The Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council, comprised of municipal employees, elected officials, nursery operators, and arborists, advises the Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry on the best ways to manage urban and community forest resources. Every year, the Council bestows several awards to recognize and thank individuals and organizations across Wisconsin for their work and commitment to the trees, plantings, habitat and economic benefits they provide.
The Council presents annual awards to outstanding individuals, organizations, communities and tribes that further urban forestry in Wisconsin. The awards are announced each year at the annual Wisconsin Urban Forestry Conference and presented to winners in their community. We are currently seeking nominations for the 2019 awards.
The five categories of awards are:
- Lifetime Achievement award recognizes outstanding contributions to urban forestry in Wisconsin demonstrated throughout a lifetime career.
- Distinguished Service award recognizes an individual for their outstanding contributions to urban forestry in Wisconsin.
- Project Partnership award recognizes outstanding projects that utilize partnerships as a means of providing services or benefits to the urban forest.
- Elected Official award recognizes an elected official at the county or local level of government who has made an outstanding recent contribution to urban forestry in Wisconsin. This could be a mayor, alderman, county executive, etc., who has gone above and beyond in their support. Wisconsin State Legislators who have made outstanding contributions to urban forestry will also be considered after they have completed their terms of office.
- Innovations in Urban Forestry award recognizes a community, individual, association or organization exhibiting outstanding innovations in the development or enhancement of an urban forestry project or program. This award recognizes the creativity, commitment and success of urban forestry efforts.
This year’s awards included schools involved in tree planting and identification projects, a county’s innovative approach to tree removals, and recognition for outstanding service to the WI urban forestry community.
Following are recipients of these awards, which were announced at the 2018 Wisconsin Arborist Association/DNR annual urban forestry conference in Green Bay.
Project Partnership: The Project Partnership award recognizes outstanding projects that utilize partnerships to provide service or benefits to the urban forest. 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 children of Green Bay. The program was instituted to involve young people in an environmental experience by giving a tree to each child and teaching them how to care for their tree. Over the past five decades, 100,000 trees representing 27 species have been planted by area school children. The benefits these Arbor Day trees provide help enrich the lives of all people in the community and help keep the green in Green Bay. Many of these trees thrive today and are often mentioned as a source of pride. This project demonstrates the value of partnerships between students, city government, and community members working together to improve the community tree canopy while providing educational and civic engagement opportunities for school children. We’d like to recognize the significant participants in the success of this project.
- From the Green Bay Area Public Schools:
- Michelle S. Langenfeld, Superintendent of Schools and Learning
- Andrea Landwehr, Executive Director for Elementary Education
- Ann Barszcz, Executive Director of Elementary Education
- Josh DePouw, Manager of Facilities Grounds
- Michelle S. Langenfeld, Superintendent of Schools and Learning
- From the Village of Allouez Parks Department:
- Chris Clark, Parks Director
- From the City of Green Bay:
- Mark Freberg, City Forester
Innovations in Urban Forestry: The Innovations in Urban Forestry award recognizes a community, individual, association or organization exhibiting outstanding innovations in the development or enhancement of an urban forestry project or program. The award recognizes the creativity, commitment and success of urban forestry efforts. There were two programs that received the award this year.
Hudson Tree Treks Project started as way to enhance a Hudson elementary school project involving a student-run arboretum. This initial installation of a self-guided tree identification trail sparked interest for additional treks and brought in new partners. It has grown to include three separate Tree Trek trails involving multiple teachers and school children, citizens, city government, Chamber of Commerce, State Tourism Bureau, local Tree Board, and city business owners. This increased attention to the city’s trees has brought new awareness and support for the local goal of diversifying the tree canopy on public and private property and additional venues for sharing information about tree care and homeowner options.
Kenosha County Parks and Recreation Department’s Emerald Ash Borer Mechanized Tree Removal and Utilization Project. Kenosha County Parks and Recreation Department Mechanized Tree Removal and Utilization Project was initiated as cost effective way to deal with the tens of thousands of trees affected by Emerald Ash Borer in Kenosha County. With potentially high removal costs of dead and dying trees, Kenosha County contracted with a company to remove trees in public parks and golf courses for a low cost per tree; this was possible because forest products were recovered and marketed to several in-state forest products firms. This innovative approach can serve as a model for other communities with similar situations. We’d like to recognize the significant participants in the success of this project:
- Matthew Collins, current Director of Kenosha County Parks
- Jon Rudie, retired Director of Kenosha County Parks
- Jim Kreuser, Kenosha County Executive
- Joe Ranchel, Petrifying Springs Park Superintendent
- Nick Murphy, Fox River Park Superintendent
- Don Peterson, President, Renewable Resource Solutions (project consultant)
Lifetime Achievement: The Lifetime Achievement award recognizes outstanding contributions to urban forestry in Wisconsin demonstrated throughout a lifetime career. Cindy Casey, WDNR retired urban forester, received this award to honor her leadership and dedication promoting and improving urban forestry which has had a lasting impact in Wisconsin. She was recognized for outstanding contributions to urban forestry demonstrated throughout a lifetime career. Cindy served the Urban Forestry team of Wisconsin DNR for almost 30 years. In those decades, she impacted dozens of communities through tireless advocacy, building personal relationships, and responding to the unique needs of each situation. In addition to her positive effects on communities in West Central Wisconsin, her work with Wisconsin’s Community Tree Management Institute, K-12 Forestry Education Programming in Wisconsin and Wisconsin Urban Wood has had a positive impact across our entire state and even in other parts of the country.
If you are interested in previous winners or have ideas for nominees, we invite you to visit DNR.wi.gov and search for the Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council. The deadline for 2019 nominees is October 31, 2018. However, you can nominate your community tree champions any time.
CONTACT: Sara Minkoff, Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council liaison, 608-669-5447, Sara.Minkoff@wisconsin.gov.