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National Arbor Day Foundation to Honor Recipients Of Arbor Day Awards

date 03/21/05

For more information, contact

Jeff Salem, Director of Communications & Public Relations,   email

NEBRASKA CITY, Neb., April 2, 2005 -- The National Arbor Day Foundation will honor leaders in tree planting and environmental stewardship at the 33rd annual Arbor Day Awards banquet held on Saturday, April 30. The awards ceremony is part of the celebration held each year in Nebraska City, the birthplace of Arbor Day, to commemorate National Arbor Day.

Award winners are recognized for their leadership in the cause of tree planting, conservation, and environmental stewardship. The 2005 National Arbor Day Award honorees are:

-- Dr. Pedro Sanchez, winner of the J. Sterling Morton Award. The Morton Award is the Foundation's highest individual honor, given for exemplary work at the national or international level. While he was the director general of the International Center for Research on Agroforestry (ICRAF), Dr. Sanchez discovered that African agricultural production lagged due to the extremely depleted nature of the soil. He then developed means to replenish crucial nutrients through the development and promotion of agroforestry practices. Farmers in Africa are now able to fertilize their soils inexpensively and naturally by planting trees and combining this practice with adding locally available rock phosphate to the soil. This has increased yields 200-400% above previous plantings for 150,000 small-scale farmers using this method.

-- Huey Johnson, San Francisco, California., recipient of the Frederick Law Olmsted Award. The award recognizes exemplary tree planting and conservation work at the state or regional level. Johnson was an important part of crafting policies for the preservation of natural resources as secretary of Natural Resources in California. He helped create the Trust for Public Land, whose aim is to save open spaces for America's urban areas. Johnson also founded the Resource Renewal Institute in 1985, with the mission of helping develop green plans both nationally and internationally. In addition, Johnson started the Grand Canyon Trust to protect the canyon area of the Colorado plateau.

-- Bob Bickelhaupt, Clinton, Iowa, one of two recipients of a 2005 Lawrence Enersen Award for outstanding tree planting and conservation work at the community level. He and his wife founded the Bickelhaupt Arboretum, which welcomes more than 20,000 visitors every year. Boasting a visitor center, a meeting space, and a library, the arboretum also hosts education programs with Eastern Iowa Community College to provide comprehensive environmental education for children and adults. With more than 2,000 labeled plantings, the arboretum has one of the ten best conifer collections in the country. The arboretum also hosts a National Display Garden for the American Hosta Association.

-- Alan Hirsch, Sacramento, California, winner of a 2005 Lawrence Enersen Award in recognition of his efforts to organize, fund, and lead tree planting projects as an ongoing challenge. Hirsch is the founder and driving force behind the Arden Street Tree Program, which has mobilized more than 1,000 people to get involved in planting trees. In response to the more than 2,000 diseased and dying Modesto Ash trees in Sacramento County, Hirsch organized his program to replant these trees on privately owned front yards where there was no previous organized or consistent effort to replant them.

-- Henry Kernan, Albany, New York, one of two recipients of this year's Good Steward Award. The award recognizes those who practice stewardship through conservation work on private land. After graduating from Yale Forestry School in 1941, Kernan went to the Andes of South America to search for the cinchona tree, a source of the quinine that was the only remedy for malaria at the time. He later worked with the United Nations Mission to Bolivia on forestry issues and taught sustainable forestry practices in many other countries. In all, Kernan helped improve conditions in 45 countries and founded the Forestry School in Spain. Back at home in the United States, Kernan purchased 1,200 acres of forest where today he shares his knowledge with visitors. He currently hosts "Woods Walks" for area nature groups and, in an annual May give-away, has distributed more than 50,000 seedling trees.

-- Dr. Lawrence Burtner, Harrisonburg, Virginia, winner of the second 2005 Good Steward Award, carefully manages his nearly 400 acres to slow urbanization and replenish overgrazed areas. Selling 25 acres for a new elementary school, Burtner has created ponds, picnic shelters, small wetlands, and wildlife habitat on the land. In addition to a sizeable garden space for himself, Burtner worked with the local school board to create a cross country track that runs through the property and is used by local high schools, colleges, and universities. Local schools enjoy Burtner's farm for field trips and a unique opportunity to learn about trees and plants and their relationship to the environment.

-- Interstate MAX Yellow Line, Portland, Oregon, winner of a 2005 Lady Bird Johnson award for exemplary leadership in roadside beautification. In May of 2004, Portland, Oregon's TriMet light rail system finished a four-year project extending the rail service 5.8 miles. The $350 million project committed itself to making the new stretch one of the greenest in the nation. By the time work was completed, more than 20,000 trees and shrubs had been planted and properly cared for to ensure their survivability. TriMet also expanded an existing wetland area that was adjacent to the Portland International Raceway and worked with local neighborhood associations to relocate 35 trees that would have been in danger due to the construction.

--Texas Department of Transportation, Houston, Texas, winner of the second 2005 Lady Bird Johnson award. The Texas Department of Transportation went to great lengths to beautify Houston, which served as host of the 2004 National Football League's Super Bowl and Major League Baseball's All-Star Game. Having only 120 days to complete four major beautification efforts, the project involved planting nearly 30,000 native oak, pine, elm, sweetgum, baldcypress, ash, laurel, and palm trees. The plantings were carried out along 32 miles of corridor highways leading into Reliant Stadium and the Astro's new ballpark.

-- Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, Seattle, Washington, winner of one of five Project Awards, given in recognition of outstanding collaborative efforts involving tree planting and environmental stewardship. The Greenway Trust negotiates to buy land that becomes available along the 100-mile corridor along Interstate 90, which runs from Seattle to central Washington. Trails are being created all along the corridor, with the help of thousands of volunteers and major funding from such corporate donors as Boeing and Microsoft. One of the Trust's largest efforts was the campaign to plant "200,000 Trees in 2000." The project was so successful that it exceeded its goal by 30,000. The Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust has also created an educational program that teaches students in King County about the benefits of forests.

-- TREE POWER--Planting Trees for Public Power Customers, Washington, DC, winner of a Project Award for encouraging community owned electric utilities to plant trees within their cities and towns. Launched by the American Public Power Association (APPA) in 1991, TREE POWER is a nationwide effort that shares lists of tree planting and care resources and information on ways to implement, promote, and fund tree planting programs. APPA has recently created a Tree Benefits Estimator to help TREE POWER members measure and track the benefits of planting shade trees, including energy saved and the amount of carbon and CO2 sequestered. Now with more than 230 member utilities participating, TREE POWER is a powerful education and community relations program representing 35 states.

-- International Olympic Committee, Switzerland, winner of a 2005 Project Award. In 1994 the Sport and Environment Commission was created by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to promote sustainable development and wise environmental stewardship. In association with the United Nations Environmental Programme, this commission established the Olympic Movement's Agenda 21, a reference tool for the world's sports community to help protect and enhance the environment. Because of this movement, all cities bidding to host Olympic Games must now provide a detailed environmental plan stressing the creation of parks and green spaces, utilization of green building, water conservation, and recycling components.

--Burnham Park Association, Morris Township, New Jersey, recipient of a Project Award for its commitment to stewardship, conservation, beautification, and protection of natural and historical resources. Founded in 1948, the all-volunteer Burnham Park Association represents about 450 households in Morris Township. Since the late 1980s, the association has sponsored an annual Arbor Day celebration in Burnham Park, with more than 2,000 trees having been planted since then. The association has preserved 18 acres of Jones Woods, an area of mature woodlands that today is used as a classroom by local schools. It has also worked to protect local streams and improve water quality by creating riparian buffer zones.

--OPPD Arboretum, Omaha, Nebraska, winner of the final 2005 Project Award. The arboretum was created to encourage OPPD customers to plant trees for energy conservation and beauty, and to illustrate proper tree planting and care under and around power lines. The arboretum features extensive interpretive signage and paved trails to ensure year round use. A special Electrical Safety Education Area teaches visitors how to safely plant near lines and ground-mounted equipment. The Arboretum features some 1,000 trees and shrubs from more than 200 different species.

-- TreeKeepers Kids, Detroit, Michigan, winner of one of two 2005 Education Awards in recognition of educational programs that are worthy models for others. TreeKeepers Kids (TKK), a program of The Greening of Detroit, reaches children in grades K-12. Through TKK, children learn about nature first-hand as they design and implement a wildlife habitat on school grounds. Integrating into the science, math, social studies, and music curricula, the program now directly involves nearly 5,000 students in 34 schools, with 1,520 more students benefiting indirectly through the beautification of their schools. TKK has been able to expand with the help organizations including the Toyota USA Foundation, Ford Motor, Allstate, and the Garden Club of America.

-- Take a Tree Walk, written by Jane Kirkland and published by Stillwater Publishing, Lionville, Pennsylvania, winner of the second 2005 Education Award. Take a Tree Walk is a vividly illustrated book that takes young readers on a walk to learn about trees. It features learning activities, designed to inspire young readers to begin their own real-life adventure-the search to find and identify trees. Through Take a Tree Walk, Jane Kirkland encourages readers to explore the natural world around them.

-- Arboretum America, by Diana Beresford Kroeger, winner of a 2005 Media Award in recognition of the power of the media to capture the imagination of the public. Kroeger wrote Arboretum America to teach that the salvation of the planet will be achieved through trees. She focuses on diverse tree groups and their connection to the natural world, considering how each group uses trees to promote health or to counteract the effects of pollution and global warming. The book covers a wide range of topics, including the history of trees in Native American cultures and the traditional medicinal uses of trees. Arboretum America outlines practical ideas and design tips for where to plant trees, natural organic tree care, and the use of other plants to complement trees.

-- Native Trees for North American Landscapes, by Guy Sternberg with Jim Wilson, published by the Timber Press, Portland, Oregon, winner of the second 2005 Media Award. Sternberg and Wilson share their extensive horticultural knowledge in this comprehensive cross section of trees native to North America. The main section of the book is divided into tree profiles, each describing flowers and fruit, native and adaptive range, culture, and problems. The authors also list the best seasonal features, from striking bark in winter, to bright fall fruit. In all, the authors discuss more than 650 species and varieties and more than 500 cultivars. Sternberg is a landscape architect and an arborist, while Wilson is a veteran horticulturist and host of the respected PBS Victory Garden television series.

-- The Fairbanks Arbor Day Committee, Fairbanks, Alaska, winner of a 2005 Celebration Award in recognition of schools, communities, and state programs that best represent the spirit of the tree planters' holiday. Started in 1983, the committee planned what is thought to be the first public Arbor Day celebration in the interior of Alaska and the farthest North Arbor Day Celebration. With four original members still active in the committee, the focus of the celebration has always been on school children. The committee distributes trees to schools each year and participates in tree plantings during school Arbor Day celebrations. They also plan a larger scale celebration with mayors from Fairbanks, Fairbanks North Star Borough, and the City of North Pole.

-- Arborfest 2004-Grand Junction's Arbor Day Celebration, Grand Junction, Colorado, winner of this year's second Celebration Award. Grand Junction has developed events and community wide planting projects to keep the city's urban forest alive and strong. Providing a fun and exciting educational experience for children and adults alike, their celebration takes place over two days. The first is a student program, and the second appeals to the entire family. Planners went a step farther in 2004, combining the SouthWest Fest, which highlights farming and ranching, with Arborfest. The joint celebration attracted more than 10,000 people and made possible citywide tree plantings, hands-on demonstration areas, tree seedling giveaways, and such social events as a chili cook-off.

--Albertsons Inc., Boise, Idaho, recipient of the 2005 Promise to the Earth Award. The award recognizes sustained commitment and leadership by a corporation that joins with the Arbor Day Foundation on special projects. Albertsons, one of the world’s largest food and drug retailers, sold the Foundation’s Gift Trees across the nation around the time of Arbor Day 2004. These trees were stored in specially designed, recyclable plastic tubes that included instructions for converting the tube into a bird feeder. A portion of the proceeds helped support the Foundation’s tree-planting efforts. These packaged conifer seedlings were sold in their appropriate growing zones and were available in the floral department and gift aisles.

The National Arbor Day Foundation is a nonprofit, environmental education organization that inspires people to plant, nurture, and celebrate trees. More information on the Foundation and the Arbor Day Awards is available by calling 888-448-7337 or by visiting the Foundation's web site,

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