City tree champions lauded for outstanding community service

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 awards recognize and thank individuals and organizations for their work and commitment to the trees, plantings, habitat and economic benefits they provide,” said Kristin Gies, co-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.”

The Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council advises the Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry on the management of urban and community forest resources.

Last year’s winner of the council’s Innovations in Urban Forestry Award, Adam Alves, shared that “it was an honor to be recognized by the Urban Forestry Council for our efforts to engage the public about the urban forest, and create opportunities for people of all abilities to experience nature in new and unique ways. The awards program is a great way to invigorate people and promote new ideas for our state’s communities.”

This year’s recipients were announced recently at the 2018 Wisconsin Arborist Association/DNR urban forestry conference in Green Bay.

Green Bay receives awardProject Partnership: The Green Bay Area Arbor Day Seedling Distribution Project was celebrated for 50 years of a successful partnership between Green Bay Public Schools, the City of Green Bay and the Village of Allouez to distribute seedlings to the elementary schoolchildren of Green Bay. More than 100,000 trees representing 27 species have been planted by area schoolchildren. Many of these trees thrive today and are often mentioned as a source of pride. The benefits these Arbor Day trees provide help enrich the lives of all people in the community and keep the green in Green Bay.


Hudson Tree TrekInnovations in Urban Forestry: This category includes two winners. The Hudson Tree Treks Project started to enhance a Hudson elementary school project involving a student-run arboretum. This initial installation sparked interest for additional treks and brought in new partners. It has grown to include three separate Tree Trek trails involving multiple teachers and schoolchildren, citizens, city government, chamber of commerce, state Tourism Department, local Tree Board and city business owners. This increased attention to the city’s trees has brought new awareness and support for diversifying the tree canopy on public and private property and additional venues for sharing information about tree care and homeowner options.

The second Innovations in Urban Forestry Award went to Kenosha County Parks and Recreation Department’s Emerald Ash Borer Mechanized Tree Removal and Utilization Project. The removal costs to deal with the tens of thousands of local trees affected by emerald ash borer add up quickly — often to the tune of several million dollars. Through careful planning, municipal and industry professionals can find more affordable solutions — ones beneficial to the forests, the bottom line and the local economy. To keep costs down, Kenosha County successfully contracted with a company to remove trees in public parks and golf courses for a low cost per tree. Forest products from this project were recovered and marketed to several Wisconsin forest products firms. This innovative approach can serve as a model for other communities with similar situations.

Cindy Casey receives awardLifetime Achievement: Cindy Casey received this award to honor her leadership and dedication promoting and improving urban forestry that has had a lasting impact in Wisconsin. She was recognized for outstanding contributions to urban forestry demonstrated throughout a lifetime career. Cindy served the DNR’s Urban Forestry team for close to 30 years and was instrumental in bringing the Community Tree Management Institute to Wisconsin. During her time with DNR, she impacted dozens of communities through tireless advocacy, building personal relationships and responding to the unique needs of each situation.


To learn more, see previous winners and nominate your community tree champion, visit, keyword, “Urban Forestry Council.” The deadline for 2019 nominees is October 31, 2018. However, you can nominate your community tree champions any time.


Sara Minkoff, DNR Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council liaison, 608-264-6039,

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