March 6 deadline for MDC 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 2020 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. Nominations are due by Friday, March 6.

“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 2020 MCFC conference in October, an extra ticket to the award banquet during the conference, a community forestry reference book, a $50 gift card, and a 5-percent-bonus-cost-share if selected for funding through MDC’s Tree Resource Improvement and Maintenance cost-share program.

For more information and nomination forms, visit and search Missouri Arbor Award of Excellence.

2019 Arbor Award of Excellence Winners

Individual: Jacob McMains -- Jacob McMains spends his days working with communities on their forest management solutions as part of the team at Davey Resource Group. With more than 15 years in the forestry industry, McMains has the expertise and passion often found in the professional community forestry field. Over the past two years, McMains has taken his forestry work a step further by investing his personal time in teaching urban forestry inventory classes at the University of Missouri – Columbia and at St. Louis Community College in Meramec. He has also taken an active role in the Missouri Community Forestry Council, serving as treasurer and chair of the conference committee.

Organization Category: Rotary of St. Joseph, Rotary of St. Joseph East, Rotary of St. Joseph South, Andrew County Rotary -- Rotary Clubs across the world were challenged in 2017 to plant at least one tree per member to foster all the benefits trees offer people and the environment. In St. Joseph, four Rotary Clubs partnered with the Northwest MCFC chapter and the city to make that happen. Their first effort resulted in 60 trees planted in Hyde Park and along the Parkway system. The following year another 40 trees were planted at the Parkway system. The 3-to 5-gallon potted trees were planted by Rotary members and Benton High School Interact students. Their coordinated effort was recognized by the Rotary International president, who traveled from Australia to help them plant one more tree at the city’s new convention and visitor’s building.

Municipality/Government: City of Kirkwood -- Over a two-year period, the City of Kirkwood has taken bold steps to assure their community’s trees are healthy and thriving. They have completed many major components of urban forestry management. First, they hired an urban forester to help formalize the city’s tree care efforts. They implemented an electronic tree inventory and developed a tree maintenance plan. That plan included a proactive pruning schedule and hazard tree removals. It also included an aggressive plan to treat or remove 600 ash trees to address the threat of the invasive emerald ash borer. They passed a comprehensive tree ordinance, and the local utility, Kirkwood Electric, became a Tree Line USA. All of these endeavors took a strong commitment from city officials, tree board members, and volunteers.

Business/Institution: CoxHealth Grounds Crew -- CoxHealth is Southwest Missouri’s only locally owned, not-for-profit health system and is a leader in both health care and community involvement. They realize the health of the communities they serve is affected by the environment where people live, work and play. CoxHealth now designs and manages its landscape to improve the health of the environment, and in doing so, contributing to the health of the community. Over the last few years, the CoxHealth grounds crew has used an ISA certified arborist to consult on recommendations for their campus trees. They used the i-Tree web application to measure the tree canopy and create a baseline for future growth. They’ve implemented an ongoing training schedule to help the grounds crew with arboricultural management, including pruning of young trees, proper irrigation, and mowing to prevent trunk damage. They planted 115 trees on the greater Cox South campus.