Arbor Day Award Winner Highlights: Public Awareness of Trees Award

Each year the Arbor Day Foundation recognizes outstanding individuals, environmental leaders, and innovative organizations for their sustainable conservation efforts on an international, national, state and community level through the Arbor Day Awards Program. The 2014 Arbor Day Awards were presented April 26 at the Lied Lodge and Conference Center in Nebraska City. During May we’ll highlight the award winners.

Public Awareness of Trees Award—American Chestnut Foundation:

DSC_0109

Bryan Burhans from the American Chestnut Foundation plants a tree at Arbor Lodge State Historical Park. Photo by Carrie Benes.

The Public Awareness of Trees award is presented to an organization or individual whose innovative work elevates the public awareness and understanding of the importance of trees.

The American Chestnut tree comprised more than 200 million acres of eastern woodlands up until the first half of the 20th century when the chestnut blight infested the region, affecting one-fourth of the hardwood tree population. The mission of the American Chestnut Foundation is to restore this tree to our eastern woodlands to benefit our environment, our wildlife and our communities.

The return of the chestnut to its former role in the Appalachian hardwood forest ecosystem is a major restoration project that requires a multi-faceted effort involving extensive public engagement.

The foundation has two major public awareness initiatives: the American Chestnut Learning Box—an educational tool that brings the story of the chestnut to classrooms, nature canters and civic groups—and The Charlie Chestnut Environmental Education Program—curriculum designed to inspire students to learn more about the environment and American chestnuts. With 16 state chapters and more than 5,000 members, the American Chestnut Foundation is better able to generate public awareness toward the campaign.

Are you aware of an outstanding individual or organization that is an exemplary steward of our Earth?  If so, please consider nominating them for our 2015 Arbor Day Awards.