Calif., is the recipient of the Award for Education Innovation. With operations in Haiti, Ethiopia and Madagascar, Eden Projects have supported the planting of 57 million trees and created job opportunities for 3,500 full and partial season employees. Under the Eden Projects model, seedlings are grown, planted as young trees and nurtured to maturity by local residents trained to act as "guards" for the emerging forests.
The City of Punta Gorda, Fla., is the recipient of the Arbor Day Celebration Award. The community-wide event in this city of 16,000 is a model for tree planting for cities of all sizes. About 300 Punta Gorda first-graders participate every year, gaining exposure to a variety of activities and educational materials about the importance of trees.
Dr. Waddell Barnes is the recipient of the Lawrence Enersen Award. Within months of the tragic tornado that struck Middle Georgia State College, former Macon State College, and much of its tree canopy, Dr. Barnes helped develop plans to rebuild the original landscape, gardens and trees. He launched a Campus ReLeaf campaign, ultimately raising tens of thousands of dollars, despite a challenging economy.
The Alliance for Community Trees, based in College Park, Md., is the recipient of the Public Awareness of Trees Award. ACTrees is committed to improving the urban forest environment in cities and towns. The nonprofit celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, and National Neighhorwoods Month in October remains an important community gathering. Last year, more than 800 volunteer events were coordinated by local partners in 290 cities.
Donna Love and Lakeshore Learning Materials are both recipients of the Rachel Carson Award. Under Love's leadership, three certified Nature Explore Classrooms were constructed at Hurlburt and Cannon Air Force bases. Love also worked with the Nature Explore program to set up trainings for personnel staff on other Air Force bases, creating new advocates across the country. As a result of her efforts, the Department of Defense is working with Nature Explore on 60 new classrooms, an impact that will be felt for generations to come. Through keynote addresses and conferences, Lakeshore President Kevin Carnes makes the case that
Plant With Purpose, a nonprofit based in San Diego, Calif., is the recipient of the Good Steward Award. With projects in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Mexico, Tanzania, Burundi and Thailand, Plant With Purpose pursues solutions that preserve land for future generations without harming jobs and livelihoods. Their pioneering work to bring clean stoves-designed to conserve energy and wood, while reducing harmful fumes-has already improved lives and livelihoods.
The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board is the recipient of the Excellence in Volunteer Management Award. Following a May 2011 tornado, the board led several critical volunteer events to replace the lost trees, with saplings brought in from around the country. Nearly 500 people volunteered from neighborhood, civic and corporate groups, meeting the goal of 1,100 new trees planted.
Friends of Grand Rapids Parks is the recipient of the Excellence in Urban Forest Leadership Award. In early 2012, the group began working with city officials on the Urban Forest Project. The project included a crowd-sourced tree map and a review of the city's existing tree ordinance. Hundreds of Grand Rapids residents have already contributed to-and reaped the benefits of-the innovative tool.
The Florida Forest Service, based in Tallahassee, Fla., is the recipient of the Forest Lands Leadership Award. The Florida Forest Service plants millions of trees every year, managing complex ecosystems and serving as a model for state forest agencies throughout the country. The agency has been particularly aggressive in combating forest fires by anticipating disasters and running controlled fires in their place, as well as quickly and effectively replanting native species.
Indiana University Professor Burnell Fischer is the recipient of the Frederick Law Olmsted Award. Hundreds of Indiana communities-both large and small-developed urban forestry programs and hired professional staff as a direct result of his leadership and vision. Fischer was also instrumental to the growth of the Tree Campus USA program, which provides resources and recognition for colleges and universities that make tree care a priority.
The Lost Pines Forest Recovery Campaign, based in College Station, Texas, is the recipient of the Excellence in Partnership Award. The Lost Pines Forest Recovery Campaign is a multi-year, public-private partnership with the goal of raising sufficient funds to plant more than 4 million trees on public and private land destroyed in the September 2011 wildfire. The partnership is comprised of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas A&M Forest Service and the Arbor Day Foundation.
Since 1972, the Arbor Day Foundation has recognized the inspiring and life-changing work of leading environmental stewards and tree planters through the annual Arbor Day Awards. Award winners from previous years include the late Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, the USDA Forest Service, Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Mary Kay Inc.
For more information, visit www.arborday.org.