Communities, Individuals, Businesses Honored for Work on Behalf of Trees

April 24, 2013

LINCOLN, Neb. — Communities, educators, media and others involved in greening their communities received awards at the annual Tree City USA Recognition Day in Lincoln on April 2.

The community of Waverly received the Outstanding Tree Care Award for its efforts in park and school projects, arboretum tours and extensive tree care necessitated by drought and disease. City, park and school officials help lead an enthusiastic group of volunteers who take on tasks that could not otherwise be accomplished. Individuals cited in the award include administrators Noah Dea, Doug Rix and Robin Hoffman. Volunteers Justin Evertson, John Toy and Doug and Marilyn Larson were recognized for volunteering hundreds of hours to public efforts annually.

Gary Carlson of Midland University Heritage Arboretum in Fremont received the Educator Award. In Carlson's 20 years at the Midland arboretum, the 40-acre campus grew from 100 trees to more than 700. His efforts extend far beyond the campus to educational outreach with:  Fremont elementary teachers and students; other regional arboretums; Arbor Day events; city of Fremont rain barrel project, etc. Carlson said, "We're constantly challenging arboretums to keep moving the bar higher and higher, just like a strong native Nebraska tree grows."

The Youth Award went to Bellevue high school student Loriana Harkey, who helped write articles on area parks for the Bellevue Leader. In Bellevue, 2012 was declared "The Year of the Park" to encourage efforts to restore 36 parks and more than 600 acres of varied park land damaged by extensive floods in 2011. Harkey traveled to each park that was selected, taking notes on the various features, trees and plants for the news articles. Nominators said, "While other people her age were lounging at pools, Harkey was making sure these community resources were maintained for future generations."

The Minden Courier, owned and managed by Jim and Michelle Edgecombe, received the Media Award for columns devoted to Arbor Day, ReTree Week and technical articles on tree-related topics. Nominator Patrick Haight said the paper might not be "the heart of the community, but it's the thumb on the pulse of the community."

The Utility Award went to Lincoln Electric System for its efforts toward Arbor Day and landscape-related events and outreach such as their fall LES Sustainability Festival. LES has also donated wood chip mulch to area lakes and helped beautify many public landscapes in Lincoln.

Wilbur "Bud" Dasenbrock of Lincoln received the Dave Mooter Legacy Award for "boundless" volunteer efforts with local arboretums, camps, retirement centers, children's homes and city and statewide environmental groups. Dasenbrock has also donated hundreds of trees grown in his backyard nursery for many of these projects. Dasenbrock said, "My youth experiences related to the 30s drought and economic depression made conservation of natural resources a priority in my life."

Shar Shapp received the Volunteer Award for her work with the Upper Niobrara White Natural Resource District. Shapp worked with communities to plant 190 trees during ReTree Nebraska week. She said, "There were a lot of timber fires nearby when I was growing up, which made me aware of the importance of trees at an early age."

Scottsbluff received two awards. The Community Enhancement Award recognizes efforts at the D. A. Murphy Panhandle and Riverside Zoo arboretums and tree and rain garden plantings throughout the city. Amy Seiler said, "This area is hard on trees, but they're incredibly important for the shade and cooling they provide during our hot summers. They also capture and infiltrate stormwater, helping to reduce stormwater pollution and its impact on the environment."

Dick Meyer, owner of Scottsbluff Landscaping, received the Green Industry Award for more than 30 years of working to increase tree canopy and diversity in the panhandle. Meyer also worked to improve low income neighborhood parks and wrote articles promoting tree-planting, diversity and sustainable landscapes. And Meyer's generous donation turned the Tranquility Garden – previously a bare courtyard with noisy generators and unsightly utilities at the Regional West Medical Center – into a beautiful, restorative space for patients, families and staff.

Awards were also given to cities, campuses and utilities. For more information about tree-related awards, contact Eric Berg at 402-472-6511 or visit nfs.unl.edu.

Eric Berg
Associate Forester
Nebraska Forest Service
402-472-6511
eberg2@unl.edu

Karma Larsen
Communications Associate
Nebraska Statewide Arboretum/Nebraska Forest Service
402-472-7923
klarsen1@unl.edu

Dan Moser
IANR News Service
402-472-3030
dmoser3@unl.edu