Each year the Vermont Urban & Community Forestry Program and Council sponsors the Vermont Tree Steward Awards as a way to recognize our state's urban and community forestry champions.
Nominations in 4 categories are due Wednesday, March 31st, 2021.
Hamilton: In recognition of a Tree Warden who has significantly advanced the goals of urban and community forestry through successful forestry practices, effective conservation planning, increased citizen engagement, and active public education. This award is in honor of Dr. Larry Hamilton, the former Tree Warden in Charlotte, and is limited to Tree Wardens.
Leader: An individual who, through services to their community or organization, has shown leadership and dedication in carrying out an urban or community forestry effort.
Unsung Hero: An individual and/or group who work(s) behind the scenes and consistently goes above and beyond to make a difference in their community's urban and community forest.
Volunteer Group/Community: An organization, team or ad/hoc group, or community who, through their efforts, have shown outstanding dedication and commitment in introducing or sustaining an urban & community forestry project within their community.
The Vermont Tree Steward Awards are announced in April. Awardees will be recognized on VT UCF's site, social media platforms, and a press release.
2020 Tree Steward Recipients
Hamilton Award: Dan Adams, Brattleboro Tree Warden
Dan is a graduate of the University of Maine with a degree in forestry and has been the Brattleboro Tree Warden for over 20 years. Dan helped establish the Brattleboro Tree Advisory Board which actively promotes our urban and community forestry programs. Under his leadership, the Tree Board meets once a month and promotes public education, tree planting, tree maintenance, grant writing, tree inventories and review of Town projects. The Department of Public Works calls upon Dan to assess conditions of public trees in the town right-of-way. He engages with DPW staff & citizens that have questions or concerns about trees. He has increased citizen participation though public meetings and posting trees requesting public input. In 2015 Dan worked with the Vermont Urban & Community Forestry Program on the Brattleboro Public Tree Inventory Report which will support the future of our tree program. Dan is deeply committed to the Brattleboro urban and community forestry program.
Hamilton Award: Russ Barret, Northfield Tree Warden
Russ Barrett is the retired Washington County Forester, Vice-Chair of the Northfield Conservation Commission (NCC), and the Northfield tree warden. His tireless energy working with the Selectboard, the NCC, and the residents of Northfield deserves recognition. He spearheaded the Northfield town ash tree survey, and has led multiple town education seminars and walks to help community members better understand the tree canopy. He has, over the years, led the work on previous tree surveys, town forest projects, and is the go-to person for all questions about trees. As tree warden, he helped fashion a working policy during a contentious time, and then put it into action. When the town decided to cut many right-of-way trees on our backroads, townspeople were extremely concerned. Now, he takes the time to walk each targeted road with the highway foreman and talk with each landowner, discuss decisions tree by tree, and mark trees that are not to be cleared. He is knowledgeable and patient, clear on best practices but ready to listen to all. The town of Northfield is so lucky to have Russ Barrett!
Leader Award: Tim Parsons, Middlebury College
Tim Parsons is the Landscape Horticulturalist at Middlebury College and in this role he is responsible for maintaining and caring for the 2200 trees on the Middlebury Campus. He has taught a "Trees in the Urban Forest" course several times, and provided informative field trips for other courses, including Forestry in North America. With his students he has developed emergency preparedness plans for the arrival of Emerald Ash Borer for both the town of Middlebury and the College. He is also a member of the college’s Master Plan Implementation Committee, the Emergency Response Team, and the Community Council, and has served on the Environmental Council. Tim Parsons has a passion for trees and an incredible gift to share that knowledge with others!
Unsung Hero Award: Tom Gray, Bradford Conservation Commission
For many years, Tom Gray has worked tirelessly - grooming trails, removing blow-downs, constructing new trails, making repairs to the cabin - in our Wrights Mountain/Devil's Den Town Forest. He has led youth volunteers in trail building and grooming and has patiently taught them and encouraged them to respect the forest ecosystem. While being a steward of the forest, Tom has also served as an ambassador to our Town Forest while leading groups of adults and youngsters in exploring different features of the land. On a scheduled work day, Tom will be the first person to arrive and the last to leave; and on many occasions he has worked alone in the forest to improve a site that has been identified as needing an improvement. While he does not seek recognition for all of his time and effort, he's very giving of praise for others who do show up to help in the forest and for other Conservation Commission projects, such as our annual Race to the Top of Bradford. Tom has actively served on the Bradford Conservation Commission since 2008. He is employed at Green MT Power, and somehow manages to balance his work obligations with finding time to help manage the Northfield Town Forest!
Volunteer Group Award: Rutland Blooms
Rutland Blooms is a volunteer organization dedicated to beautifying the city and has been active for five years. In that time, over 350 trees have been planted with all monies necessary raised voluntarily by Rutland Blooms. Nearly 100 volunteers from Stafford Tech, GMP, boy scout troops, General Electric, area banks and more have helped with each of the plantings.
Arbor Day Award: Resilient Roads Committee of East Montpelier
The Resilient Roads Committee of East Montpelier continued its mission to build and maintain healthy roadside tree canopy along municipal roads by assessing the impact of emerald ash borer on town ash trees. From organization of a town-wide and entirely volunteer-based rural road ash inventory to the execution of a public hearing regarding removal of roadside ash trees near the local high school, the Resilient Roads committee has remained dedicated, well-informed, and thoughtful about all aspects of municipal tree care in the community. Congratulations to Resilient Roads Committee members Jennifer Boyer, Paul Cate, Jeff Cueto, Carl Etnier, Steve Justis, Mark Lane, Jack Pauly, Guthrie Perry, and Jean Vissering!
Previous Award Recipients
Many Vermont tree and forest champions have been recognized; click the link below to explore their great work for Vermont's trees!