Arbor Day Foundation Honors 13 Individuals and Organizations for Tree Planting and Conservation

Nebraska City, Neb. (April 21, 2014) – Thirteen individuals and organizations are the recipients of a 2014 Arbor Day Award in honor of their outstanding contribution to tree planting, conservation and stewardship, the Arbor Day Foundation announced today.

This year's ceremony will be held at Lied Lodge & Conference Center, located at Arbor Day Farm in Nebraska City, Nebraska, on Saturday, April 26.

Dr. Kim Coder, Professor of Community Forestry and Tree Health at the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources at the University of Georgia - Athens, will receive the J. Sterling Morton Award, the highest honor bestowed by the Foundation.

Dr. Coder is recognized across the globe as an expert on the effective planning and proper care required to grow and maintain a vital urban and community tree canopy. Seen as a "founding father" in the establishment and evolution of best practices integral to the field of arboriculture, he is also known for his unique ability to effectively engage audiences with his knowledge, passion and visionary leadership.

Other 2014 Arbor Day Award winners are:

Physicians Mutual is the recipient of the Promise to the Earth Award. Physicians Mutual has helped plant 250,000 trees at sites including the Ocala National Forest in Florida, the Huron-Manistee National Forests in Michigan, and Bastrop State Park in Texas. Through the Arbor Day Foundation's Trees In Memory program, Physicians Mutual helps to plant a tree in memory of customers at the time of their death. And through the Trees in Celebration program – also carried out by the Arbor Day Foundation – Physicians Mutual helps to plant a tree in honor of a customer's birthday.

Guy Hager, senior director of Great Parks, Clean Streams, and Green Communities at the Parks & People Foundation of Baltimore, is the recipient of the Lawrence Enersen Award. Hager is a widely admired innovator who has established an effective model for other programs and program leaders to employ in their local community. Hager and his green infrastructure team at Parks & People were recognized by the State of Maryland with an award for innovation in stormwater management for the creation of a new community park with pervious concrete and pavers. Hager also worked to implement his vision for The New Broadway East Community Park by securing the funding, leading the planning and design effort, gathering permits and directing project installation.

Nancy Buley, J. Frank Schmidt & Son Co. communications director, is the recipient of the Frederick Law Olmsted Award. Buley is known by many in the forestry community as someone who builds and nurtures relationships. She is widely viewed as a highly skilled bridge-builder, helping people come together to work toward a common goal and ensuring a seat at the table for a variety of stakeholders. Buley is often described as a creative, out-of-the box thinker and facilitator who builds a "big tent" when exploring issues and creatively visioning the future of urban and community forestry.

City of Tyler, Texas, Mayor Barbara Bass is the recipient of the Champion of Trees Public Service Award. On April 30, 2010, City of Tyler Mayor Barbara Bass announced the Tree Tyler Initiative with the goal to plant 5,000 trees in 5 years. The Tree Tyler Initiative is championed by Mayor Bass, and she has rolled up her sleeves to ensure that the goal is reached. As of February 28, 2013 the City of Tyler had added more than 5,500 trees to their urban canopy, thereby surpassing their lofty goal years early, due in large part to the efforts of Mayor Bass.

The American Chestnut Foundation, headquartered in Asheville, North Carolina, is the recipient of the Public Awareness of Trees Award. The American Chestnut Foundation is restoring a species - and creating public awareness of a valuable template for restoration of other species. The return of the chestnut to its former niche in the Appalachian hardwood forest ecosystem is a major restoration project that requires a multi-faceted effort involving extensive public awareness. The Foundation's 16 state chapters represent more than 5,000 members who reach out in a myriad of ways to generate public awareness of the story of the American Chestnut and to help educate the next generation of American Chestnut planters, stewards and caretakers.

Delaware Center for Horticulture Return-to-Work Green Jobs program, a nonprofit located in Wilmington, Delaware, is the recipient of the Award for Education Innovation. The Return to Work Green Jobs Program is a leading model for providing urban forestry skills to ex-offenders. Since its inception in 2009, dozens of ex-offenders – men and women – have received classroom and field training, and have been gainfully employed.

Eisenhower Elementary School, in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, is the recipient of the Arbor Day Celebration Award. Each and every year for the past 6 years, more than 300 seedlings are distributed to Eisenhower Elementary School students on Arbor Day, resulting in nearly 2,000 trees planted by students in the community.

Forest ReLeaf of Missouri is the recipient of the Excellence in Urban Forest Leadership Award. Since 1993, Forest ReLeaf of Missouri has planted more than 120,000 trees in communities of highest need, including more than 4,000 trees provided to Joplin as part of the replanting efforts in the aftermath of the devastating May, 2011 tornado. Touching 40-50 communities per year, Forest ReLeaf has helped to restore the urban tree canopy and -- more importantly – helped to restore hope in communities, like Jopin, devastated by disaster and working to rebuild and recover.

The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is the recipient of the Rachel Carson Award. LAUSD is taking a national leadership role in making meaningful connections with nature part of the daily lives of the children it serves. Its Early Education Center Nature Explore Classrooms are designed to enable the District's youngest learners to acquire a deep, hands-on understanding of the natural world. LAUSD has made an initial commitment to develop 11 Early Education Center Nature Explore Classrooms. The outdoor classroom experience has proven to be transformative -- children are calmer and more focused on learning, have fewer injuries and improved problem-solving skills.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is the recipient of the Forest Lands Leadership Award. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has planted approximately 3 million trees on nearly 7,000 acres of former row crop land since the inception of a bottomland hardwood forest restoration program. Additionally, more than 20,000 acres of naturally-regenerated forest land of varying ages and composition are owned by the Agency.

Tree Canada, headquartered in Ottawa, is the recipient of the recipient of the Excellence in Partnership Award. Tree Canada develops programs in partnership with the private and public sectors, communities and individual Canadians, to maintain a healthy environment through sustaining urban and rural forests. As Canada's largest nonprofit tree planting organization, Tree Canada has effectively facilitated tree planting partnerships for more than two decades.

The University of California - Irvine Shadetree Nursery is the recipient of the Excellence in Volunteer Management Award. In its 19th year of service to the community, the University of California - Irvine Shadetree Nursery program continues to lead the way in expanding the local tree canopy largely through volunteer efforts with more than 30,000 shade trees planted through volunteer tree planting projects.

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 United States Forest Service, Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Mary Kay, Inc.

About the Arbor Day Foundation: The Arbor Day Foundation is a million member nonprofit conservation and education organization with the mission to inspire people to plant, nurture, and celebrate trees. More information is available at