MN Community Forestry Awards

Sponsored by Minnesota Society of Arboriculture (MSA) and the Minnesota Shade Tree Advisory Committee (MNSTAC). Together, we are always looking for ways to highlight the work we do (in the industry) and people who are making a difference. Awards are given at the Shade Tree Short Course, which happens in March of every year. Nominations are due by February 6th of each year.

The President’s Award is given every year at the MSA fall conference; this is an honor bestowed by the MSA President onto someone who has made significant contributions to MSA and the field of Arboriculture.

Nominations

To nominate someone you think deserves recognition, please do so now using the Nomination Form.

Award Categories

MSA President’s Award – Bestowed by the MSA President onto someone who has made significant contributions to MSA and the field of Arboriculture.
Leadership Award – Awarded for outstanding service and commitment to the advancement of community forestry. This is the highest achievement award.
Outstanding Volunteer Service Award – Awarded to the individual or organization whose service has contributed most significantly to community forestry.
Outstanding Project Award – Awarded to the individual or organization that has organized and implemented the most innovative and successful project.
Treescaping Award – Using trees in a unique and desirable landscape form through outstanding efforts in the promotion of community forestry best management practices.
Practitioners Award of Excellence – Awarded to an arborist and/or practitioner and/or community for dedicated service and support to the practice of arboriculture.

 

2018-2019 Award Recipients

MSA President’s AwardCharlie Perington

Leadership Award – Susan Burks

In her distinguished career, Susan Burks has proven that you can see the forest and the trees. Susan and her project partner are now “handing off” PlayCleanGo – Stop Invasive Species In Your Tracks to NAISMA, a national, Susan and Kimberly Lanihan-Lahti began, grew, and nurtured the program until it was standard in North America, and had outgrown its DNR home.

For the prior eight years, Susan was DNR’s Central forest health specialist. Before that, at MO Dept. of Conservation, the plant pathologist and key mover and visionary for MO Forest Keepers (utilizing citizen foresters), and a Master’s from Colorado State.

Volunteer Service Award – The Autonomous Collective of Minnesota 

The Autonomous Collective of MN (AC) is a consortium of small business owners based in Minneapolis intent on working together to make a difference in their community. In 2017, founders Jason Rathe, Jim Walsh and Steve Modrow connected with Tree Trust to brainstorm ideas on how they could utilize their resources-staff and fundraising power-to improve the canopy of North Minneapolis following the 2011 tornado. The AC reached out to other small businesses and are now over ten members strong. Each member pledges a certain amount and solicitations are made to clients to increase their impact. They truly are making an impact together in a way that is innovative and addresses a specific need.

The Autonomous Collective of MN (AC) is a consortium of small business owners based in Minneapolis intent on working together to make a difference in their community. In 2017, founders Jason Rathe, Jim Walsh and Steve Modrow connected with Tree Trust to brainstorm ideas on how they could utilize their resources-staff and fundraising power-to improve the canopy of North Minneapolis following the 2011 tornado. The AC reached out to other small businesses and are now over ten members strong. Each member pledges a certain amount and solicitations are made to clients to increase their impact. They truly are making an impact together in a way that is innovative and addresses a specific need.

Innovation Award – Susan Burks and Kimberly Lanihan-Lahti

In 2009-2010, after being awarded a grant at DNR to combat destructive terrestrial invasive species, Susan Burks and Kimberly Lanihan-Lahti began work on what was to become PlayCleanGo – Stopping Invasive Species In Your Tracks. They explored social research to learn more about recreational users of the great outdoors, their behaviors and knowledge of natural systems.

Outstanding Volunteer Service – Mississippi Park Connection

The Mississippi National River and Recreation Area’s urban canopy faces increasing pressure from invasive pests, a changing climate, and challenges with regeneration. Plant for the Future is Mississippi Park Connection’s program committed to reforesting the MNRRA. Last year, 910 volunteers gave more than 3,000 hours to help plant 5,500 trees that varied from 35 different species in 15 different river parks. Mississippi Park Connection partnered with two local brewery volunteer groups to plant 3,000 trees. We worked with 12 partners on CCMI projects. Mississippi Park Connection built 6 gravel bed tree nurseries to help grow and store bare-root trees for later planting. Mississippi Park Connection also partnered with the National Park Service for two years, studying the best way to replant cottonwood trees.

Outstanding Project Award – Elmer Elm Tree

In 1978 the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board (MPRB) Forestry Department began an aggressive program of hastily removing diseased elms. When First Bank (now US Bank) recognized the impact of DED they funded an effort to educate the public about the importance of DED identification. This led to paying for a costumed tree mascot to bring attention to this cause. As a result “Elmer the Elm Tree” was created in 1978 to encouraged residents to report the symptoms of DED. This became known as “Elm Watch”. First Bank funded college students to bring Elmer to City events. By the early 1980s Elmer joined MPRB Forestry to help educate residents about tree benefits and care. He has spent 40 years improving the Minneapolis urban forest.

For 40 years Elmer the Elm Tree has spread a positive message about caring for trees during community events such as Arbor Day celebrations, neighborhood festivals, school carnivals and parades. He visits schools where students help plant trees. Estimates are that Elmer reached ½ million + residents since 1978 (https://file.ac/RdJ9aWydg4s/). During 2018’s Minneapolis Arbor Day Celebration, 1000+ residents helped celebrate Elmer’s 40th birthday which was noted in the Mayor’s Arbor Day Proclamation. Elmer’s birthday included attendees singing “Happy Birthday” while the Arborator Band provided accompaniment from a tree crown. We proudly offers this nomination as an inspiration to other municipalities that are challenged caring for trees.