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Awards Program - Midwestern Chapter


Meet the 2016 MWISA award winners

Greeting to all fellow members of the MDWISA Chapter! As the Award Liaison for our chapter I had the privilege to help present our annual chapter awards recently at the 2017 Midwestern Chapter Annual Conference and Trade Show in St. Louis on February 2nd, 2017. If you missed the opportunity to attend the award banquet and meet the award winners, the following information is your chance to learn more about the award winners and their notable achievements.



Midwestern chapter Award of Achievement- Austin Lampe


Austin is an ISA certified Arborist and Municipal Arborist Institute (MFI) graduate with the Jefferson City Parks Department, but he began his career in tree care with the University of Missouri-Columbia campus landscape services. Austin was nominated by Ryan Russell, whom previously was the MU campus arborist that Austin received much of his early training from. Ryan noted in his nomination that Austin should be credited for the tree inventory work he help accomplish in Jefferson City but also for all his efforts with the Missouri Community Forestry Council (  MCFC), work that  included  leading ISA certified arborist training classes.



Author's Award of Excellence- Laurie Stepanek



Laurie Stepanek, as part of the Nebraska Forest Service’s Forest Health team, is according to nominator Eric Berg, considered by many to be one of the leading experts in writing and communicating critical issues relating to forest health in Nebraska and the Great Plains region. Laurie has authored 16 different forest health publications and coauthored an additional nine. These subject-driven efforts cover everything from current and emerging issues such as the 2014 Emerald Ash Borer: Guidelines for Nebraska Homeowners, to the 2009 publication Abiotic Problems with Trees. Examples of all of these publications can be found on-line by visiting the NFS web page at: http://nfs.unl.edu/publications



Award of Merit- Joshua Carron & Russ Younker



This award went to urban forester, Joshua Carron & assistant urban forester, Russ Younker, in recognition of their work in the development and implementation of Forest Park’s EAB Management Plan. The management plan consisted of three different treatment types for the park’s ash trees: injections, bark spraying, and removals.  It also includes sections on how the park will be replanted, community outreach efforts, and how managers of the other institutions in Forest Park should approach EAB.  A key feature of the plan was to establish several high profile and highly visible areas to concentrate management efforts.  The management plan was submitted, and support, along with funding, was secured and provided to implement actionable items within the plan.  

The EAB Management Plan will serve as the basis for Forest Park’s response to EAB over the next several years.  It has allowed the Forest Park Arboricultural crew and the City of St. Louis to be proactive in treating of ash that are worth trying to save, and proactive in removing the remaining ash before they become a liability to the visitors of Forest Park. 



Honorary member -Lanny Rawdon



Lanny Rawdon, a retired commercial airline pilot and nurseryman, lives near Kearney, MO. As a former pilot, Lanny was able to visit some of the oldest and most famous arboretums and gardens in the country. While the owner of the now closed Arborvillage Nursery, Lanny was able to build lasting friendships and grow his nursery to include some of the most diverse collections of trees available for mail order. Since his retirement from the nursery business in 2004 he has remained very active in the community and his local church. He landscaped the church grounds with a unique collection of trees and shrubs, several of his own selections.

In 2010, Lanny began a partnership with the City of Kearney to improve Jesse James Park. The park was mostly barren of trees. Lanny, and his wife Sue, began working in the park, planting trees and shrubs along border areas, out of the way of soccer fields, event areas, etc. These were not ordinary trees, they were largely rare and unique plants that came straight out of Lanny’s personal collections, which he had propagated and grown for many years. He began digging the plants (out of his own yard in many cases) and transplanting to the park little by little. With little support to help plant, water, mulch or maintain these new plantings, Lanny and Sue have done most of this by themselves. As a result of their efforts over last couple of years, the park’s collections, and most importantly the tree canopy, has grown. There is little redundancy in the plantings, and it is a virtual arboretum. The City of Kearney has since given a small annual budget for upkeep, but Lanny and Sue have taken on much of the expense themselves. Since 2010, Lanny and Sue have planted around 600 trees and shrubs in the park, with more plantings planned. Recently, Lanny had two large Ginkgo trees moved by a truck tree-spade into the park to provide needed shade in an otherwise bare area. Lanny has committed to this project because of a lifetime passion for trees and his small community of Kearney



Honorary Life Membership- Helene Miller


Helene’s  31 + year career with the Missouri Department of Conservation  initially began as managing forests on state land, helping private landowners manage their woods, and serving as the community forestry go-to-person in the Region.  She was transferred to Kansas City Region in 1996 to be an Urban Forester in Kansas City and she took the lead to work with communities to promote tree care, urban conservation, walkable communities, smart growth and climate protection.  She has authored several articles in the Missouri Conservationist magazine include one in the July 2010 issue focusing on the benefits of street trees.

She had been a tireless advocate for community trees and engaging volunteers.  She was instrumental in the formation of the Heartland Tree Alliance, a non-profit organization in the Kansas City region that educates people about the benefits and proper care of urban trees and organizes planting events and tree care workdays so people can get involved.  She is a founding member of TreeLiberty, a citizen action group focused on improving the health and canopy cover of trees in her home town of Liberty, Missouri. 

Upon retirement she continued to be active in community forestry working for 6 months as a Community Forestry Recovery Coordinator for MDC in Joplin immediately after the 2011 tornado.  She works part time for William Jewel College as a landscaper helping to assure that the trees on this campus are carefully managed.  She was Co-Chair in planning the 2016 Missouri Community Forestry Council (MCFC) conference in St. Joseph and is active with MCFC locally. Helene has served on the MW ISA Board of Directors and has been active in MW ISA chapter for numerous years.



Gold Leaf Award for Outstanding Arbor Day Activities- Brunswick Missouri


Brunswick, population 858, is located in northern Missouri in Chariton County.  Brunswick held its 2016 Arbor Day Celebration on April 20th at the Brunswick RII School to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Tree City USA program. The city of Brunswick has been certified as Tree City USA for 16 years, which makes it one of the just 88 certified cities in Missouri.  Although the school and the whole community are involved, it’s an event primarily organized by the Brunswick Tree City Board, whose members are Colleen Johnson, Mary and Don Riddle. Arbor Day activities at the Brunswick RII School included a poster contest, the Kindergartner Honor Tree planting, and a presentation by MDC regional forester on the importance of trees.  



Gold Leaf Award for outstanding landscape Beautification Activities- University of Kansas Marvin Grove


Nominated by City of Lawrence, Kansas, Horticulture and Forestry manager, Crystal Miles, The University of Kansas Marvin Grove Management Plan won recognition for its outstanding contribution to conservation and management of an important and notable landscape. The Marvin Grove is an historic and iconic resource on the campus of the University of Kansas.  Originally established in 1878 as a campus forest and planted by students, faculty, the Douglas County Horticultural Society and Chancellor Marvin himself.  Accepting the award was Marion Paulette, project manager with the University of Kansas.



2016 President’s award- Ivan Katzer


A Board Certified Master Arborist, Ivan is known and admired by many MWISA members for his long, distinguished career in arboriculture, and his contributions to the MWISA chapter as a member of the board of directors (2000-2004) and as a financial officer, (2004-2012).

For MWISA President Kevin Harrel, this admiration goes further as Ivan is not only a friend, but a trusted colleague he can count on in times of crisis. Kevin recalled that in the aftermath of devastating ice storm that walloped the Springfield area in 2007, his tree care  company, Arbor Care of the Ozarks, was besieged by desperate calls for help by homeowners concerned about their trees. Mired deep in the crisis himself, power out, fuel shortages etc.  Kevin reached out to Ivan for guidance and advice which he provided without hesitation.

For those that don’t recall the intensity of this ice storm, See-



Looking Forward

Keep in mind as we enter into this busy summer that the purpose of the award program is to recognize excellence in our MWISA chapter. Think of the many outstanding arborist you know, or fantastic projects you’ve seen in our chapter and considering nominating one of them for an award.  Applications and award information is available online at our website and you’ll find that the nomination process is really straight forward.  I also want to mention that members interested in assisting on either nomination or selection committee will be warmly welcomed, just contact me at brett.obrien@como.gov   or (573) 874-7489.


By Brett O’Brien

 Park Natural Resources Supervisor – Columbia, Missouri
 Awards Liaison – Midwestern Chapter





The Midwestern Chapter of ISA annually recognizes individuals, groups, or organizations that have performed meritorious service in advancing the principles and practices of arboriculture and contributed significantly and unselfishly towards the progress of the Chapter.  Award winners are recognized each year at the MW ISA annual conference.  Awards are presented in six categories including:

  • AWARD OF MERIT: Recognizes outstanding meritorious service in advancing the principles, ideals, and practices of arboriculture. Granted only to members of the MW Chapter of ISA.
  • AUTHOR’S AWARD OF EXCELLENCE: Recognizes authors of outstanding publications, news stories, radio and television programs for sustained excellence in the dissemination of timely information pertaining to the field of arboriculture. The information provided must have impact on the Midwest chapter audience.
  • PRESIDENT’S AWARD:  Recognizes an individual, group, company or agency that has provided a significant impact in the field of arboriculture during the previous two years.  This award would be presented at the discretion of the current MW Chapter ISA President.
  • AWARD OF ACHIEVEMENT:  Granted to members of the Midwest Chapter ISA only, this award recognizes sustained outstanding effort or contribution to the advancement of ISA within the Chapter. 
  • HONORARY MEMBERSHIP:  Recognizes individuals or groups who are not members of the Midwest Chapter who have provided outstanding or noteworthy service in promoting arboriculture within the Chapter.  Recipients will have made material contributions to the advancement of arboriculture through research, field practice, promotion, invention or literature.  They should have an ongoing interest and may include individuals, groups or organizations. 
  • HONORARY LIFE MEMBERSHIP:  Bestowed upon members of the Midwest Chapter that have contributed materially and substantially to the progress of arboriculture in the Midwest Chapter and have given unselfishly in their efforts to support and advance arboriculture. 

In addition the Chapter presented the Arbor Day Gold Leaf Award.  The Gold Leaf Award is designed to recognize an individual, organization, or community in the Midwestern Chapter area for outstanding Arbor Day programs or community landscape beautification projects. This is an opportunity for the Midwestern Chapter to recognize projects that have had an impact on a community or region with an international award. Projects should show an impact over several years. 


Gold Leaf Nomination Award Form 

MW ISA Chapter Awards Nomination Form 


If you know an individual or group that has performed meritorious service in advancing the principles and practices of arboriculture, produced an outstanding publication or media program, contributed significantly and unselfishly towards the progress of the Chapter, held a unique or noteworthy Arbor Day activity, or completed a significant community landscape project, this is a great opportunity to recognize your peers, associates, citizens or other individuals.  


Wonder who has won in the past?  Click here for: Past Award Winners.

                                                                              Past Gold Leaf Award Winners

                                                                              2015 MWISA Award Winners




For more information on the MW Chapter Awards, please contact Brett O’Brien, Chapter Awards Liaison. Brett.obrien@como.gov  (573)874-7489


ISA Awards Programs -  http://www.isa-arbor.com/events/awardsprograms/index.aspx



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