2011 Tree Heroes

C.K. McClatchy Award

Congresswoman Doris Matsui

We would like to recognize United States Congresswoman Doris Matsui’s innovative and visionary leadership to expand our nation’s urban forests, improve the health and well-being of American citizens, and further our energy independence. As a recognized leader in the Sacramento community and in Congress, Representative Matsui is our region’s distinctive voice for flood control and public health reform. Congresswoman Matsui spearheaded a Congressional movement to persuade the Army Corps of Engineers to review and reform federal levee protection policies that put thousands of trees in the Sacramento area at risk of being cut down.

Congresswoman Matsui is also a strong supporter of urban forestry and urban forest programs. To this end, Congresswoman Matsui authored the Energy Conservation through Trees Act, modeled after the successful SMUD and Sacramento Tree Foundation Shade Tree Program. The Energy Conservation through Trees Act authorizes the Secretary of Energy to provide financial and technical assistance to utility companies so that the success of the Shade Tree Program, and its many benefits, can be replicated across the country.

Austin B. Carroll Award

Woodland Tree Foundation

In June 2000, twenty-five Woodland leaders came together to form the Woodland Tree Foundation. United under one common mission, “Building Community Through Canopy,” the all-volunteer nonprofit organization plants and cares for trees in Woodland and the surrounding Yolo County. This organization may be small in number but it is mighty in scope. Over the past 10 years the group has: educated local businesses, students, and government on the health, economic and environmental benefits of trees; organized over 40 plantings and planted approximately 2,100 trees; and has partnered with city and community groups to stretch dollars and resources so that the Foundation can grow oaks, redbuds, and other native shrubs. Recently, the Woodland Tree Foundation adopted a 5-mile stretch of State Highway 113 from Woodland south towards Davis where it plants and cares for native trees and colorful Chinese pistaches.

Growing Greenprint Award

City of Elk Grove

The City of Elk Grove demonstrates its commitment to building a green, vibrant and livable community by actively planting hundreds of new trees each year. The Elk Grove City Council was one of the first cities to formally adopt the regional Greenprint initiative in 2005, and has proven their dedication by updating the city tree protection ordinance, replanting native trees, and participating in workgroups to broaden the regional Greenprint vision. Efforts to increase native tree cover and habitat have resulted in over 1,900 new native trees over the last 6 years. In 2006, with the help of the Sacramento Tree Foundation and community volunteers, the City of Elk Grove was able to complete a canopy assessment survey that provided critical data regarding the current state of the City’s urban forest. This winter, Elk Grove débuted a new tree ordinance focusing on quality tree management and tree replacement. Time and again, the City of Elk Grove has shown its commitment to building a beautiful, safe and sustainable urban forest for the future.

Legacy Award

Inspirational Oak Grove

South of Sacramento, near the confluence of the Cosumnes and Mokelumne Rivers, a 493 acre property is home to a grove of majestic valley oaks. This valley oak grove deserves to be honored, a 4-acre grove of trees inspiring big changes for the remaining 489 acres. The property, owned by Westervelt Ecological Services, was once a farm field, and is being restored to a riparian floodplain forest, subject to the natural flows in the Cosumnes River. 1929 aerial photos show when the trees were part of a larger riparian complex that has disappeared because of agricultural development. The remaining grove has been irreplaceable as an inspirational tool during restoration. It has guided the planting design, and has provided the acorns to be used throughout the restoration site. The grove will expand over time and eventually connect to the Cosumnes River Preserve forest to the north. This will become a critical piece of the riparian matrix along this stretch of the two rivers. Just like a small acorn that grows into a majestic oak, this small grove will grow to become a celebrated native forest.