Deadline is Aug. 7 for Arbor Award of Excellence nominations

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and the Missouri Community Forestry Council (MCFC) are accepting nominations for the 2023 Missouri Arbor Award of Excellence. The annual award recognizes communities, institutions, businesses, organizations, and individuals that make significant and long-lasting efforts to care for trees in their communities.

“Trees bring so much value to our communities, but their overall health depends on people practicing good tree stewardship on both public and private property,” said MDC Community Forestry Program Supervisor Russell Hinnah. “The more we work to take care of our trees, the more trees work for us by increasing property values, improving our air, saving energy, protecting our watersheds, and more.”

The Arbor Award of Excellence shines the spotlight on anyone who has improved trees in their community. Any significant program, project, or event that contributes to the care or maintenance of trees could qualify for an award.

“This award recognizes projects that demonstrate a sustained overall effort to care for trees,” said Hinnah. “I encourage everyone to consider the wonderful tree work in their communities and to nominate those who made it possible.”

Winners receive a framed award, a full registration scholarship to the MCFC conference in September, an extra ticket to the award banquet during the conference, a community forestry reference book, and a $50 gift card.

Nominations are due by Monday, Aug. 7. For more information and nomination forms, visit

Some Past Winners

Examples of past winners include Doug Seely, who was honored in 2020 for his work as the community forester for Beyond Housing’s 24:1 Initiative in St. Louis. Seely coordinates grant applications and manages tree planting, maintenance, and removal operations for the 24 municipalities that belong in the Initiative. He also invests significant time to support the professional development of other foresters and promotes community forestry wherever possible.

CoxHealth in Springfield, which was recognized in 2019 for its work to improve the healthcare facility’s campus and grounds. The landscape crew consulted with a certified arborist for proper tree care techniques, and they implemented a training schedule to help the crew with pruning, proper irrigation, and tree planting.

Lanny and Sue Rawdon received an Arbor Award in 2018 for their tireless work to establish and maintain an arboretum in Jesse James Park in Kearney. Most of the trees planted in the arboretum came from the Rawdon’s personal collection, and they have planted and cared for hundreds of trees in the park over the years.

The City of Brunswick might have a population of only 800 people, but its tree board and designation as “Pecan Capital of Missouri” meant the community has an outsized commitment to trees. They were recognized in 2017 for their efforts to conduct a community tree inventory and their innovative Arbor Day celebrations that involve the whole town.

The Heartland Tree Alliance won an Arbor Award in 2016. As part of a larger environmental and community group called Bridging the Gap, they are an incredible advocacy and volunteer group promoting the benefits of a healthy urban forest in the Kansas City metropolitan area.