IANR, Extension, Landscaping and Nebraska Forest Service Leaders and Educators Honored with Nebraska Statewide Arboretum Awards

by Michelle DeRusha | Nebraska Statewide Arboretum

Scott Evans
NSA Award Winners (front row, left to right) Lily McGrath, Scott Evans, Geri Johnson, Emily Levine, Tina Luz. Back row, left to right: Yvonne Hill, John Bohrer, Yvonne Meyer, Lois Luthy, Marcie Sextro, Carol Knaub, Dean Cole (not pictured: Justin Evertson, Dr. Ron Yoder).
November 13, 2023

Lincoln, Neb. —The Nebraska Statewide Arboretum honored 11 individuals and organizations with awards at its annual reception on November 3 at First Plymouth Congregational Church in Lincoln.Among those honored was Scott Evans, of Omaha, who was named this year’s recipient of the Educator Award for his work as Nebraska Extension Associate and Horticulture Program Coordinator. Evans is responsible for training and managing 270 Master Gardener volunteers in Douglas-Sarpy counties.

Evans also shares his extensive knowledge via numerous articles and social media posts and in his frequent appearances on Nebraska Public Media’s “Backyard Farmer” series. Evans is an ISA certified arborist, a member of the Bellevue Tree Board, a Nebraska Certified Pollinator Habitat team member, a board member for the Omaha African Violet & Gesneriad Society and an inaugural UNL staff senator.

The Ron Yoder Service Award was established this year to honor an individual who has generously committed time, talents and effort in support of Nebraska Statewide Arboretum’s mission. Dr. Ron Yoder, who retired in September from his role as senior associate vice chancellor for UNL’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources (IANR), is the inaugural recipient of thisaward that has been established in his name.  He joined UNL in 2004 as the department head of Biological Systems Engineering; in 2011 he was named the associate vice chancellor for IANR. Dr. Yoder served as an “ex officio” member of the NSA board of directors and was a longtime champion of NSA’s work and mission.The President’s Citation was awarded to Emily Levine, of Lincoln, who recently retired from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) after more than 35 years of service in landscaping and arboretum care. Starting her career in landscape services, Levine helped to shape the outdoor aesthetics of UNL’s East Campus. From tree planting to pest management to educatingstudents and visitors, she helped thousands of people connect with the natural world over the span of her career. In her most recent role at UNL, Levine worked with NSA and the Nebraska Forest Service (NFS) staff to ensure the history of Maxwell Arboretum was well-documented for future generations.The Jim Kluck Honor Award was presented to Justin Evertson, of Waverly, for his 33 years of work as Green Infrastructure Coordinator for NSA and NFS. Evertson was recognized for his significant contributions to hundreds of NSA affiliate sites and community planting projects over the years, in addition to the more than 400 hours of work each year that he dedicates to treeplanting and garden making projects at schools and parks in his hometown of Waverly. In memory of Jim Kluck, who was a longtime NSA supporter, board member and curator, this award recognizes individuals or organizations thathave made a significant contribution to NSA or to an affiliate site of NSA.More information about the NSA Awards and the 2023 award recipients is available at plantnebraska.org/awards.

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