Congratulations to the 2016 Volunteer Award Winners!

 

 

 


 

  Volunteer Award

Sara Kadolph from Hubbard, Iowa 
Sara has been a leader within the Big Green volunteer group in Hubbard for many years. For more than 20 years, the members of Big Green have completed many tree-planting projects through Trees Forever and Alliant Energy’s Branching Out program. The group has added more than one-thousand trees throughout the community in parks and yards, along streets, and in their outstanding community arboretum. Sara is spearheading efforts to use the arboretum as an outdoor classroom by working with local teachers to develop lesson plans. She has also helped diversify Hubbard’s community forest by talking to residents about choosing less common species of trees.  Sara pays great attention to detail in writing applications and reports, and authored a guest article for the Trees Forever newsletter on grant-writing hints in 2012. Congratulations, Sara!
  Volunteer Award

LeRoy Kester from Story City, Iowa 
LeRoy has been a very active member of Story City Trees Forever since it began in 1993. The group has completed 80 projects, planted 2,500 trees, and developed and planted a 7.5 acre Prairie Park. In addition to serving as the treasurer for the group, LeRoy is a very active member for all of the Story City planting projects. He has been a great advocate for trees, working with Scout troops to demonstrate good planting and care techniques for trees. Whether dealing with financial paperwork, readying trees for a tree sale, helping during a planting, or caring for trees long after they are in the ground, LeRoy is always there for Story City. Thank you, LeRoy, and congratulations! 
  Volunteer Award

Forrest Kramer from Cedar Rapids, Iowa 
Forrest is a longtime volunteer and friend of Trees Forever! In fact, Forrest was one of Trees Forever’s very first volunteers in 1989 when Trees Forever was an all volunteer organization and  wrapped seedlings to give away to the public at local Cedar Rapids grocery stores. Though Forrest potentially could have taught the class, he cheerfully joined the first TreeKeepers class in Cedar Rapids.  He genuinely enjoys being a hands-on volunteer, regardless of the weather or difficulty of the job.  Well-deserved! Thank you Forrest for your many years of volunteering for Trees Forever and other conservation organizations! 


 
  Volunteer Award

Jim Newcomb from Cedar Falls, Iowa
An outstanding team leader, Jim led the multi-partner outdoor classroom project near North Cedar Elementary School in Cedar Falls. The project covers 26 acres north of the Cedar River, and includes prairies, wetlands, savanna, and forest with trails, nature viewing blinds, and nesting structures for waterfowl. He enlisted a long list of Cedar Falls-area partners in the project including: North Cedar Neighborhood Association, UNI Tallgrass Prairie Center, City of Cedar Falls, Black Hawk County Conservation, Cedar Falls Schools, Kiwanis, Rotary, Audubon Society, Lions Club, Cedar Falls Utilities, Tourism and Visitors Bureau, and local businesses. Jim’s enthusiasm and leadership have driven this project, including involving young people in planning, planting, invasive species removal, and learning. Congratulations, Jim, on a fantastic project!
  Volunteer Award

Geri Niemann of Taylorville, Illinois 
Geri is a member of Trees Forever’s volunteer Taylorville TreeKeepers, and practices good care for the community’s trees. Geri helps with tree maintenance days in Taylorville, undertaking “unglamorous” tasks including weeding, mulching and other care. She is an advocate for trees, has helped with the community tree inventory, and she also educates people on the importance of planting and caring for habitat for pollinators such as bees and butterflies. Geri is a Master Gardener, a Master Naturalist and a tireless worker. She is a key volunteer in the Taylorville Community Garden and is always looking for new educational opportunities. Thank you, Geri, and congratulations!
  Volunteer Award

Randy Pennock of Clinton, Iowa 
Randy has been a member of Clinton Trees Forever since 1991. He has been instrumental in more than sixty tree-planting projects. Randy has been a key player in Clinton Trees Forever’s residential tree program, which provides trees at a subsidized cost to local homeowners. He also helped lead the annual Third Grade Project, which teaches all third-grade students in Clinton public and private schools to learn about the importance of trees and their care. Randy is a wonderful example of selflessness and long-term service; he is a team player and doesn’t like to take credit for a successful project. He understands the importance of involving youth with the care and planting of trees. Thanks for your dedication and hard work, Randy.


 
  Partner Award

Muscatine Power and Water in Muscatine, Iowa
Muscatine Power and Water has partnered with the local Muscatine Branching Out group and Trees Forever for 25 years—making Muscatine a better place to live, work and play. They have also been a generous sponsor of Trees Forever, and were one of the first municipal utilities to fund tree plantings as part of their overall energy efficiency programs. They support Muscatine Branching Out’s Fall Tree Program, which helps provide high quality trees at a low cost to residents. Because of their support, homeowners have enjoyed the many benefits that trees provide—including energy efficiency, shade, wildlife habitat, public health benefits and beauty. Thank you Muscatine Power and Water for your major role in supporting Trees Forever and volunteer projects throughout the community for a quarter of a century!

 
  Partner Award

Ottumwa Community Schools in Ottumwa, Iowa
Ottumwa Community Schools, under the leadership of Kim Hellige, have shown a major commitment to trees and greening their campuses. Twice, they have been selected for high profile plantings with Alliant Energy and Trees Forever. These plantings are always well organized with much enthusiasm from the entire school district. Teachers and administrators help with the plantings and involve the students. Kim and her team know the value of trees for their students and neighborhoods. They plant large shade trees to cool buildings and windbreaks to stop cold winter winds with hundreds of Ottumwa students taking part in the plantings. Thanks for all your enthusiasm and hard work, Kim, and congratulations to the entire Ottumwa Community Schools Team!
  Partner Award
 

Rolling Prairie Trail Committee and Butler County Conservation

The members of the Rolling Prairie Trail Committee participated in the Iowa’s Living Roadways Trails Visioning program in 2013, and since then, they have worked in conjunction with Butler County Conservation, which manages the trail, to complete several outstanding projects, including: plantings along the trail, informational trailhead kiosks, and a new parking area. The committee is currently working on safety signage at each trail and roadway intersection. This dedicated group of volunteers and local leaders have done the planning and carrying out of an impressive number of projects to improve the trail while working in close partnership with conservation staff—a great example of a collaborative partnership with great outcomes. Congratulations!

  Partner Award

University of Illinois Extension, Fulton-Tazewell-Peoria-Mason Unit
Rhonda and Julia, along with fellow extension staffers Christine Belless and Jason Haupt, have assisted with and recruited their extension Master Naturalists and Master Gardeners to help with a tree inventory and several tree plantings following the 2013 tornado in Washington, Illinois. They also partnered with Trees Forever on an ACT/CSX riparian buffer to replant Riverfront Park in Havana, IL. In addition to promoting environmental stewardship and providing volunteers opportunities to get involved, the extension staff lead by example, whether getting dirty planting trees or helping volunteers identify species for a street tree inventory. They are wonderful partners to work with and are willing to help whenever needed, whether forming connections between city officials and other groups, or when putting trees in the ground. Thank you, and congratulations! 

 
  Partner Award

Waukon Trees Forever 
Waukon Trees Forever has added more than 3,200 trees throughout their community in more than 20 years—at streets, schools, entryways, and parks, including the 75-acre City Park, where they have not only planted trees but removed literally tons of invasive species. They have participated in the Black Hills Trees Forever Power of Trees program since 1992 and the Trees Forever-Alliant Energy Branching Out partnership since 2000. The group has involved many local partners in their efforts, including Boy and Girl Scouts, city staff, service clubs, students, and the Parks and Recreation Commission. Thanks for your long-time commitment to planting and caring for trees in Waukon, and congratulations on a job well done Waukon Trees Forever! 


 
  Media Award

Casandra Leff of the Monitor Recorder in Riceville, Iowa 
Casandra was a part of the Iowa’s Living Roadways Visioning committee in Riceville in 2015. She attended meetings, as well as featured Trees Forever and Visioning Committee new in the then-Riceville Monitor, now Monitor-Recorder. Casandra’s front-page articles and community calendar notices kept the community informed of the local group’s progress. Her detailed coverage helped residents understand the impact of local plans and what changes could be made with good planning and local input. The first project resulting from the Visioning process was a tree planting held in May. Thank you, Casandra, and congratulations!

 
  Media Award
 

Scott Van Aartsen of KIWA Radio in Sheldon, Iowa

Scott’s dedication to his local community shows in the way he covers events throughout Lyon County and the entire region, as he educates the public on the benefits of trees in our towns and on our farms. As Rock Rapids and other nearby towns are threatened by emerald ash borer and have completed tree inventories, Scott reports on the actions of the communities to prepare and plan for an eventual infestation. Scott goes above and beyond to promote the value of trees, their benefits, and provides an opportunity to share with the KIWA Radio audience information that homeowners can use to help plant a better tomorrow. Thank you, and congratulations, Scott!

  Youth Project Award
 

The Children’s Garden Project of the Village of Elwood, Illinois

The members of the Children’s Garden committee worked with Trees Forever and a local garden center to plant 58 tree, with help from 27 third-graders and community residents. This spring, the same children who planted the trees returned to identify, retag and mulch the trees. Eighth-grade students from Elwood School painted murals to beautify the area and attract visitors to the site. The mission of the Children’s Garden is to provide an enlightening and educational experience for the young and the young-at-heart who share a bond with nature. This addition to the garden in the form of native trees not only enhanced its beauty, but engaged both children and adults in an important environmental project. Thank you to everyone involved in this wonderful garden, and congratulations!


 
  Youth Project Award

Noelridge Orchard Team of Iowa BIG, from Cedar Rapids, Iowa 
High school students from the Iowa BIG program worked with  Trees Forever’s Fruit TreeKeepers, a local middle school, the Boys and Girls Club, and several businesses to design, plant and care for a 30-tree orchard in Noelridge Park—the first public edible land space in Cedar Rapids. The students, who volunteered much of their free time, are passionate about their orchard and sharing it with the community.  They have also worked with other non-profits in Cedar Rapids to promote trees and the sustainability of healthy foods. Congratulations, to all of the Noelridge Orchard Team! 
  Youth Leadership Award
 

Sam Olson of Storm Lake, Iowa 

Sam is a Boy Scout and soon-to-be high school senior, who wrote and organized a Trees for Teens grant in addition to an Alliant Energy Branching Out grant to establish 100 trees in the Storm Lake Cemetery. In addition to learning about the importance of tree diversity, he learned some valuable event-planning skills, as he organized more than 40 volunteers and involved his local Boy Scout troop in the cemetery planting. Sam conducted in-depth research on everything from tree species’ space and soil requirements, how to engage volunteers, and organizing tools, refreshments and everything for a successful planting. Sam goes above and beyond to promote trees and carry out the mission of Trees Forever. Thank you, Sam, and congratulations!



 
  Advocate Award
 

Todd Fagan from the City of Cedar Rapids

As arborist for the City of Cedar Rapids, Todd has been a leader in the Cedar Rapids area for tree care. He has been involved in many Branching Out tree plantings in the community, and has led numerous training sessions and maintenance events for Trees Forever TreeKeepers in Cedar Rapids. His support and appreciation for volunteers has been a crucial factor in the continued success of the TreeKeepers program. Todd has also advocated for trees by actively participating in steering committees for Our Woodland Legacy and the Eye 380 organization. Whether in a TreeKeepers class or during a demonstration at a planting, Todd does a wonderful job of engaging and training volunteers and collaborating with Trees Forever and our partners. Congratulations Todd!

  President's Award

Dennis and Jacque Holloway
As a response to their concern over the increasing loss of woodlands and under appreciation of natural areas and assets in Iowa and specifically Linn County, Denny and Jacque approached Trees Forever to launch the Our Woodland Legacy program over 10 years ago. The Holloways made a long-term commitment, most important to sustaining a new program. They have helped lead local efforts personally, hosting ten Our Woodland Legacy Events and Symposiums. They have made a huge impact, and we thank you Jacque and Denny Holloway for your major commitment and dedication to the environment.

 

 

 

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  President's Award

Harry Stine 
Harry is president of Stine Seed Company in Adel and a renown geneticist, and has been a longtime friend to Trees Forever. For over 20 years, Harry has served as a board member and/or Foundation Trustee. Though not with us tonight, we acknowledge all you’ve done for Trees Forever Harry. Harry will receive his award during our August board meeting.