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Forestry awards recognize Oregonians committed to community tree care
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- Major Media Distribution
June 24, 2008
08- 29 
Contact: Paul D. Ries, 503-945-7391
Cynthia Orlando, 503-945-7421
 
A woman in Hillsboro who saved a 94-year old elm tree, a citizen's advisory commission in Corvallis providing tree care leadership amid dwindling city funding, and a Eugene arborist who developed a citizen-based tree care and pruning task force are among this year's recipients for the 2008 Urban and Community Forestry awards.
 
Now in their 15th year, the awards, jointly hosted by Oregon Community Trees and the Oregon Department of Forestry, recognize the accomplishments of individuals, groups and businesses who go the extra mile to enhance and maintain healthy community forests.
 
This year’s recipients were announced at the annual Oregon Urban and Community Forestry Conference held this month at Portland’s World Forestry Center. 
 
Award categories and recipients are as follows:
 
Citizen volunteer: Jean Harkin, Portland
Harkin took notice of a large mature Camperdown elm in 2002, in a Hillsboro lot that was posted for leasing and development. Planted in 1914, the tree had an 8-foot circumference and crown spread of more than 45 feet. Harkin wrote an essay about the tree for the local paper, the Hillsboro Argus. Several years later, just as construction activities were to begin, Harkin worked with the developer and with local tree firm "Big Trees Today." Together they were successful in relocating the 73,000 pound tree to a more protected site some forty feet away.
 
Professional: Alby Thoumsin, Springfield
In 2005, certified arborist Alby Thoumsin approached the City of Eugene Parks and Open Spaces with the idea of creating a citizen-based force for the structural pruning of young trees.  Eventually, the Eugene Tree Foundation and the Community's "NeighborWoods program" joined forces to create the "Tree Stewards Program." The group held its third pruning day in March.
 

Tree Board: Civic Beautification Urban Forestry Commission, Corvallis
Since its inception in 2002, the members of this group have been leaders in building innovative partnerships to accomplish community tree projects in spite of limited funding. Members were successful in creating "Neighborwoods," a community tree planting program, and "Concrete to Trees," a partnership with Public Works to replace downtown concrete areas with trees.
 
Business: Sperry Tree Care Company
This company is noted for its attention to professionalism in the field of tree care. Sperry Tree Care provides public education at the Lane County Home and Garden Shows, encourages staff to become certified by the International Society of Arboriculture, and will answer any question on site about a tree, free of charge, for homeowners and others in the greater Eugene/Springfield area. The company also supports its staff in volunteering time for tree projects.
 
"These recipients are to be commended for their efforts to improve the livability of our cities," said Paul Ries, manager of the Oregon Department of Forestry's urban forestry program. "Their actions are commendable for showing creativity, initiative, and leadership in community tree care programs that all cities can aspire to and achieve."
 
“The trees in our communities are part of what makes our neighborhoods livable – and those towns that manage their urban forests well reap demonstrable economic, environmental, and social benefits,” adds Mark Snyder, president of Oregon Community Trees and urban forester for the City of Eugene.
 
Anyone can make nominations for the awards, given annually to those who demonstrate leadership in community and urban forestry. 
 
For information on how to make a nomination for next year’s awards, contact Oregon Community Trees or the Oregon Department of Forestry’s urban and community forests program.
 
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