MDC deadline is Jan. 4 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 2019 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, Jan. 4, 2019.

“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 March, 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 (TRIM) cost-share program.

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

2018 Arbor Award of Excellence Winners

Individual — Lanny and Sue Rawdon, Kearney

Lanny Rawdon, a retired commercial airline pilot and nurseryman, was inspired by his travels around the country where he visited some of the most famous arboretums and gardens. With the help of his wife Sue, Lanny took that inspiration and got involved in forestry projects in his hometown of Kearney. Lanny and Sue have worked tirelessly at Jesse James Park to establish an arboretum. Lanny grows his own nursery stock and with permission from the city has created a diverse collection of trees in the park. The city provided a small budget, but Lanny and Sue have taken on much of the expense themselves. Lanny and Sue have committed to this project because of their lifetime passion for trees and the City of Kearney.

Organization — Southwest Missouri Community Forestry Council

The Southwest Missouri Community Forestry Council (Southwest MCFC) is a group comprised of arborists, foresters and horticulturists from the area that are employed by a variety of businesses, schools, and local and state government. The Southwest MCFC completed an array of great projects in the past year to further the message of community forestry. These projects included a campaign to inform the public about how to correctly mulch around trees. They assisted with Saluting Branches, an event where arborists and other tree experts volunteer to work on trees at national veterans’ cemeteries. They also completed the design and installation of landscaping along the Ozark Greenway Trail that runs through a State of Missouri Veterans Cemetery. Plus, they hosted the annual Missouri Community Forestry Council state conference.

Municipality/Government — City of Brentwood

Over the past couple of years, the City of Brentwood has made a concentrated effort to provide a more healthy, safe, and sustainable community forest. The city has implemented several new measures to strengthen this commitment. Some of these measures include an updated tree inventory and data system, new plan for notifying residents about tree work, increased tree plantings, a new arborist position, review of city ordinances and guiding documents, and the hosting of a Municipal Emerald Ash Borer Forum. The City of Brentwood is a great example of a community strategically investing in community forestry to improve the overall forest resource they manage.