Arbor Day Foundation Honors 17 Individuals and Organizations for Tree Planting and Conservation

Lincoln, Neb. (April 25, 2016) – Seventeen individuals and organizations are the recipients of a 2016 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 30.

Dr. Gerard Donnelly, President and CEO of the Morton Arboretum, will receive the J. Sterling Morton Award, the highest honor given by the Foundation.

Dr. Donnelly of Lisle, Illinois, is a trained botanist and forest ecologist. He has served as the president and CEO of the Morton Arboretum since 1990. Morton Arboretum is one of the leading arboretum and tree-focused botanical gardens in the world. Since taking on this leadership role, Dr. Donnelly has grown the arboretum's programs in plant collections, education, science, and conservation. This work has positioned the arboretum as a world leader in tree and plant research as well as education.

Wyndham Vacation Ownership is the recipient of the Legacy of Partnership Award. Wyndham Vacation Ownership has engaged with the Arbor Day Foundation to support the Rainforest Rescue Shade Grown Coffee program. They have provided more than 250,000 pounds of shade grown coffee each year to their guests, resulting in the preservation and protection of more than 27 million square feet of critical forest lands. Since 1993, Lied Lodge and Conference Center has been an important convening space for learning, inspiration and collaboration for hundreds of thousands of visitors and guests. In 2015, Wyndham Vacation Ownership played a critical role in the renewal and renovation of Lied Lodge and Conference Center. They stepped up and challenged their many partners and vendors around the nation to help in the renewal.

Warranty Solutions is the recipient of the Promise to the Earth Award. Warranty Solutions plants 25 trees for each EcoMind customer through the Arbor Day Foundation and has supported planting projects in twelve different states and national forests. To date Warranty Solutions, together with more than 56,000 of their customers, have reduced emissions and planted more than 1.5 million trees throughout the United States.

The City of Billings, Montana is the recipient of the Arbor Day Celebration Award. In 2015, more than 500 school children gathered at Riverside Park in Billings to celebrate Arbor Day. Students from a dozen elementary schools experienced hands-on learning through environmental education stations. The education stations allowed the children to learn about trees, insects, and water quality. In addition to the hundreds of students learning about the environment, more than 180 adult volunteers planted and pruned trees.

Dr. Gary Johnson, of St. Paul, Minnesota, is the recipient of the Frederick Law Olmsted Award. Dr. Johnson has served as the Extension Professor of Urban and Community Forestry at the University of Minnesota for the past 25 years. His research is dedicated to urban forest health and he has a strong hold in community outreach. He has helped numerous agricultural-based communities throughout Minnesota develop tree care programs that were otherwise inexistent.

Anna Dooley is the recipient of the Lawrence Enersen Award. A lifetime resident of Jacksonville, Florida, Dooley has worked as a longtime advocate for tree planting and conservation, protecting the areas tree canopies and planting thousands of new trees. Since 1997, Dooley has served as the executive director of the nonprofit organization, Greenscape of Jacksonville, Inc., a grassroots group that is credited with planting nearly 250,000 trees in Jacksonville since it was created more than 37 years ago. Dooley has inspired many innovative public and private partnerships, as well as thousands of individual volunteers, to engage and transform Jacksonville.

The Good Steward Award is being presented to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. For the last 40 years, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, a unique private lands management collaboration, has been working to save the national treasure that is the Chesapeake Bay. With support from thousands of volunteers, partner organizations and donors, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation has planted more than 2.2 million trees, restored 6,000 acres of wetlands and has added almost 20,000 acres of forested buffers along stream banks.

Tree Musketeers is receiving the Excellence in Volunteer Management Award. Tree Musketeers is the first youth-led environmental organization aimed at empowering young people to become environmental leaders. Based in El Segundo, California, the organization and its day-to-day operations are managed entirely by youths between the ages of 10 and 18. Their 28th Arbor Day celebration was one of the largest events organized by Tree Musketeers, drawing in more than 400 volunteers of all ages to plant and care for trees along Imperial Highway.

The Indiana Association for Education of Young Children is the recipient of the Rachel Carson Award. Through their ongoing research, the Indiana Association for Education of Young Children has found that nature provides multiple learning and development benefits for the children for which they serve. These efforts are being witnessed in new, nature-rich outdoor classrooms springing up all over the state, encouraging educators to continue to connect their pupils with nature. Additionally, the organization has trained local professionals and formed partnerships getting local communities involved in tree plantings and advanced education techniques.

Nelda Matheny and Dr. James Clark are the recipients of the Excellence in Urban Forestry Leadership Award. Matheny and Dr. Clark of Pleasanton, California are working partners at HortScience--a consulting firm offering arboricultural and urban forestry consulting services. They have co-authored four books together, which are used internationally as college texts, and as essential library references. Matheny gives lectures and trainings to tree care professionals around the world and serves as a model for other females in the industry. Dr. Clark has more than two decades of technical research and practical experience in urban forest planning and tree preservation.

The Atlanta Beltline Arboretum is receiving the Excellence in Partnership Award. The Atlanta Beltline Arboretum is part of an urban renewal project organized by the Atlanta community. It is amongst one of the largest, most wide-ranging urban development programs underway in the United States, connecting 45 neighborhoods together through trails and green space. The Atlanta Beltline Project was a collaborative effort between multiple government, non-profit, private and philanthropic partners, including Atlanta Beltline Inc., the Atlanta Beltline Partnership and the City of Atlanta.

The Forest Lands Leadership Award is being given to Ducks Unlimited of Memphis, Tennessee. Since 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 30 million acres of public wetlands across North America and raised nearly 3.5 billion dollars toward conservation. Their partners have included all 50 state wildlife agencies, private landowners, private conservation organizations and local governments.

California ReLeaf is the recipient of the Public Awareness of Trees Award. California ReLeaf will be recognized for their work on the "Save our Water and our Trees!" campaign--a statewide initiative aimed at raising awareness on the importance of proper tree care during California's historic drought. Partnering with the California Department of Water Resources and California's official statewide conservation education program "Save our Water and our Trees!" gives residents and agencies tips on how to water and care for trees during drought to ensure survival.

The Champion of Trees Award is being bestowed to Leif Dormsjo--Director of the District Department of Transportation--and Tommy Wells-- Director of the District Department of Energy and Environment. Dormsjo and Wells were integral players in the launch of Canopy 3000--a public-private partnership to plant 3,000 trees in Washington D.C. in the year 2016. The campaign is part of a broader initiative to increase the District's tree canopy by 40% by the year 2032.

Greening of Detroit is the recipient of the Award for Education Innovation. Greening of Detroit engages adults and youths in urban forestry education, job training and other community programs dedicated to revitalizing vacant lots into community gardens and tree nurseries. More than 350 Detroiters have graduated from the Greenings' adult workforce program in the last five years. Additionally, the organization employs more than 150 youths to work on planting projects every summer, and more than 1,500 community gardens have been created or supported as a result of the Urban Agriculture Adult Apprenticeship program.

Since 1972, the Arbor Day Foundation has recognized the inspiring and life-changing work of leading environmental stewards and tree planters through their 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, and Enterprise Rent-A-Car.

About the Arbor Day Foundation
Founded in 1972, the Arbor Day Foundation has grown to become the largest nonprofit membership organization dedicated to planting trees, with more than one million members, supporters, and valued partners. During the last 44 years, more than 250 million Arbor Day Foundation trees have been planted in neighborhoods, communities, cities and forests throughout the world.