To celebrate Oregon Arbor Week, Oregon Community Trees (OCT) – the state urban and community forestry council – announced the recipients of the 2012 Oregon Urban and Community Forestry Awards. Arbor Week in Oregon was held during the first week of April.
“This year’s OCT award recipients are powerful examples of inspirational individuals and organizations promoting tree planting and quality tree care, while raising awareness and knowledge about Oregon’s trees and urban and community forests,” said OCT President Rick Zenn. “We’re proud to honor them during this special week.”
Now in their 19th year, the OCT awards recognize outstanding individuals and organizations for their significant accomplishments and leadership in advancing urban and community forestry projects and activities in the state of Oregon. Award recipients are as follows:
2012 Oregon Tree City of the Year: City of Sweet Home
This year marks Sweet Home’s 25th anniversary as a national Tree City USA, and this year Sweet Home has the additional honor of being named “Oregon Tree City of the Year.” For the people who live and work in Sweet Home, trees have always been part of their daily lives. As far back as 1987, citizens and civic leaders embraced the idea of redeveloping their community by successfully leveraging grants, donations, and public resources to improve downtown streets, highways, schools and industrial sites. They conducted tree inventories, developed local management plans, and organized tree planting activities.
On Friday, Sweet Home hosted the Oregon Jamboree country music festival and is well-known to many travelers as an exceptionally attractive tree-lined gateway to regional recreation sites. Next time you’re in Sweet Home, look for the Tree City USA sign and know that all Oregon is proud of their 25 year quest to make their community and a better place with trees.
Organization Award: Mayor Craig Dirksen and the City of Tigard
For ten years, the city of Tigard has been recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation as one of Oregon’s “Tree City USA” communities, and for the past four years - under Mayor Craig Dirksen - Tigard has earned the foundation’s coveted “growth award,” recognizing the city’s significant accomplishments in urban forestry.
Mayor Dirksen has expanded Tigard’s tree planting program and greatly improved citizen access to nature. He’s led Tigard’s Arbor Day celebrations and helped children plant trees on their school grounds. Tigard has adopted new urban forestry policies, revised city codes, set canopy goals for the community and developed a new urban forestry master plan including preservation of significant tree groves. Mayor Dirksen has embraced the importance of education programs targeting trees and the importance of a healthy, vibrant urban forest in their community. The passage of the $17 million “Parks, Trails and Natural Areas” bond measure in 2010 is another impressive testimonial to Mayor Dirksen’s leadership and the value the Tigard community places on its trees and urban forest.
Individual Award: William ‘Bill’ Harrington, Medford
Bill Harrington is a highly respected professional arborist and park manager working for the City of Medford. He has more than 35 years professional experience in forestry and arboriculture and is responsible for the care of Medford’s 9000 street trees, park trees, riparian forests, fuel reduction projects, and management of the community’s beloved 1700 acre Prescott Park. For many years Bill Harrington has led an active tree planting program in Medford working with citizens, public officials and the local Tree Committee to improve and protect the urban forest. Medford is well known in the region for its active volunteers and annual Arbor Day celebration.
According to Frances Oyung of the Bear Creek Watershed Council, “Bill has been a tireless proponent of the importance of trees in the urban landscape. His knowledge, skill and persistence have made Medford a better community for everyone; thanks to Bill, we have made huge progress.”
President’s Award: Dr. Phyllis C. Reynolds, Portland
The 2012 President’s award goes to Portland native Dr. Phyllis C. Reynolds, author of the popular book Trees of Greater Portland (Timber Press, 1993). Reynolds is recipient of the Spirit of Portland Award, and recently, the Bill Naito Community Trees award. For ten years, Dr Reynolds served as a member of the Portland Urban Forestry Commission and chaired the Portland Heritage Tree Committee. Her passion for trees and energetic leadership helped the city catalog and designate nearly 300 heritage trees of 121 different species in locations all over Portland. Dr Reynolds has produced tree inventories for Reed College, Oregon Health Science University, Catlin Gabel School and Laurelhurst Park.
Dr. Reynold’s long time commitment to community service has led her to positions on the boards of the Hoyt Arboretum, Japanese Garden Society, Berry Botanic Garden, North Coast Land Conservancy, Nature Conservancy, Portland Garden Club, and the Oregon School of Arts and Crafts. A retired clinic psychologist, Dr Reynolds is also an accomplished print artist and photographer and her works have shown in galleries in Oregon, Washington and the southwest.
“It’s a great honor for us to recognize Phyllis Reynolds this year,” says OCT President Rick Zenn. “Dr. Reynold’s has done more than any one person to help Portland residents and visitors see, protect and appreciate their urban forest treasures. Phyllis Reynolds knows the trees of Portland like no one else. A scientist, artist and activist, she brings a very special perspective to her work with trees and people,” says Zenn, adding, “she is an inspiration.”
About Oregon Community Trees…and 2012 Conference
Oregon Community Trees is a nonprofit organization led by a board of 23 volunteer directors from around the state representing business, government, education and citizen groups. Partners include the Oregon Department of Forestry, the US Forest Service and Oregon State University.
In addition to presenting the 2012 Oregon Urban and Community Forestry Awards, OCT will host an annual “summit” conference for citizens and professionals, June 7 at the World Forestry Center in Portland.
“Community Natural Areas: Restoration, Management and Enhancement” will feature keynote speaker Doug Tallamy, author of Bringing Nature Home.
Registration is now open: http://www.oregoncommunitytrees.org/