Friends of Trees’ 2012 Volunteer Potluck & Awards celebration

By Andy Meeks

On Sunday, April 29, Friends of Trees volunteer leaders and staff gathered at our office for our annual end-of-season Volunteer Potluck & Awards celebration. Staff members gathered with crew leaders, neighborhood coordinators, and office volunteers to celebrate one another, as well as the completion of a very successful planting season.

Chris Canida: 2011-12 Volunteer of the Year

In addition to enjoying a wide array of tasty foods and beverages, we had raffle giveaways, tree games, the ever-popular four square game, and, of course, our volunteer awards ceremony.

We unveiled a brand new award this season called The Conan Award. It was created to recognize those crew leaders who lead crews for the Neighborhood Trees and Green Space Initiative programs and who set themselves apart from this exclusive group with their leadership skills and sustained dedication. Named in honor of Conan Harmon-Walker, a leader among leaders at Friends of Trees.

Conan Harmon-Walker and Kenny Symonds: The Conan Award

Here we honor our most dedicated volunteers who excelled in their roles and helped make Friends of Trees an even stronger and better organization. They deserve our sincere gratitude and appreciation for their sustained and dedicated efforts:

Chris Canida—Volunteer of the Year
Forest Tanier-Gesner—Neighborhood Trees Crew Leader of the Year
Sonny Newson—Green Space Initiative Crew Leader of the Year
Kenny Symonds—The Conan Award
Jeff Kisseloff—Neighborhood Trees Rookie of the Year
Neva Knott—Green Space Initiative Rookie of the Year
Wendy Gehring—Office Volunteer of the Year
Westside Vancouver—Neighborhood Group of the Year

  • Neighborhood coordinators representing these neighborhoods are: Sue Bluestein (Hough), Susan Sanders (Carter Park), Claire Beagle (Edgewood Park), Cynthia Thornton-Tang, Glenn Dollar (Lincoln), Catherine Cannon (Shumway)

The following volunteers received an honorable mention for the awards and also deserve special recognition:

Joanie Beldin—Volunteer of the Year
Barbara McLean—Neighborhood Trees Crew Leader of the Year
Tricia Sears—Green Space Initiative Crew Leader of the Year
Annette Pearson—The Conan Award
Keegan Heron—Neighborhood Trees Rookie of the Year
Cristina Watson—Green Space Initiative Rookie of the Year
David Meade—Office Volunteer of the Year
Beaumont-Wilshire, Cully, Roseway—Neighborhood Group of the Year

  • Neighborhood Coordinators representing these neighborhoods are: Starr Hogeboom (Cully), Theresa DeSousa, Caitlin Shelman, Leigh Ann Oatney (Roseway)

You can read more about the awards on our Volunteer Awards web page. Also, check out the slide show from the celebration below.

Our incredible volunteer leaders and volunteer planters accomplished the following during the 2011-12 planting season:

  • The Green Space Initiative program hosted 43 planting events and planted more than 37,000 native plants and trees.
  • The Neighborhood Trees program planted more than 5,200 street and yard trees at 32 planting events, breaking last year’s record by more than 700 trees.
  • In all, more than 3,500 individuals donated more than 32,000 hours of volunteer service to Friends of Trees

We are honored and humbled by this dedicated community of generous volunteers and can’t thank them enough for their efforts!

— Meeks is the Volunteer & Outreach Program Manager for Friends of Trees.