Awards of Excellence

Urban and Community Forestry Awards of Excellence

These Awards of Excellence are selected for outstanding leadership, education efforts or activities that have made a significant contribution to establishing and maintaining viable community forests in Tennessee.

The nomination period is currently closed. Please check back in summer 2024.

Congratulations to our 2023 Winners

Presidents Award

President's Award: Jan Castillo, West TN Chapter of TUFC

The President’s Award recognizes an unsung person or organization who has done outstanding urban forestry achievements at the local community level. These are the daily heroes, who through their urban forestry efforts, work and inspire the rest of us to make our communities a better place for people to live.

Citizen Activist Award

Citizen Activist Award: Caroll Marrero, Master Gardeners of Davidson County

The Citizen Activist Award recognizes an individual person not employed in a related Green Industry area whose dedication has made significant and outstanding contributions to urban forestry at the local, regional or state level.


Arboretum Award: Elmwood Cemetery

The Arboretum Award recognizes a community, group, or school that proactively uses their arboretum for exemplary educational activities to expand the likelihood and ability of the public to see many varieties of trees; to discover their different names, appearances and uses; and to learn of the benefits that trees provide to our environment, our public, our communities, and our state.

Tree Board Award

Tree Board Award: Clarksville Tree Board

The Tree Board Award recognizes a local board or committee that has made outstanding accomplishments in completing urban forestry projects, provided exemplary leadership, and made significant progress in meeting the goals of their local urban forestry program.

Media Steve Hall

Media Award: Steve Hall, Tennessee's Wild Side

The Media Award recognizes an electronic or prints media entity that has made a significant contribution to trees and/or urban forestry in its community or region.

Government Employee Award

Government Employee: Dan Hartman, City of Cleveland

The Government Employee Award recognizes an individual working for a government agency who has made outstanding contributions to the urban forestry effort at the local, regional or state level.

Green Industry

Green Industry Award: Trees Knoxville

The Green Industry Award recognizes a company or organization that shows leadership and dedication to advancing urban forestry efforts at the local, regional or state level.

Private Professional Award

Private Professional Award: Mike Larrivee, The Works

The Private Professional Award recognizes an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the urban forestry effort at the local, regional or state level. The individual must work for a company whose business is related to urban forestry.

Past Award Winners

2022 Winners

President’s Award: Lipscomb University Institute for Sustainable Practice
Citizen Activist Award: Ruth Osburn
Arboretum Award: Cooper-Young Arboretum, Memphis
Tree Board Award: City of Knoxville Tree Board
Media Award: Alyssa Merka, University of Tennessee
Government Employee: Eldra White, Memphis City Beautiful
Green Industry Award: Mary Helen Butler, Memphis Botanic Garden

2021 Winners

President’s Award: Linnea West
Citizen Activist: Timothy Hatmaker
Government Employee: Pam Beasley
Media Award: Deanna Lambert
Tree Board Award: City of Brentwood Tree Board
Arboretum Award: Carnes Garden Arboretum
Builder/Developer: archimania

2020 Winners

Green Industry: Urban Earth, Memphis
Citizen Activist: Bill Bullock, Memphis
Government Employee: Rick Martin
Media Award: WKNO-TV, Memphis
Tree Board Award: Googlettsville Tree Committee
Arboretum Award: Dogwood’s Mac Post Arboretum
Private Professional Award: Terran Arwood

2019 Winners

President’s Award: Judi Shellabergar
Citizen Activist: Anthony Viglietti
Government Employee: Paul Mulloy
Media Award: Judith Rutschman
Tree Board Award: Morristown Tree Board
Arboretum Award: Eartha Reaves
Private Professional Award: Michael Davie

2018 Winners

Citizen Activist: Jim Gregory and Will Worrall, Nashville
Government Employee: Tim Roberts, Memphis
Green Industry: The Compost Fairy, Memphis
Media: Chris Cooper, Memphis
Tree Board: Memphis Tree Board
President’s Award: Dean Caula Beyl, Knoxville

2017 Winners

Citizen Activist: Eartha Reaves, Memphis
Government Employee: Randall Lantz, Nashville
Green Industry: Carol Ashworth, Nashville
Media: Peter Richards, Memphis
Private Professional: Scott Woods, Memphis

2016 Winners

Citizen Activist: Vicki Turner, Nashville
Government Employee: Joellen Diamond, Memphis
Green Industry: The Compost Company, Ashland City
Private Professional: Tony Larkins, Nashville
Tree Board: Chattanooga Tree Commission
President’s Award: Chris Armour

2015 Winners

Citizen Activist: Weida Ringley, Memphis
Utility Forester: Jeff Fitzpatrick, Cookeville
Government Employee: Janet P. Hooks, Memphis
Tree Board: Rogersville

2014 Winners

Builder/Developer: Southeast Venture, Nashville
Citizen Activist: Randy Allen, White House
Government Employee: Karna Levitt, Chattanooga
Green Industry: Nashville Tree Foundation
Media: Louise Zepp, Tennessee Conservationist
Private Professional: Mariah C. Prescott, Dalton

Pre-2014 Winners
  • 2013
    Builder/Developer: Henry Turley, Memphis
    Career Achievement: Eleanor Willis, Friends of Warner Parks, Nashville
    Citizen Activist: Eileen Elliott and Marlene Wilson, Trenton
    Government Employee Award: Burk Renner, Memphis
    Media: Danny Jones, Trenton
    Private Professional Award: Dr. Mark Follis, Memphis
    President’s Award: Laurie Williams, Memphis
  • 2012
    Tree Board: Knoxville Tree Board
    Green Industry: Wolf River Conservancy
    Private Professional: Wes Hopper, Certified Arborist
    Citizen Activist: Debbi Molloy
    Government Employee: Richard Beckwith, City of Memphis
    Media: Chris Gang
    President’s Award: Jimmy Ferrell, Jon Nessle
  • 2011
    Citizen Activist: Don Richardson, Memphis
    Tree Board: Metro Nashville Tree Advisory Committee
    Government Employee: Shawn Posey, West Tennessee Regional Urban Forester
    President’s Award: Patrick Haller, Sparta
    Private Professional: Jennifer Smith, Nashville
    Green Industry: Shelby Farms Park Conservancy, Memphis
  • 2010
    Builder/Developer: Lawrence Brothers LLC and Design Resource, Nashville (joint winners)
    Government Employee: Nick Bridgeman, City of Lakeland
    Private Professional: Parke Brown, The Parke Company, Nashville
    Citizen Activist: Jan Castillo, Master Gardener, Memphis
    Tree Board: Cleveland Shade Tree Board
    Green Industry: Newport Utilities
    Media: Emily Adams Keplinger, The Commercial Appeal, Memphis
    TUFC President’s Award: Chris Clark, Clark and Associates, Nashville
  • 2009
    Private Professional: Frank Abbott, Morristown
    Green Industry: Askew, Hargraves, Harcourt & Associates, Inc., Lakeland
    Media: The Citizen Tribune, Morristown
    Builder/Developer: Maple Grove, GP, Lakeland
    President’s Award: Liz Didier, Knoxville
    Government Employee: Laurie Williams, Memphis
    Tree Board: Chattanooga Tree Commission, Chattanooga
    Citizen Activist: Jim Volgas, Memphis
  • 2008
    Private Professional: Scott Winningham, Cookeville
    Green Industry: Jimmy Ferrell, Memphis
    Builder/Developer: Dalhoff Thomas Daws LLC, Sam Henry, Landscape Architect, Collierville
    President’s Award: Dr. Douglas Airhart, Cookeville
    Government Employee: Eric Bridges, Lakeland
    Tree Board: Bristol, Nancy Estes, Chairman
    Citizen Activist: Barbara Garrett, Morristown
    Citizen Activist: Sharon Burch, Memphis
  • >2007
    Private Professional: Scott Winningham, Cookeville
    Green Industry: Cortese Tree Specialists, Inc., Knoxville
    Builder/Developer: Doug Dickens, Boyle Investment Co., Memphis
    President’s Award: Tom Simpson, Knoxville
    Government Employee: Dr. Chris Catanzaro, Nashville
    Tree Board: City of Morristown Tree Board
    Citizen Activist: Christine Bock, Chattanooga
  • 2006
    Private Professional: Tracy Jackson, Clarksville
    Green Industry: Derrick Lynch, Middle TN Electric, Murfreesboro
    Media: Commercial-Appeal, Memphis
    Builder/Developer: Schmid & Rhodes Construction, Knoxville
    President’s Award: Bruce Webster, Nashville
    Government Employee: Eric Bridges, Lakeland
    Tree Board: Clarksville
    Citizen Activist: R. B. Morris, Knoxville
  • 2005
    Private Professional: Parke Brown, Nashville
    Green Industry: Wolf Tree Experts, Knoxville
    UT Master Gardeners of Northeast Tennessee, Appalachian Fair Association, Johnson City Power Board
    Media: Pulaski Publishing
    Builder/Developer: Bobby Kirby, Fred Hoover, Jewell Hale, Dr. Oscar Spivey, Dr. R.P. Sabo, McMinnville
    Council Member: Wes Hopper, Memphis
    Government Employee: David Vandergriff, Knoxville
    Tree Board: Kingsport Tree Board
    Citizen Activist: Bob Santore, Knoxville
  • 2004
    Private Professional: Jerry Roberts, Chattanooga
    Green Industry: (Trees for Power Lines collaborative project)
    UT Master Gardeners of Northeast Tennessee, Appalachian Fair Association, Johnson City Power Board
    Media: Southern Standard, McMinnville
    Builder/Developer: Nisus Corporation, Rockford
    Council Member: Jerry Jeansonne, Chattanooga
    Government Employee: Christy Pepper, Memphis
    Tree Board: Crossville Tree Board (Charles Daugherty, Chair)
    Citizen Activist: Harold Childress, Kingsport
  • 2003
    Private Professional: Sam Adams, Cortese Tree Specialists, Knoxville
    Green Industry: Chattanooga Association of Landscape Professionals, Chattanooga
    Media: 91.3 WCPI Public Radio, McMinnville
    Builder/Developer: Life Care Centers of America, Cleveland
    Council Member: Patrick Haller, Sparta
    Government Employee: Nick Kuhn, McMinnville
    Citizen Activist: Dr. Randall Smith, Tullahoma
  • 2002
    Government: Gary Tuttle, Clarksville
    Tree Board: Tullahoma Tree Board
    Citizen Activist: Tracy Jackson, Clarksville
  • 2001
    Private Professional: Dr. Don Williams, Knoxville
    Green Industry: Wolfe Tree Expert Inc., Knoxville
    Media: WBIR-TV, Knoxville
    Builder/Developer: Knoxville Community Development Corp.
    Council Member: Douglas Airhart, Cookeville
    Government: Tom Simpson, Regional Forester, Knoxville
    Tree Board: Johnson City Tree & Appearance Board
    Citizen Activist: Rory Reese, Cleveland
  • 2000
    Private Professional: Jim Cortese, Cortese Tree Specialist, Knoxville
    Green Industry: TNLA, Roger Spivey McMinnville
    Media: The Tennessean, Nashville
    Builder/Developer: Clark & Clark, Memphis
    Council Member: Gene Hyde, Urban Forester, Chattanooga
    Government: Kay Fermann, Asst. Urban Forester, Dept. of Ag. Division of Forestry
    Tree Board: Clarksville Tree Board
    Citizen Activist: Dottie Mann, Clarksville Tree Board Chairman
  • 1999
    Private Professional: Ruel Jones, Quality Tree Surgery, Nashville
    Media: Cookeville Cablevision, Cookeville
    Builder/Developer: Mid America Apartment Communities
    Council Member: Brett Smith, Landscape Architect, Nashville
    Government: Jack Golio, Dyersburg Electric Department, Dyersburg
    Tree Board: Nashville
    Citizen Activist: Dr. Alva Pendergrass, UT Martin, Martin
  • 1998
    Private Professional: Carl Absher, Power & Light, Chattanooga
    Media: Cookeville Cablevision, Cookeville
    Builder/Developer: Hines Development,
    Council Member: Cynthia Holloway, Murfreesboro
    Government: Ann Chapman, Nashville
    Tree Board: Nashville
    Citizen Activist: Jenny Maffett, Cookeville Tree Board, Cookeville
  • 1997
    Private Professional: Steve Clark, Steve Clark & Associates, Inc., Nashville
    Media: WCTE-TV, PBS Channel 22, Cookeville
    Builder/Developer: Testerman Construction
    Council Member: Guy Zimmerman, Area Forester, Cookeville
    Government: Michael Bouton, City Arborist, Murfreesboro
    Tree Board: Tullahoma
    Citizen Activist: Maria Compere, Knoxville
  • 1996
    Private Professional: Jim Cortese, Cortese Tree Specialists, Knoxville
    Builder/Developer: Franklin Development, Franklin
    Council Member: Shawn Bible, Metro Beautification, Nashville
    Government: Mike Williams, Seymour
    Tree Board: Chattanooga
    Citizen Activist: Mary Pepper Fort, Shelbyville
  • 1995
    Private Professional: Fred Morgan, Consulting Arborist, Memphis
    Council Member: Guy Zimmerman, Area Forester, Cookeville
    Government: Victor Ashe, Mayor, Knoxville
    Tree Board: Sevierville
    Citizen Activist: Kim Hawkins, Nashville
  • 1994
    Private Professional: Kim Cross, Southern Tree Specialists, Brentwood
    Council Member: Jim Cortese, Cortese Tree Specialists, Knoxville
    Government: Dale White, Kingsport
    Tree Board: Norris and Bristol
    Citizen Activist: Allan Jones, Cleveland
  • 1993
    Citizen Activist: John Huckaba, Signal Mountain