National Arbor Day Awards Will Honor Tree Planters Worldwide

05/22/07
For more information, contact:
Woody Nelson, 888-448-7337

Nebraska City, Neb. (May 22, 2007) – The National Arbor Day Awards recognize and honor the vision and hard work to a select few tree planters all across the nation and around the world.

There are millions of tree planters in the world today, each one making a difference in the lives of their own community. The 35th annual Arbor Day Awards will honor 14 tree planters whose work has inspired people throughout the world to celebrate trees. The National Arbor Day Foundation’s 35th annual Arbor Day Awards banquet will be held on Saturday, June 2, at Arbor Day Farm’s Lied Lodge & Conference Center.

Sebastian Chuwa, a tree planter from Moshi, Tanzania, Africa, will be at Arbor Day Farm to receive the J. Sterling Morton Award, the highest individual honor given by The National Arbor Day Foundation for exemplary work at the national or international level.

Chuwa, a botanist, has been studying the environmental problems in Tanzania for more than 30 years, and his solutions have benefited the land but also the people who depend on it for sustenance. Since 1992, Chuwa has established more than 50 clubs to teach youth about the need to conserve. He has also inspired the founding of women’s tree-planting groups, and he actively works with Roots and Shoots, a youth conservation foundation run by Jane Goodall. Chuwa has helped plant more than 1 million African Blackwood trees in Tanzania, and has helped create nurseries to lead the reforestation efforts of the tree that is one of the most highly valued and over harvested plants in Africa.

“Sebastian’s dedication to community-supported initiatives and youth education has inspired a generation in his homeland to plant and celebrate the value of trees,” said John Rosenow, president of the Arbor Day Foundation. “Through his tree-planting efforts, he is making an impact at home and around the world.”

The Arbor Day Foundation has granted the National Arbor Day Awards since 1972. Past winners include Wangari Maathai, who also won a Nobel Peace Prize; Chicago Mayor Richard Daley; former U.S. Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall; veteran newsman Bill Kurtis; the Toyota Motor Corporation; and the Walt Disney Company.

In addition to the J. Sterling Morton Award, The National Arbor Day Foundation will honor 13 individuals, seven tree-planting organizations and two companies who have supported major tree-planting efforts during the Arbor Day Awards banquet. Also receiving an award are:

Chuck Leavell, the keyboardist for the Rolling Stones, is one of three recipients of the Media Award, given in recognition of the power of the media to capture the imagination of the public. Leavell, who has spent more than 20 years with the Rolling Stones and is often referred to as the sixth member of the band, will be honored for authoring, along with Nicholas Cravotta, The Tree Farmer. The storybook is about the vital role trees play in our everyday lives told from the perspective of a grandfather to his young grandson.

Majora Carter, Bronx, N.Y., recipient of the Lawrence Enersen Award for outstanding tree planting and conservation work at the community level. Carter, a lifelong resident of the Bronx, founded Sustainable South Bronx in 2001, which addresses land use, energy, transportation, water and waste policy to inspire solutions to revitalize the area. Sustainable South Bronx has started the Smart Roof Project, which promotes “green” roofs in the neighborhood, and the Bronx Environmental Stewardship Training program, which offers residents the opportunity to gain skills and certification in ecological restoration, hazardous waste cleanup, and landscaping. She is also leading the South Bronx Feasibility Study, a community-led plan to create a bicycle/pedestrian greenway along the South Bronx waterfront.

The National Football League’s Environmental Program will receive a Project Award for its Carbon Neutral Project, which addresses impacting the environment at the site of the Super Bowl. Through this project, the NFL has planted trees before the previous three Super Bowls to offset the estimated release of carbon as a result of Super Bowl-related events. Planting initiatives are helping to restore habitat in Florida’s pineland preserves, mangrove forests, Biscayne Bay, and Everglades National Park. The NFL has also begun the Super School Tree Nursery Project, which teams local schools with tree-planting agencies. Project Awards are given to recognize outstanding collaborative efforts involving tree planting and environmental stewardship.

TREEmendous Arbor Day of Arapahoe, Neb., will receive the Celebration Award, which goes to the school, community, or state program that best represents the spirit of the tree planters’ holiday. TREEmendous Arbor Day was the brainchild of teacher George Probasco, who wanted to engage as many students as possible in an Arbor Day celebration. Middle and high school students were selected to demonstrate and explain tree-related activities to elementary students, while high school choral groups sang ‘Arbor Day’ songs and presented a play about tree planting. More than 600 elementary students participated in the event and each received a sapling to plant at home.

Enterprise Rent-A-Car and The Home Depot Foundation are the recipients of the Promise to the Earth Award, which recognizes sustained commitment and leadership by a corporation that joins with the Arbor Day Foundation on special projects. Enterprise Rent-A-Car has pledged $1 million a year for the next 50 years to plant trees in national forests that have been damaged by wildfire.

The Home Depot Foundation partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation on a nationwide tree-planting campaign in 20 cities during the past two years in which 2,000 trees were added urban forests. School children in each city helped plant the trees to add beauty, purify the air, and create shade for their community.

Ray Tretheway of Sacramento, Calif., will receive the Frederick Law Olmsted Award for exemplary tree planting and conservation work at the state or regional level. Tretheway, a city councilman for Sacramento, serves as the executive director of the Sacramento Tree Foundation, which is dedicated to educating people about the importance of trees and mobilizing citizens to plant and care for trees. He has also worked with the Alliance for Community Trees and California ReLeaf.

Ruth Wilson of Bowling Green, Ohio, will receive the Caroline French Morton Award, which was established to honor the spirit of stewardship of its namesake. Wilson is a professor emeritus of special education at Bowling Green State University and is considered one of the nation’s foremost experts on the need for connecting young children with nature. She has written numerous books and articles on the subject and her aim is for children to learn respect and appreciation for nature, as well as to develop a sense of wonder.

James Huff of Taylorsville, Miss., Bob and Margaret Kintigh of Springfield, Ore., and Steve Woodard of Cottage Grove, Ore., are the recipients of the Good Steward Award. The award honors those who practice stewardship through conservation work on private land.

Huff is a pine tree farmer and a noted conservationist who believes no portion of a tree should go unused. He has planted countless trees, not only on his land but he also helps others. Even though his farm was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, Huff helped others plant trees. He served on the Rebuilding Commission for the State of Mississippi following Katrina.

Bob and Margaret Kintigh were named the 2006 Tree Farmers of the Year by the American Forest Foundation. Through careful tree-planting efforts, the Kintighs turned their ranch into a productive Christmas tree farm. Bob worked as an state senator from 1997-99, and was instrumental in creating the Oregon Afforestation Act of 1995 that provides landowners incentives to plant trees not currently supporting a forest.

Woodard, a retired Oregon State University extension forester, owns a 200-acre tree farm in Lane County, Ore. He selectively harvests about 30 truckloads of wood each year while he reforests that land with about 7,000 mixed conifers each year. He has also created ponds and wetlands to improve habitat for deer, ducks and other wildlife species. He spearheaded the effort to provide logs and timbers for Lied Lodge & Conference Center, and even donated a truckload of giant logs from his own property.

In addition to the NFL Environment Program, Planting For Growth from Weed, Calif.; the Mississippi Audubon; and the Sycamore Land Trust from Bloomington, Ind., will be presented with a Project Award.

Planting for Growth, a project of the Pacific Northwest District of Kiwanis International, was created to recognize new members in the district. Planting for Growth plants a tree for each new member, and to date more than 12,000 trees have been planted in local communities. The project also inspired local Kiwanis Clubs to schedule work days in city parks and recreation areas to become involved in beautification efforts.

The Sycamore Land Trust’s mission is to preserve the disappearing landscape of south-central Indiana. So far, it has protected more than 3,700 acres in eight counties for future generations to enjoy. The Land Trust also sponsors an environmental education program aimed at enhancing the appreciation of nature. It has planted more than 54,000 trees since 1997 in area parks.

Mississippi Audubon collaborated with The National Arbor Day Foundation on the Katrina Tree Recovery Program. More than 64,000 trees have been distributed to gulf area residents in the aftermath of the hurricane.

Earl and Wanda Barrs of Buckley County, Ga., the City of Kent (Wash.) Youth Tree Education Program, and Tree Amigos 4H Club of Anniston, Ala., will be presented with an Education Award. Education Awards recognizes model programs throughout the United States and the world.

For 30 years, Earl and Wanda Barrs have hosted forestry education field trips to their tree farm, Gully Branch. More than 5,000 pre-kindergarten to high school-aged students have visited the farm to learn about the importance of stewardship. Wanda Barrs was named the Educator of the Year by National Project Learning Tree, and she also serves as chair of the Georgia State Board of Education.

The City of Kent’s Youth Tree Education Program started in 2000, and this year nearly 400 students helped plant trees in area parks for Arbor Day. Each year, city staff members visit local schools and teach students the proper way to plant trees, and are then given a native tree or shrub to plant at school and monitor the growth of the plant. At the end of the year, students then plant their tree at home or a local park for National Make a Difference Day.

The Tree Amigos 4H Club is a horticultural therapy program started by David West of the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service. This program joined Calhoun County master gardeners with offenders housed at Coosa Valley Youth Services. A greenhouse and nursery were built, and plants propagated there by the students are sold two or three times of the year to the community. Students can also earn credit towards a high school diploma by participating in the program.

The Leaf Man, by Lois Ehlert of Milwaukee, and TREE: A New Vision of the American Forest, by James Balog of Boulder, Colo., will be presented with the Media Award. The Media award is given in recognition of the power of the media to capture the imagination of the public.

Ehlert’s The Leaf Man is a collection of leaves she found during her travels across the country. The book contains die-cut offerings of various leaves, and the author takes the reader on a journey of where the leaves may have traveled by the wind.

TREE: A New Vision of the American Forest is a celebration of state and national champion species. Balog, an acclaimed photographer, climbed atop neighboring trees to capture species of some of the nation’s best and oldest trees.

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About the Arbor Day Foundation: The Arbor Day Foundation is a nonprofit environmental and education organization of nearly one million members, with a mission to inspire people to plant, nurture, and celebrate trees. More information on the Foundation and its programs can be found at www.arborday.