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Oregon forestry awards recognize those devoted to community tree care
News release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- Major Media Distribution
June 3, 2011
                                                                                               
Contacts: Paul D. Ries, 503.945.7391
Cynthia Orlando, 503-945-7421
 
 
An ambitious tree planting program along a bike path in Portland, a City of Tigard Water Quality Coordinator, and a fruit tree program in Portland are among this year’s people and projects recognized by Oregon’s annual “Urban and Community Forestry awards.”
 
Now in their 18th year, the awards, jointly hosted by Oregon Community Trees (OCT) and the Oregon Department of Forestry, recognize the accomplishments of individuals, groups and businesses who go the extra mile to maintain and enhance healthy community forests.
 
Award recipients were announced yesterday at the annual Oregon Urban and Community Forestry Conference, held this year at the World Forestry Center in Portland.
 
Award categories and recipients):
 
Tree City of the Year:  City of Salem
Salem received honors as Tree City of the Year, in part for its management of Oregon White Oaks in one of the city’s largest parks. The city completed an extensive assessment of the oaks, identified hazardous trees for removal and led replanting of Oregon White Oaks in the middle of the city. Salem was a charter member of the National Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree City USA program, and was the first and only nationally recognized Tree City in Oregon at the time. City staff attended ODF’s Community Tree Management Institute in recent years, and Salem maintains a Heritage Tree Program with 78 trees. In short, Salem has demonstrated consistent commitment to maintaining a strong tree care program for more than 30 years.
 
Civic Organization Award: Portland Fruit Tree Project
Portland Fruit Tree Project, a grassroots non-profit organization that empowers neighbors to share in the care and harvest of urban fruit trees, received the Civic Organization Award for helping to prevent waste, building community knowledge and resources, and creating sustainable, cost-free ways to obtain healthy, locally-grown food. The Portland Fruit Tree Project organizes people to gather fruit before it falls and make it available to those who need it most, registering fruit and nut trees throughout the city and bringing people together to harvest and distribute thousands of pounds of fresh fruit each year.
 
Professional Award: Carla Staedter, City of Tigard
Staedter’s dedication, drive, organization and out-going personality have been instrumental to the success of the City of Tigard’s “Clean Water Streams” program. The program’s purpose is to improve water quality, native habitat for wildlife and people, and remove invasive species.
 
In her position for the past 7 years, Staedter’s focus and commitment have helped the program to continue to grow in terms of accomplishments and volunteer hours. “I am very humbled to accept this award as one of hundreds who restore and care for Tigard’s riparian forests,” said Staedter.
 
President’s Award: Alan Tocchini
Alan Tocchini is one of the original members of Oregon Community Trees, which was called the ‘Oregon Urban and Community Forest Council” in its early days. Tocchini was elected to the first board of directors of the new non-profit Oregon Community Trees and served on the executive committee and as Treasurer for 15 years. After retiring from Oregon State Parks, he continued to serve on the board to share his passion for trees and his commitment to support a strong statewide organization, and Tocchini is also a long-time member of Oregon’s Heritage Tree Committee.  “Thank you for this recognition,” said Tocchini, “although my professional focus has been in ‘rural’ forestry, I have always been in awe of the people who work in urban and community forestry. You make life better for everybody.”
 
Government Award: Oregon Department of Transportation
A project being touted as a statewide model for greening existing ODOT right-of-way earned the agency the Government award this year. A 16.5 mile multi-use path located near the Columbia River in north Portland south to Gladstone has been planted by volunteers with some 4,000 trees and shrubs, which will reduce air pollution, provide habitat for wildlife and songbirds, and improve neighborhood livability. ODOT received the award for “investing in increasing the urban canopy in our region,” and for the plantings, which provide the forum “for not only increasing green infrastructure, but for building communities and connecting diverse people.”
 
"These recipients are to be congratulated for their efforts to improve the livability of our cities," said Paul Ries, manager of ODF'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.”
 
Anyone can make nominations for the awards, which are given annually for leadership in community and urban forestry. 
 
For information on how to make a nomination for next year’s awards, contact Oregon Community Trees at www.oregoncommunitytrees.org or the Oregon Department of Forestry’s urban and community forests program.
 
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