HANNIBAL, Mo. — For more than 30 years, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and the Missouri Community Forestry Council (MCFC) have recognized Missourians who do their part to care for community trees through the annual Arbor Award of Excellence.
The 2017 Business or Institution Arbor Award of Excellence went to the BASF plant in Hannibal. For years, the BASF Hannibal plant has partnered with the Hannibal Tree Board to celebrate Arbor Day by purchasing and planting a tree in a Hannibal park.
In 2015, BASF celebrated its 150-year anniversary, worldwide. In 2016, the company’s Hannibal plant recognized 50-years of operation in that city. To mark these milestones, BASF set out to do something big for the community.
The City of Hannibal had recently acquired a streambank property, or riparian corridor, along Bear Creek, which drains into the Mississippi River. City leaders recognized that the vacant 3-acre lot required regular mowing, and provided little environmental benefit to the area. Upon determining that the lot would make a good location for a reforestation project, the city consulted local MDC Forester Kyle Monroe to draft a tree planting plan in partnership with the Hannibal Tree Board, City of Hannibal, and BASF.
BASF purchased 310 1-gallon potted trees, and provided 50 employees, family members, and retirees who volunteered their time to help the Hannibal Tree Board.
“With all those volunteers, it didn’t take long to plant hundreds of trees,” said Monroe. “Without the contributions from BASF, this project would not have been possible. Their support for community trees will enable this important conservation effort to benefit the Hannibal area for decades.”
No matter the size of the community, trees are visible and valuable assets that contribute greatly to the appearance and character of a town. They are part of the public infrastructure and play an essential role in the community, similar to streets, sewers, and utilities. In Hannibal, BASF’s contributions to this important community tree project also provide benefits to nature, by planting deep roots to aid in streambank stabilization, erosion prevention, and improving water quality in an important tributary to the Mississippi River.
At the 2017 MCFC conference in Springfield, MDC State Forester Lisa Allen presented the Arbor Award of Excellence to BASF in recognition of their efforts.
“The Missouri Arbor Awards of Excellence highlight the people and organizations working to provide sustainable, long-term efforts to care for trees,” said Allen. “Their work is extremely important to assure the many economic, social, and environmental benefits of a healthy community forest.”
Nominations for this year’s Arbor Awards of Excellence were evaluated based on sustainability, innovation, use of sound tree management principles, the contribution made to the community, and the effectiveness of the tree care work, event, or program. A total of four categories were awarded statewide.
For more information on community tree programs or caring for trees, visit mdc.mo.gov.