Wisconsin tree champions lauded for outstanding community service

CONTACT: Sara Minkoff, DNR Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council liaison, 608-669-5447, Sara.Minkoff@wisconsin.gov

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council recently announced award recipients honoring those dedicated to protecting, preserving and increasing the number of trees that line city streets, fill community parks and beautify neighborhoods throughout the state. The Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council advises the Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry on the management of urban and community forest resources.

“These awards honor individuals, organizations and communities for their hard work and dedication to trees and the critical benefits they provide,” said Kristin Gies, chair of the Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council’s award committee. “Each year we review the nominations and learn about the great things happening around Wisconsin that support healthy community forests.”

One of the principal organizers of last year’s Innovations in Urban Forestry Award winner, Ken Holman, chair of Hudson’s Urban Forestry (HUF) Board, shared that “this award has served as an ongoing source of pride and incentive for the HUF Board, citizen volunteers, teachers and especially the students who have taken real ownership in THEIR Tree Treks project. The award for our Tree Treks Project gave all of those involved a real boost to create the next school/neighborhood trek and continue our community outreach efforts.”

This year’s recipients were announced recently at the 2019 Wisconsin Arborist Association/DNR urban forestry conference in Green Bay.

Rotary 6270 receiving awardProject Partnership: Rotary International District 6270 is recognized for an extraordinary partnership between various local clubs, municipalities, other service organizations, and citizens to plant over 6,600 trees through more than 3,000 service hours with over $144,000 invested in community trees. This was in response to a challenge from Rotary International in 2017-2018 to plant one tree for every member of their club; this district went above and beyond their original goal to plant 2,900 trees. The benefits these trees provide will enrich the lives of all people in the communities that participated for a long time.

Josh receiving the award on behalf of Golden Sands RandDInnovations in Urban Forestry: Golden Sands Resource Conservation and Development Council, Inc. receives this year’s innovation award to recognize over 20 years of creatively working with cities, villages, towns, private businesses, and the WI DNR to prepare citizens and municipalities to care for their urban forest resources. They are currently working with 18 communities ranging in size from 200 to close to 40,000 citizens and have used various strategies to communicate messages covering a wide range of tree care topics.

Sally receiving her awardDistinguished Service: Sally Prideaux is honored for her decades of service to the Village of Amherst. She has been the continuous face of Amherst’s Community Forestry Program for over 20 years, through her involvement with the Amherst Tree Board, organizing the local Arbor Day celebrations, and spending countless hours caring for the beautiful trees lining the village streets. Sally’s long-term commitment of service to her hometown community and residents in the area will have a long-lasting positive effect on the village for years to come.

Ted PyrekLifetime Achievement: Ted Pyrek is recognized posthumously for his over 30-year leadership and dedication promoting and improving urban forestry in the City of Horicon. He was instrumental in the creation of the city’s Tree Board, in securing their first and subsequent Tree City USA designations, and was an integral part of 30 years of Arbor Day celebrations. He engaged a wide array of local citizens in these efforts, including many service groups (Rotarians, Lions, Jaycees, Kiwanians), Explorer Scouts, City officials, students from elementary school through high school, and their teachers. Ted’s impact will endure, and his work will continue to provide multiple benefits to the community for decades.

To learn more, see previous winners and nominate your community tree champion, visit dnr.wi.gov, keyword, “Urban Forestry Council.” The deadline for 2020 nominees is October 31, 2019. However, you can nominate your community tree champions any time.

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