The trees of a community are visible and valuable assets, and contribute greatly to the appearance and character of any town. They are a part of the public infrastructure and are just as important as the streets, sewers, and utilities. Often, trees do not receive the attention or care they deserve. Tree planting alone is commendable, but may have little long-term value without proper maintenance.
The Missouri Arbor Award of Excellence recognizes those who act as good stewards for trees in our individual communities. Any significant program, project or event that contributes to the care or maintenance of trees in our towns and cities could qualify for an award. This award is intended to recognize projects that demonstrate a sustained overall effort to care for trees.
Recognizes a municipality, county or state government entity for significant advances in its community forestry program in the last two years. Examples include the development of a new tree ordinance, an effective tree board, implementation of a tree inventory, community tree management plan or exemplary tree management work. Awards are presented for sustained efforts, as well as for stand-alone projects.
Recognizes an outstanding community forestry project in the last two years by a volunteer group, school district, youth group, partnership or service club. Examples include tree care work, educational activities, tree planting or tree preservation programs. Projects may be on public or private property.
Same as Organization category, but recognizes an individual. Work done by a professional must be beyond his or her normal work load. Work done by a volunteer or student also will be considered.
Recognizes an outstanding community forestry project implemented in the last two years by a commercial entity or institution. Included are utility providers, businesses, hospitals and universities. Examples might be tree-care work, educational activities, tree preservation or tree planting.
All projects will be inspected by representatives of the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC). Winners will be selected by a panel of experts from MDC and the Missouri Community Forestry Council (MCFC). Criteria for judging include:
- Size of affected area or percentage of the community forest involved
- Effectiveness of the tree care work, event or program
- Clarity of information
- Use of sound tree-management principles
- Sustained effort
Winners will receive:
- A handsome framed award
- One full registration scholarship to the MCFC annual conference, and an additional awards banquet ticket.
- A specially selected community forestry reference book
- A $50 gift card
- A 5 percent bonus cost-share from MDC on an application that is selected for funding in the next round of the Tree Resource Improvement and Maintenance cost-share program.
- Entries must involve work that significantly improves the health, safety or appearance of trees in towns or cities. Well-planned and organized work may involve watering, mulching, proper pruning, tree planting, removal of hazardous or unhealthy trees, or preservation of valuable tree resources.
- The work or project may involve a large area such as an entire community — or any important component such as a street, neighborhood or park. More than one party may perform work, but coordination must be demonstrated.
- Multiple awards in each category may be presented.
- Communities are encouraged to become recognized as a Tree City USA, although this is not a requirement for an award.
- To be announced
This program is jointly sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation and the Missouri Community Forestry Council. The Forestry Council strives to promote safe, healthy, attractive trees in our towns and cities. The Conservation Department is available to assist in the development of sustainable community forests throughout Missouri.