2013 Tree Heroes

C.K. McClatchy Award

Janet Mercurio

Photo of Janet Mercurio


In 2005 inspired by the 1988 short film “The Man Who Planted Trees”, Janet’s vision of a tree-lined Russell Boulevard and bicycle path was born. Since then Janet has worked tirelessly to bring diverse partners such as the Yolo< County Planning Commission, Tree Davis, Woodland Tree Foundation, Putah Creek Council, and UC Davis together to make her verdant dream a reality. With the added support of hundreds of volunteer tree planters and stewards the transformation of Russell Boulevard is a remarkable testimony of Janet’s legacy tree project.

In addition to spending countless hours organizing tree planting events, recruiting and training volunteers and watering trees by hand to ensure their survival, Janet even used her own inheritance money to turn the barren land along the bicycle path into a vibrant forest. Without Janet’s drive and enthusiasm Russell Boulevard would still be a dry, hot treeless road instead of a burgeoning urban forest. 



Austin B. Carroll Award

The Center for Land-Based Learning (CLBL)

CLBLengages people of all ages in agriculture and stewardship of natural resources. A leader in hands-on, youth focused stewardship programs serving the Sacramento region for over 12 years, CLBL has made a significant positive impact on the health of the land and in the minds and actions of young people. Two of CLBL’s programs which encourage tree planting and stewardship are:

The Student and Landowner Education and Watershed Stewardship (SLEWS) program engages over 600 high school students each year in hands-on habitat restoration – planting trees in their own watershed – while teaching about the importance of native plants. Each year, SLEWS Program participants plant more than 4,000 native trees and shrubs in the Sacramento region, working with numerous local partners.

The GreenCorps program, introduces at-risk high school and college-aged youth to jobs in habitat restoration and the environmental science and sustainable agriculture fields, while teaching them employment skills.

CLBL’s diverse programs combine innovative hands-on experience with classroom learning, so participants develop leadership skills, contribute to a healthier ecosystem, and connect to agricultural, environmental, and natural resource careers.

kids planting trees

Growing Greenprint Award

Yuba CountyYuba County Logo

In 2011, Yuba County under the project management of Wendy Hartman, adopted a comprehensive update to the County’s General Plan.This award winning General Plan includes an entire section dedicated to the importance of trees and urban greening in the urban and suburban areas of Yuba County. The Yuba County General Plan recognizes that urban greening provides some of the following benefits to our community: increases the attractiveness of our developed areas; increases the protection of natural resources; improves air and water quality; and, promotes public health and the development of a healthy community. 

The Yuba County Board of Supervisors has further recognized the importance of the Greenprint initiative through the adoption of a resolution and participation in several tree planting projects. Since September 2010, Yuba County has welcomed the support of the Sacramento Tree Foundation in planting 861 trees.These projects have involved 1,419 community members (82% are youth under age 18) resulting in over 2,950 hours of community service.


Legacy Award

Sacramento State University Arboretum and Botanic Garden

Referred to by local school children as the Forest in the City, when you step into its cool canopy and behold its myriad shades of green, you leave the buzz of metropolitan living behind and enter another world – a peaceful, verdant landscape full of hidden, living treasures.Located at the campus' J Street entrance, the University Arboretum is a haven for students, faculty and staff, as well as the surrounding neighborhoods.The site, which was originally planted in 1959 with approximately 50 trees, is now a dense, 3-acre urban forest with 1,300 species.Among the original plantings, a stand of mammoth redwoods block out noise from busy J Street, and towering eucalyptus trees shade the pathways.

Not only a place for quiet meditation and escape from urban lifeā€”the University Arboretum is also a living library. Through careful placement and labeling of plantings, the Arboretum allows us to learn about the research potential, conservation and heritage values, and special beauty of trees and other plants.On any given day, you will find people enjoying the benefits of the University Arboretum. Volunteers spend their afternoons gardening in the shade of towering conifers; joggers find renewed energy in its clean, fresh air; and students take advantage of the peaceful atmosphere to get ahead in their studies.

School children learn about world biomes on special tours, and a number of college courses utilize its unique collections for hands-on learning in subjects as diverse as the plantings themselves – botany, microbiology and chemistry; geography, art and education.Understanding how important the Arboretum is to the campus and community, its caretakers strive to maintain optimal biodiversity, tree health, access, aesthetic appeal, and research and educational potential.

Sac State Arboretum


In 2013, a very special book caught our attention and we felt it was deserving of very special recognition. This Special Recognition Award recognizes those contributing in an exceptional way through a unique event, resource or accomplishment that advances the value and growth of our region’s trees and urban forest. 

This award is presented to StoneBridge Properties who in collaboration with the USDA Forest Service published a wonderful book, "Sacramento's Park Neighborhood Trees: Roots of the Past." This beautifully illustrated book raises public awareness of the historical foresight and planning which led to Sacramento's existing tree canopy, it encourages continued stewardship of our heritage trees, and it raises awareness of the ongoing efforts which must be made if we hope to preserve and expand the legacy of Sacramento's sustainable urban forest.

This exceptional contribution to our community provides a guide to plan, grow, and maintain a healthy urban forest.

Roots of the Past Book