Partnerships central to Arbor Day Awards, inspiration for top honor to U.S. Forest Service

This year’s Arbor Day Awards, held at Lied Lodge & Conference Center on Saturday, April 28, took on a special meaning due to the 40 the anniversary of the Arbor Day Foundation and the 140th year of the tree planting holiday.

John Rosenow, founder and chief executive, noted that the first Arbor Day Awards were presented on the east portico of Arbor Lodge in 1972.

“A lot has happened in the tree planting world in the four decades since – both extraordinary accomplishments, and trends best reversed,” he said, echoing similar themes from an op-ed published in the Dallas Morning News the previous day.

The Arbor Day Foundation has been able to make progress on replanting in our nation’s forests, investing in effective management of community trees and other priorities in the past 40 years because of our strong partners. The invaluable contribution of Foundation partners was the inspiration behind our highest honor this year: A Legacy of Partnership Award for the United States Forest Service.

With the Foundation and the National Association of State Foresters, the U.S. Forest Service in 1976 launched Tree City USA to provide resources and recognition to communities for sustained investments in tree management and care. Today, more than 140 million Americans in 3,500 communities live in a Tree City USA.

The U.S. Forest Service has supported the planting of 24 million trees in more than 60 of our national forests, in partnership with the Foundation. The agency was also instrumental in the construction of Lied Lodge and Conference Center at Arbor Day Farm, where many of the Foundation’s core principles come to life.

The U.S. Forest Service was represented at the Arbor Day Awards by Deputy Chief Leslie Weldon, who was one of only two speakers during the presentation – Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley was the other.

The short film prepared by the Foundation speaks to our enduring partnership, as well as the agency’s work with local stakeholders in its earlier years conserving land for future generations and collaborations with the Civilian Conservation Corps and Veterans Administration to create jobs.

You read more about all 16 of our 2012 Arbor Day Award winners and watch the short videos we put together here.