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)

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Friends of Trees volunteers honored at Vancouver Arbor Day celebration

By Andy Meeks

On Wednesday, April 11, Friends of Trees helped the City of Vancouver celebrate a fun and educational Arbor Day with a special appearance by our mascot Garry Oak. Mayor Tim Leavitt accepted Vancouver’s 23rd straight Tree City USA designation from the Arbor Day Foundation, and the chair of Vancouver’s Urban Forestry Commission, Jim Wasden, presented several members of the community with a special award for making a “significant, positive impact on Vancouver’s urban forest.'” Additionally, a Zelkova tree was planted at the new City Hall by students from Hough Elementary school.

The Mac awards are officially named the Gordon and Sylvia MacWilliams Evergreen Awards in honor of the couple’s contributions to the Vancouver community. As noted on the Vancouver-Clark Parks & Recreation web site, “Gordon and Sylvia are true tree heroes through their many contributions to our community, especially their impact on Vancouver’s Urban Forest.”

We’d like to extend our congratulations to all of the award winners, but we are especially proud that four of the recipients are longtime Friends of Trees volunteers:

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