Cleaner air, healthier communities, and economic prosperity are the result of a healthy urban forest. For this reason, our region's long-term health, economic vitality and quality of life depend on investing in and maximizing the benefits of our urban forest — it depends on our commitment to trees and to those that champion them.
Since 2002, the Sacramento Tree Foundation has hosted Sacramento's preeminent environmental awards program that brings community members together to honor the winners in each category. The dinner, held beneath the verdant, heritage 300 year old native oak grove at the California Farm Bureau hosts 300-400 attendees, including leaders of Sacramento's most influential businesses, national and state elected officials, and tree lovers from around the region.
The 2019 Tree Hero Awards featured delicious local food, wine, and entertainment while honoring those who have made impressive contributions to our urban forest. Proceeds support the Sacramento Tree Foundation's mission and programming.
2019 Tree Heroes
C.K. McClatchy Award
Honors a person whose pursuit of the greening of Sacramento through trees is synonymous with that of C.K. McClatchy, who championed the importance of trees during his 60-year career as a journalist and publisher of the Sacramento Bee.
For the past three years, Fatima has worked with the Del Paso Heights Growers Alliance on the Planting with a Purpose project aimed towards improving quality of life for residents, increasing tree canopy, and increasing access to healthy foods. Through this project, volunteers planted 100 fruit and shade trees in two community parks and several community gardens. More importantly, the project has been a tremendous opportunity for local community organizations to work in partnership with residents to raise awareness about the benefits of urban forestry and agriculture.
Honorable Mentions: Desiree Backman and Jim Crowley
Austin B. Carroll Award
Honors an organization, institution, or corporation whose work sets a worthy example of tree planting, stewardship education, and/or public awareness. Austin Carroll was an arborist and leader in advancing municipal and private sector tree management, education, and advocacy.
Before Urban Wood Rescue was fully operational, Pacific STIHL donated five chainsaws, a leaf blower, a power washer, and an array of personal protective (safety) equipment to the program. From a practical standpoint, STIHL provided the tools needed to support the daily operations of Urban Wood Rescue, but from a values standpoint, the company is also aligned with the program’s sustainability principles. Additionally, over the past several years, STIHL has made significant investments in research and development to address their environmental footprint. STIHL is truly dedicated to modelling and supporting socially responsible environmental stewardship.
Honorable Mention: TreeCircus
Growing Greenprint Award
Honors a government entity in the Sacramento Greenprint region that has made noteworthy contributions in building a better urban forest.
Division of the State Architect
In 2010, DSA adopted the CALGreen Code, which is the first-in-the-nation mandatory green building standards code. Recognizing the equity opportunity of campuses to serve as park settings in communities, DSA met with public and private sector stakeholders to discuss a shade tree requirement for California’s public K-12 schools and community college campuses. Starting in 2020, all new construction and improvements on school campuses will require establishment of shade trees on site. The impact will be tremendous – these trees will help eliminate heat islands on school hardscapes, reduce ‘shade deserts’ in under-canopied neighborhoods, and provide countless educational benefits for students.
Honors a tree, landscape, or woodland for its innate
worthiness, uniqueness and/or beauty.
Blue Oak of the Fair Oaks Bluffs
This blue oak is a stellar example of living life on the edge. The majority of this tree’s roots seem to grow into thin air about 100 feet above the American River. Instead of making the tree stressed, it appears to be thriving! What few roots anchor this tree provide all the water and sustenance it needs. Perching precariously on the tip of Fair Oaks Bluffs next to the Red Bridge, this oak continues to hang on and inspire us all.
Honors those who speak for the trees.
Ray has been the Executive Director of the Sacramento Tree Foundation for nearly four decades and was oneofthe visionary leaders who helpedfound the organization in 1982. A native Sacramentan, he graduated from UC Santa Cruz then worked for The Conservation Fund in Washington, DC,studying the concept of the "environmental ethic." Upon moving back to Sacramento and becoming the first Tree Foundation employee, then later its first and only Executive Director, he has guided the organization to create groundbreaking programming for residential tree planting, municipal urban forestry, wildland restoration, and the program that's most close to his heart - NeighborWoods. An advocate for his community, Ray helped found the Natomas Community Association, published the Natomas Journal, and served on Sacramento City Council from 2001 to 2010, pushing for smart changes for Sacramento's growing urban footprint. This October, Ray will retire from the Tree Foundation after 36 years of speaking for the trees.
A luminary in the field of urban forestry, Ray was an early voice and continues to push for tree stewardship, community engagement, and building dynamic partnerships across sectors. Some of his favorite tree planting campaigns have been the "Ugly Street Award" competition - won by Fair Oaks Boulevard in the early 80's, the Northern Parkway project, the planting at Grant High School, and probably every tree that is planted and cared for by the people of Sacramento.
Meet our previous Tree Heroes.