Nebraska City, Neb.--The Omaha World-Herald's Branching Out Program, Omaha, Nebraska, will receive a National Arbor Day Foundation 1999 Project Award at a special awards ceremony to be held here Saturday May 1. The ceremony is part of the Arbor Day weekend celebration held in Nebraska City from April 30-May 2. Project Awards recognize outstanding projects that are collaborative activities involving tree planting and environmental stewardship.

The World-Herald launched the Branching Out Program within a week of the devastating snowstorm of October 26, 1997, to help restore the thousands of damaged and destroyed trees. As a result of the program, more than 200,000 trees are being planted in the first year, through such efforts as free tree give-aways, discount coupons, seedling reforestation in area parks, and neighborhood involvement. Branching Out is also recognized for its strong educational and information component. Many of the materials developed for the program have been used in the Northeast and other parts of the country damaged by storms.

Others being honored this year include the other 1999 Project Award winners: Chesapeake Bay Youth Conservation Corps, Cheseapeake,Virginia, for teaching at-risk youth of the value of trees to our environment; the New York City Parks and Recreation Department, for programs like the Street Tree Census and Green Streets of New York; the Rotary Greenway Project, Indianapolis, Indiana, for beautifying 50 blocks of the city by planting 12,000 plants, including 700 trees; and the Living Memorial Tree Planting Program of the Batesville Casket Company, Batesville, Indiana, in recognition of its leadership in reforestation.

The National Arbor Day Foundation is a nonprofit education organization dedicated to tree planting and environmental stewardship.