The DEC recognized the Arbor Day Poster Contest winner, 5th Grader Annika Chang from John Mandracchia Sawmill Intermediate School in Commack, accompanied here by her parents and NYS Urban Forestry Program Manager Mary Kramarchyk (right).

State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens recognized award winners for their participation in urban forestry activities across the state at a ceremony held March 27, 2014 at the Downtown Albany Hilton Hotel. Communities and organizations meeting the standard requirements in the programs administered by DEC’s State Forester and the Arbor Day Foundation were recognized as a Tree City USA, Tree Campus USA, or a Tree Line USA.

The DEC contingent was at the 2014 Tree City, Tree Line, Tree Campus USA ceremony in support of the state’s urban forestry program and to recognize award winners. (L-R) Fran Sheehan, Lands and Forests Assistant Director; Bruce Williamson, Bureau Chief; Mary Kramarchyk, Program Manager; DEC Commissioner Joseph Martens, Sally Kellogg, Program Assistant and State Forester Robert Davies.

The Department also recognized the Arbor Day Poster Contest winner, 5th Grader Annika Chang from John Mandracchia Sawmill Intermediate School in Commack.

“Urban forestry volunteers, students and industry professionals contribute their knowledge to enhance and maintain tree canopy in cities, village, towns, parks, college campuses and other public places,” said Commissioner Martens.

Tree City USA is a program sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the USDA Forest Service and the state forestry agencies. It provides direction, technical assistance, public attention and national recognition for urban and community forestry programs in thousands of towns and cities that more than 93 million Americans call home.

tree-city-logoAmong the New York communities that received the Tree City USA program recognition at the ceremony were Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany, Poughkeepsie, New York City, and the Town of Babylon. A complete list of all communities is posted on DEC’s website at:

In addition to community awards, the urban forestry program recognized two volunteers for their outstanding activities in 2013: Lori Brockelbank of Fredonia (Chautauqua County) for outstanding education contributions and Ann Stevens from the Town of Dewitt (Onondaga County) for her dedication to the Town’s urban forestry program.

Urban Forestry Partnership Award winner Lori Brockelbank, Region 9 ReLeaf, receives her Urban Forestry Partnership Award from State Forester Robert Davies and Urban Forestry Program Manager Mary Kramarchyk.

Mary Kramarchyk said:

The Urban Forestry Partnership Award has been created to provide an opportunity to recognize a member of the urban forestry network. Whether the awardee carries out their tasks as a professional or volunteer, it is leadership and spirit that helps us to identify that special person who will receive this award.

The first award winner is from the Western part of the state. A Region 9 ReLeaf member, Lori Brockelbank first came on the scene as a volunteer. Soon to follow, Lori became an Urban Forestry Council member. Once she attended MFI (Municipal Forestry Institute), no one could stop her enthusiasm. Lori has since recruited students as Council members, helped Jamestown Community College become a Tree Campus USA and assisted many communities to meet the standards of a well-managed community forest.

Lori has made a name for herself in the professional world by persuading Forecon to allow her to work on urban forestry projects up and down the east coast and New England. Whether she’s hanging EAB traps or planning a conference, Lori sows the threads of professionalism into the fabric of each project. Lori has even raised two future foresters, her sons John and Matthew.

Thank you Lori for all you do for ReLeaf, the Urban Forestry Council, and for DEC. We hope you continue in our network of professionals and friends for years to come.

Our next award winner is from Central New York. Hailing from the Town of Dewitt, Ann Stevens has found her place in the urban forestry world as one who is recognized for “making it happen” with style and grace.

Ann Stevens, Region 7 ReLeaf, Town of Dewitt Shade Tree Committee Chair, receives her Urban Forestry Partnership Award from Mary Kramarchyk.

Ann Stevens, Region 7 ReLeaf, Town of Dewitt Shade Tree Committee Chair, receives her Urban Forestry Partnership Award from State Forester Robert Davies and Urban Forestry Program Manager Mary Kramarchyk.

Nancy Needham and Pat Tobin enlisted Ann and the Town of Dewitt to gain the recognition of the Tree City USA program. Along the way, Ann assisted in creating the Town of Dewitt Shade Tree Commission; organized Arbor Day celebrations; hosted and helped to organize ReLeaf Committee meetings at the Town Hall and alerted Town officials of the opportunities such as DEC Urban Forestry grants or educational events that would help improve the knowledge of the Shade Tree Commission volunteers.

Ann is not only a dedicated citizen of her town, but a friend and example of altruism to all those to come in contact with her. She never misses an opportunity, even if it’s over a cup of coffee, to learn more about how she can help improve the environment and bring forth the benefits of trees to her community.

Thank you for all you do, Ann.

To participate in any of these New York State Urban and Community Forestry programs, contact DEC’s Bureau of Private Lands Services at 518-402-9425.