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 2020 awards.
The Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council, comprised of municipal employees, elected officials, nursery operators, arborists and others, 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 and habitat in our community forests and the economic benefits they provide.
The five categories of awards, including our newly renamed Leadership award, are described below:
- Lifetime Achievement recognizes outstanding contributions to urban forestry in Wisconsin demonstrated throughout a lifetime career.
- Distinguished Service recognizes an individual for their outstanding contributions to urban forestry in Wisconsin.
- Project Partnership recognizes outstanding projects that utilize partnerships as a means of providing services or benefits to the urban forest.
- Leadership recognizes an individual or 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. or citizen 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 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 service groups involved in tree planting, a nonprofit organization helping citizens care for their community trees and several individuals who demonstrated outstanding service to the Wisconsin urban forestry community. Keep reading for information about the 2019 award recipients, who were also recognized at the 2019 Wisconsin Arborist Association/DNR annual urban forestry conference in Green Bay:
- Project Partnership: Rotary International District 6270 is recognized for an extraordinary partnership between various local clubs, municipalities, other service organizations and citizens. District 6270 led the effort to plant over 6,600 trees through more than 3,000 service hours and 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, after which District 6270 went above and beyond their original goal to plant 2,900 trees. The benefits these trees provide will enrich the lives of community members for years to come.
- Innovations in Urban Forestry: Golden Sands Resource Conservation and Development Council, Inc. received this year’s innovation award to recognize over 20 years of creatively working with cities, villages, towns, private businesses and the Wisconsin 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 near 40,000 citizens and have used various strategies to communicate messages covering a wide range of tree care topics.
- Distinguished 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 local Arbor Day celebrations and spending countless hours caring for the beautiful trees that line the village streets. Sally’s commitment of service to her hometown community and residents in the area will have a long-lasting positive effect for years to come.
- Lifetime Achievement: Ted Pyrek is recognized posthumously for more than 30 years of 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 as well as students and teachers from elementary school through high school. Ted’s impact will endure, providing benefits to the Horicon community for decades.
To learn more, see previous winners and nominate your community tree champion, visit https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/UrbanForests/awards.html. The deadline for 2020 nominees is October 31, 2019. However, you can nominate your community tree champions any time.