Education, Outreach, and Advocacy Oregon Community Trees



Urban & Community Forestry Awards

Oregon Community Trees (OCT) annually honors outstanding individuals for their leadership and accomplishments in advancing urban and community forestry projects and activities in the state of Oregon. The OCT awards recognize powerful examples of inspirational individuals engaging citizens, promoting tree planting and quality tree care, raising awareness and knowledge about Oregon’s trees and forests, and protecting Oregon’s urban and community forests to improve the quality of life in towns and cities around the state.

Nominate an individual or organization using this form.

Nominations must be submitted by February 15, 2017.


2016 Urban & Community Forestry Award Winners

Recipients of the 2016 Oregon Urban and Community Forestry Awards were announced today by Oregon Community Trees. Now in their 23rd year, the O.C.T. awards recognize outstanding individuals and organizations for significant accomplishments and leadership advancing urban and community forestry projects and activities in the state of Oregon.

“This year’s recipients are great examples of inspirational individuals and organizations promoting tree planting and quality tree care, while raising awareness and knowledge about Oregon’s trees and urban and community forests,” said Oregon Community Trees President Ruth Williams. “We’re proud to honor them.”

Here is a list of this year’s award recipients:


Individual Award: Ian Keene

As Lincoln City’s Open Space Coordinator, Keene organized and led volunteers during hundreds of volunteer hours to rehabilitate the city’s open spaces. Keene led efforts to plant hundreds of native trees, shrubs and groundcover, repaired and improved miles of trails and worked to install educational signage about open spaces. A tireless advocate for the protection and promotion of native coastal forest and its unique ecology, Keene has used his deep knowledge of and passion for coastal forest ecology to educate the volunteers and high school students he works with.

Individual Award: Lee Stevenson

With a mission to inform, engage and inspire students and their communities, Stevenson, a retired science teacher, founded Project Ponderosa in 2006, a program dedicated to restoring this hardy specie for future generations.  He assembled a diverse coalition of partners to support his vision: Sunriver Water & Environmental, the Sunriver Nature Center & Observatory and the Sunriver Owners Association.  Now each spring 1,000 – 2,000 bare-root ponderosa seedlings are potted then grown and cared for by students who have been taught and mentored by Stevenson.  In addition, Lee operates the ponderosa nursery where local Life Skills students gain valuable work experience in this program made possible by these unique partnerships. 

Lee Stevenson is an enthusiastic volunteer in helping retain and enhance Sunriver, Oregon as a Tree City USA.  Besides Lee’s help to manage seedling sales, his project has also provided seedlings to environmental groups and community associations as well as providing grants to the La Pine High Life Skills Program and Three Rivers School to support their respective horticulture and environmental education programs. 

Individual Award: Patricia Farrell

Farrell, natural resource specialist with the City of Salem, was meeting leader and facilitator of two Salem committees whose works have greatly enhanced the city’s tree canopy and also offer greater protections for Salem’s existing trees. Under her leadership and outreach to many neighborhood associations, 217 trees were planted as part of the city’s free street tree program. Farrell also engaged Friends of Trees in planting trees along streams and low-canopy neighborhoods, and recently produced two video documentaries discussing Oregon white oaks, the environmental factors that threaten them and ongoing conservation efforts.

Organization Award: Eugene Friends of Trees

“There has been such a noticeable difference in the number of thriving young trees along our streets since Friends of Trees opened their office a few years ago,” says Scott Altenhoff, urban forestry management analyst for the City of Eugene’s urban forestry program. “They have been very successful at filling in the gaps and doing things our agency doesn’t have the resources or license to do,” he adds.

Eugene Friends of Trees are making a difference throughout Lane County and the Eugene-Springfield metro area. “In many ways Friends of Trees are the “friendly face” of Eugene’s tree planting program. We’re especially grateful for their efforts to engage the local business community to support urban forest improvement efforts. They have and will continue to be an essential part of our efforts to create world-class urban forest and a top-notch urban forestry program,” he says.

Organization Award: City of Eugene

A proactive rather than reactive maintenance approach to their tree program earned the City of Eugene an Organization award. This approach allows them to plan for pruning and to prioritize high-risk trees ahead of time rather than after tree failure, which promotes safety, public recognition and respect.

Last year City of Eugene staff also spent a great deal of time finalizing a new street tree list, a product of research, expert opinion and the best available science that also promotes new species – many of which are native or “climate resilient” trees. Staff also receive training in pest management, GIS, tree climbing and aerial rescues, demonstrating their commitment to tree health and good stewardship.

President’s Award: John Bellon, City of Klamath Falls

Bellon, Parks Manager for the City of Klamath Falls, has been on the Oregon Community Trees Board of Directors for more than 20 years, serving as Vice President and taking a leadership role on numerous committees. He is the recipient of this year’s President’s Award. Bellon also helped host regional O.C.T. events in Southern Oregon over the years, and has been a mentor to emerging professionals in the urban forestry field.


About These Awards

Anyone can make nominations for these awards, which are given annually for leadership in community and urban forestry.   For more information, visit the OCT website ( ).


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