2011 Urban & Community Forestry Award Winners
Outstanding Project Grand Award
White Deer Park is situated on 96 acres of mostly forested open space in Garner, NC. The park serves as a buffer to the Swift Creek watershed, which is critical to the protection of the locally endangered Dwarf Wedge Mussel. White Deer Park is Garner's premier demonstration facility, showcasing a LEED-Gold certified nature center, stormwater mitigation landscaping, an arboretum featuring native trees and shrubs, as well as Garner's first greenway trail. White Deer Park serves as a model of forest preservation amongst growing suburbs, protecting the watershed, and educating the public to choose sustainable options for house and yard.
Outstanding Project Merit Award
In 2007, the Town of Chapel Hill began the process to revise its 20-year old tree protection ordinance to better achieve objectives in its Comprehensive Plan. Chapel Hill's Planning and Public Works staff contracted with Davey Resource Group to draft a revised ordinance with new emphasis on canopy protection. A public participation process was implemented to both solicit input on the ordinance and identify shared goals of the stakeholders. Throughout this 3-year process, the town shared information and updates with the public through the internet and other media. The ordinance also includes a mandate for staff to report on the effectiveness of the requirements using a set of five recommended metrics. The public participation process and the monitoring requirement make Chapel Hill's tree protection ordinance a model for other communities.
Outstanding Individual winner
Mr. J. Robert "Bob" Curry has served as the chairman of the Pine Knoll Shores Community Appearance Commission for the last 10 years. Mr. Curry has been instrumental in preserving the Town's unique maritime forest ecosystem, even as the area experienced rapid growth. Mr. Curry petitioned the state legislature to have Carteret County join in the protection of sea oats and other flora on Pine Knoll Shores' beaches, which is critical for the stabilization of the shifting sands of our coastal communities. Mr. Curry has educated many new homeowners on the benefits that trees and other native vegetation have in the maritime forest ecosystem. Mr. Curry's efforts have resulted in the propagation and protection of Pine Knoll Shores' trees, particularly in the maritime forest and natural beachfront vegetation.
Outstanding Tree Board or Urban Forestry Committee Grand Award
The Town of Matthews Appearance and Tree Commission is a leading advocate for the community's trees and green spaces. Through the implementation of the town's tree ordinance, the Treescape Initiative program, and the annual Cleaning and Greening event, the town has helped educate the community to the value of trees and green spaces in our urban areas. The commission has also helped bring a heightened sense of awareness of our community trees through the Living Legacy Tree Program, its annual Arbor Day Celebration, participation in the Tree City USA program, and various Commission-sponsored workshops.
Tree City USA of the Year
The City of Gastonia has been a Tree City USA community for the past 10 years and has received seven Tree City USA Growth Awards during this time. Gastonia, population 72,934, is located in Gaston County, just west of Charlotte. Gastonia is being recognized as a Tree City USA of the Year because of the combined efforts of city staff and the Keep Gastonia Beautiful committee. Keep Gastonia Beautiful has created a unique partnership with the city's electric department to replace trees removed by the electrical department with more appropriate sized trees, plant new trees in areas without tree cover, and provide a resource for residents to purchase trees. The city is also being recognized for its tree planting program, which aims to replace trees lost during storm events. The community also hosts an annual Arbor Day celebration which includes many area schools, city leaders and staff, Keep Gastonia Beautiful staff and local citizens.