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Apr 212010

From Green Right Now Reports

The Arbor Day Foundation will be honoring 17 individuals, organizations and corporations for their tree planting, nature education and conservation efforts.

TreesThe winners will receive their awards at Arbor Day’s annual banquet May 1 at the Lied Lodge & Conference Center at the Arbor Day Farm outside Lincoln, Nebraska.

The foundation pays tribute to the friends of trees every year, since 1972, to highlight the need to conserve and restore the nation’s urban and wild forests.

“The winners honored this year are doing their part to inspire the next generation of tree planters and conservationists across the United States,” said John Rosenow, chief executive and founder of the Arbor Day Foundation, in a statement. “The work done with their hands and with their hearts will have a significant impact on the world today and for years to come.”

The top award this year will go to David Nowak, project leader with the U.S. Forest Service’s Northern Research Station. Nowak will receive the J. Sterling Morton Award, named for the founder of Arbor Day, for his work saving urban forests.

nowak Arbor Day winner

David Nowak

Nowak led a team of researchers that helped show the benefits of urban forests, and by the early 1990s, he was the first and only person who had scientifically sampled and assessed the urban forests of Chicago and Oakland, Calif.

His work helped city leaders in both places to appreciate the value of trees and led to the quantify the benefits of urban forests. By the early 1990s, he was the first person to statistically sample and assess the urban forests of Chicago and Oakland, Calif. Because of his work, city understood the value of trees. The project led to the development of i-Tree, a collaborative program that helps communities measure the environmental services provided by trees, which evolved into an “i-Tree tool,” according to Arbor Day.

Nowak’s i-Tree tool is now being used by thousands of communities worldwide.

Nowak was among the scientists of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change who were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize alongside Al Gore, Jr. in 2007.

The other 2010 award winners include several individuals and organizations and three corporations. Arbor Day’s list of honorees:

  • Education at Big K of Macon, Ga., will be awarded The Good Steward Award, which recognizes landowners who practice sustainability on private lands from which others can learn. Education at Big K is owned by former Atlanta Braves baseball players Ryan Klesko and John Smoltz, and the tree farm is making a positive impact by teaching conservation and environmental stewardship to urban audiences of central Georgia. Klesko and Smoltz began purchasing land in 1998 with the goal to create a tree farm. Since 2002, they have used their farm to educate people about the need for trees and conservation.
  • Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper and the Mile High Million Tree Initiative will receive the Public Awareness of Trees Award for bringing attention to the importance of planting trees. The City of Denver and Mayor Hickenlooper created the initiative to triple the metro area’s tree canopy to 18 percent by 2025, and the Denver Greenprint Council worked with many groups to spread the word. The Mile High Million group took advantage of local resources to inform the citizens of Denver about the need to plant trees. More than 1,000 delegates and dignitaries from the Democratic National Convention volunteered at 30 community-project sites around Denver. The delegation included Michelle Obama and former president Jimmy Carter. The group also worked with the NBA’s Denver Nuggets and Major League Baseball’s Colorado Rockies to draw attention to the initiative.
  • Dave Mooter of Kennard, Neb., will receive the Frederick Law Olmsted Award for his lifelong commitment to tree planting and conservation in Nebraska. Mooter spent 25 years working at the Nebraska Forest Service to create healthier and more extensive community forests throughout the state. He worked to establish a tree-planting partnership with the State Department of Roads, which adds planting trees as part of highway renovation plans. This program was highly successful and replicated by communities across the U.S. He also played a key role in helping to recruit more than 100 communities in the state to earn Tree City USA recognition, which ranks Nebraska in the top 15 nationally.
  • David Bragdon of Portland, Ore., will receive the Excellence in Urban Forest Leadership Award for his leadership in advancing sustainable community forestry. As president of the Metro Council, the elected regional government for three counties and 25 cities in the Portland area, Bragdon helped develop a major network of trails, parks and natural spaces. The project, called The Interwine, encourages recreation, connection to nature, and active transportation such as walking, running and cycling. Since he started his tenure as president of the Metro Council in 2002, Bragdon has protected more than 10,000 acres of natural spaces.
  • Jim Schmitt of Gering, Neb., will receive the Forest Lands Leadership Award for advancing sustainable forestry efforts on public forest land. Schmitt has been providing a hands-on education experience for 1,200 young people each year since 1989 that highlights the importance of planting trees at Fort Robinson State Park in northwest Nebraska. He serves as chairman of the Fort Robinson Tree Plant, a project of the Boy Scouts of America’s Long Peaks Council. Each year, scouts gather to plant 15,000 trees at the park, learn about proper planting techniques and learn lessons in soil and water conservation and forestry. The project also worked with the staff at Fort Robinson State Park to create a natural trail and clean debris at the Spring Creek area. Scouts from Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas, South Dakota and Minnesota have participated in the Tree Plant project, planting more than 400,000 trees on this important piece of public land.
  • Casey Trees of Washington, D.C., and Green City Partnerships Program of the Seattle area will receive the Award for Excellence in Volunteer Management for their outstanding efforts to engage volunteers in tree-planting initiatives. Thousands of young trees are thriving throughout the District of Columbia thanks in large part to the hard work of volunteers from Casey Trees. Casey Trees, a nonprofit organization dedicated to restoring the tree canopy in Washington, D.C., set a goal to increase the city’s tree canopy to 40 percent coverage by 2035. Since 2001, Casey Trees has trained 700 Citizen Foresters to become volunteer leaders and educators. These foresters are required to learn how to plant, care for and identify trees, and tell others how trees benefit a community. They, in turn, teach other volunteers in the community the basics of tree planting and care. Last year, more than 1,600 adults and 600 young children participated in 54 tree-planting events. The Cascade Land Conservancy’s Green City Partnerships Program is raising a volunteer army in the Seattle area numbering in the thousands to help plant trees in public parks and natural areas. Conservation organizations from Seattle, Tacoma, Kirkland, Redmond, and Kent, Wash., make up the Green City Partnerships Program. Created to reverse a trend of decreasing tree canopy, the Green City Partnerships Program last year alone provided opportunities for more than 10,000 volunteers to participate first-hand in urban forestry restoration events. These volunteers donated a combined 87,000 hours of manpower in 2009. Since the program’s inception in 2004, the program has engaged nearly 20,000 people in the area.
  • Steve Koehn of Annapolis, Md., will receive the Champion of Trees Award for advancing public forestry policy. Koehn played a vital leadership role in the passage of the Maryland Sustainable Forestry Act of 2009. This historic act recognizes that an important way to clean Maryland’s vast Chesapeake Bay ecosystem is through healthy forests. This law could change the way many states view watershed restoration. It also encourages Maryland landowners to protect their forested areas and practice sound sustainable forestry and stewardship. Koehn has been a longtime champion of trees, with 26 years of experience in forest resource management. He has served as Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources Forest Service Director for nine years.
  • Robert Sympson of Lynbrook, N.Y., will receive the Lawrence Enersen Award, which honors those who have had a positive impact on the environment through a lifelong commitment to tree planting and conservation at a community level. Since Sympson retired as a teacher in 1991, he has dedicated his life to environmental projects in the villages of East Rockaway and Lynbrook, N.Y. He helped create a tree board in East Rockaway, and as a result the village has been a Tree City USA community for 12 years. He also helped launch a shade tree planting partnership in the village, where homeowners put up matching funds and youth groups plant trees on the private property. Sympson also helped Lynbrook develop a community garden, and worked with the community’s school district to plan a community walking trail and arboretum at Lynbrook South Middle School. He also played a key role in the establishment of the New York State Urban and Community Forestry Council and the Nassau County Forest Management Plan.
  • Mary Kay, Inc., of Dallas will receive the Rachel Carson Award for its dedication to teach young children the importance of nature. A year ago, Mary Kay found a way to strengthen its support of victims of domestic violence and its commitment to environmental sustainability. As a result, Mary Kay helped children of domestic violence make meaningful connections to the natural world by building Nature Explore Outdoor Classrooms at shelters for victims across the U.S. So far, the company has built Nature Explore Outdoor Classrooms in Chicago, Atlanta and Hackensack, N.J., and two more will be built in 2010 in Dallas and Los Angeles. These Classrooms are providing an opportunity for children to make a deep connection to the natural world in a peaceful environment.
  • The Tree Commission Academy of Columbus, Ohio, will receive the Education Award for creating a conservation program that will have a long-lasting positive impact on communities. The commission is empowering people throughout the state to strengthen the forest in individual communities. Started under the leadership of the Ohio Urban Forestry Program staff, the Tree Commission Academy is training citizen volunteers who serve on local tree commissions to manage and care for their trees more effectively. Classes cover topics such as urban forestry, arboriculture, municipal government and human relations. Each student completes 50 hours of class time to graduate from the academy. Since it opened, nearly 200 students representing more than 70 Ohio communities have participated in the academy.
  • Perkins County Conservation District of Bison, S.D., will receive the Excellence in Partnership Award for collaborative work to advance forestry efforts. The Northwest Area Cottonwood Re-Establishment Program, led by the Perkins County Conservation District, seeks to restore native cottonwood trees to private and public lands in the Grand, Moreau and Cheyenne watersheds in northwest South Dakota. This project is a partnership between six conservation districts, several state agencies, the U.S. Forest Service, South Dakota State University and numerous private landowners. As a result of their collaboration, more than 9,000 cottonwood trees on 65 acres of both public and private lands have been planted. These trees will grow to filter pollutants from adjacent agricultural lands, provide habitat and food for wildlife, reduce soil erosion and restore the beauty of the natural area.
  • Sheila Flint and the Strathcona County Recreation Department of Sherwood Park, Alberta, will receive the Celebration Award, which honors Arbor Day celebrations that best represent the spirit of the tree-planters’ holiday. More than 1,000 first-grade students participated in Strathcona’s Arbor Day celebration in 2009 thanks to the work of Flint, the urban forester and horticulturalist for the county. Students enjoyed a day filled with planting trees, inspired learning and fun events as they discovered the benefits of trees. The day-long celebration also includes a nature walk, a storytelling session geared to connect students with nature, “Nature-cise” activities that teach students how to play and be active outdoors, making tree cookies and a tree-planting demonstration. Each student receives a free seedling and learns how to plant and care for their new tree.
  • Laurence Wiseman of Potomac, Md., will receive the Legacy Award for his lifetime work on conservation issues as president of the American Forest Foundation. Through Wiseman’s leadership, the American Forest Foundation set the bar for excellence in forest conservation, wildlife and watershed protection and environmental education. The Foundation’s Project Learning Tree is a highly respected and widely used environmental education program throughout the country. More than 25,000 educators attend workshops every year to discover new ways to help young people think critically about environmental issues. The Foundation also began the American Tree Farm System, which is the largest internationally recognized certification system for small forests. Today, Wiseman continues to support conservation issues as chairman of the U.S. Forest Service’s National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council.
  • The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies and T-Mobile USA will receive the 2010 Promise to the Earth Award, which recognizes sustained commitment and leadership by a corporation that partners with the Arbor Day Foundation on special projects. Progressive has teamed up with the Arbor Day Foundation since 2007 to plant trees in our nation’s forests. To raise awareness of its paperless program, Progressive offered to plant a tree for every customer who opted to receive policy information electronically. Progressive contributed $1 to the Foundation to plant a tree in the customer’s honor. The results were tremendous, with 1.5 million customers making the switch resulting in 1.5 million trees being planted in forests that were in urgent need of replanting. While Progressive’s tree planting campaign has wrapped up, it continues to offer discounts where available to customers who choose to go paperless. In addition, Progressive celebrated its 70th anniversary by planting 70 trees in each of the six cities that serve as home to one of the company’s call centers. Progressive employees took part in the tree-planting events, which were held in city parks. In 2009, T-Mobile raised its commitment to the Earth to a new level by planting more than 1 million trees through a partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation. Through the company’s “T-Mobile Plant-A-Tree Project, T-Mobile has encouraged customers to switch to electronic statements. For each customer who made the switch, T-Mobile made a donation to the Foundation to plant a tree. During the last year, T-Mobile funded more than 1 million trees, which were distributed to residents in areas that were devastated by Hurricane Katrina and planted in Tiger Bay and John M. Bethea State Forests in Florida, Hiawatha National Forest in Michigan and the San Bernardino National Forest in California.
  • Past winners of Arbor Day Awards include Wangari Maathai, who also won a Nobel Peace Prize; Chicago Mayor Richard Daley; Stewart Udall, former U.S. Secretary of the Interior; veteran journalist Bill Kurtis; Enterprise Rent-A-Car; and the Walt Disney Company.

Jan 272010

By Harriet Blake

Mary Kay – home of the pink Cadillac and many things pink — is going green.

Mary Kay headquarters in Addison, near Dallas

Mary Kay headquarters in Addison, near Dallas

Turns out the skin care and cosmetics mega sales business that was born in 1963 and elevated and launched the career of the at-home beauty consultant has an environmental bent.

The company recycles compacts, builds nature classrooms at domestic violence shelters and for the past 20 years has been moving the culture at MK towards a greener future.

Crayton Webb, director of corporate responsibility, says Mary Kay Inc. was one of the first corporations in the U.S. to have internal recycling, as early as the late ‘80s.

“Our president at the time was Dick Bartlett, who believed that it made good sense for a business to be good stewards for the environment,” says Webb. “What we do today affects future generations.” Founder Mary Kay Ash also believed in doing well by doing good, Webb says.

A Mary Kay compact that can be customized.

A Mary Kay compact that can be customized.

In 2008, the global company, based in Addison, Texas outside of Dallas, introduced a new compact. But staff fretted about what women would do with their old ones. In keeping with the company’s new sustainability initiative, Mary Kay put together a compact on compacts — making compact recycling a part of its larger recycling program called Pink Doing Green. The makeup consultants brought old compacts to company events to be recycled. The compacts were broken apart and the end products went to a recycling contractor, thus avoiding the landfill.

“For every one we got back,” says Webb, “we planted a tree.” The company had partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation, the nonprofit conservation group whose mission is to nurture trees. Webb says the goal was for 200,000 compacts to be collected, but they received 300,000 by the end of last year, when the program ended.

As a result the company planted 200,000 trees in the Bitterroot National Forest in Montana. “It’s more than planting a tree,” says Janelle O’Haugherty, manager for corporate communication. “This area had been destroyed by fire. We are restoring the benefits that trees provide.” The reforestation will help clean the air and water and resore important environmental benefits to the area, said John Rosenow, chief executive and founder of the Arbor Day Foundation.

Mary Kay, which had worldwide sales of $2.6 billion in 2008 and operates in 35 markets around the globe, also recommends that women refill their compacts. The company suggests that women buy a compact for the long term and then reuse it with refills.


A Mary Kay "Nature Explore Outdoor Classroom" at Shelter Our Sisters in Hackensack, N.J.

Mary Kay’s involvement with the Nature Explore Classrooms and domestic violence shelters evolved from the company’s longtime interest in domestic violence. Mary Kay’s workforce and clientele are predominantly women and domestic violence is an issue the company takes  seriously. Statistics show, says Webb, that one in three women are affected by domestic violence at some point in their lives.

Since 2000, the Mary Kay Foundation has donated $22 million to shelters. (The foundation also contributes to causes fighting cancers affecting women.)

The concept of a nature classroom evolved much like music therapy which has been shown to improve kids’ outlook. “Nature is therapeutic to abused kids,” Webb says. “The nature classrooms were created as safe, fun places where kids could learn, play and heal from abuse at home.” Nature has been shown to lessen stress on kids who have faced adverse situations.The Arbor Day Foundation also partnered with Mary Kay on this project.

“These are not just playgrounds,” says O’Haugherty. “There is a curriculum, music, planting, digging and a lot of learning about nature that goes on.”

The company has built five nature classrooms so far. They are located in Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas and Hackensack, N.J. In October 2009, the classrooms opened in Chicago, Hackensack and Atlanta. The ones in LA and Dallas will open in the first quarter of this year.

“As an organization, we believe that violence against women is simple unacceptable,” said Anne Crews last October during Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Crews is vice president of government relations for Mary Kay Inc. and a board member for the Mary Kay Foundation. “We know that helping women and children connect with nature during the healing process will empower them.”

Mary Kay’s hope, Webb adds, “is that these children have the opportunity to heal. If the nature classroom can play some small role in what they do, we’ve done our job,” he says. “It’s more than just writing a check.”

In addition to the compact recycling and nature classrooms, Mary Kay has introduced green initiatives in its Addison-based headquarters. Just by turning off the lights when leaving the office, Webb says the company has reduced its energy consumption by 13 percent. There are motion sensors in the offices and conference rooms that automatically go out after people leave the room.

Initially, says Webb, some employees were resistant because they didn’t want their colleagues to think they had gone home early. “So we created door hangers,” says Webb, “that said: ‘I’m in today. My lights are out to be green.’”

At Mary Kay’s distribution and packaging facilities, bio-peanuts are now used as the packing materials. They are made of corn and potato starch and can either be re-used or dissolve in water. Mary Kay uses product cartons made of recycled paperboard; the packaging of their individual products uses post consumer content, varying from product to product – in some cases up to 35 percent.

At its global manufacturing facility in Dallas, Webb says, 13 tons of alcohol waste is now being removed, reducing Mary Kay’s annual hazardous waste output by 25 percent.

Mary Kay, which is sold by 2 million Mary Kay consultants around the world,  has also been the recipient of the Dallas Blue Thumb Award for water conservation for several years, thanks to its reduced water use.

“We’re not perfect,” Webb says.  “There’s so much more that can be done. We don’t want to brag. It’s part of our responsibility.”

Copyright © 2010 | Distributed by Noofangle Media