University of Vermont

Winners Announced for Vermont Tree Stewards Awards

Steven Sinclair, Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation, poses with Danielle Fitzko, Vermont Urban and Community Forestry Program, after receiving the Vermont Arbor Day Award at the Vermont Arbor Day Conference, May 3, in Montpelier. (credit: Elise Schadler)

Montpelier--The Vermont Urban and Community Forestry Program (VT UCF) recently recognized several tree and forest heroes at a special awards ceremony in Montpelier.

Recipients of the 2018 Vermont Tree Stewards Awards were announced at the Vermont Arbor Day Conference on May 3. Winners of National Arbor Day Awards for Tree City, Tree Campus and Tree Line USA also were recognized at the ceremony.

Steven Sinclair, who has worked for the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation for more than 40 years, was honored with the Vermont Arbor Day Award. He was recognized for his strong leadership as director of the Division of Forestry for the past 16 years, his decades of service to the state forestry industry and his success in establishing the urban and community forestry program in Vermont almost 30 years ago.

Other award winners were:

HAMILTON AWARD: Brad Goedkoop, Hartford. This award is given in memory of the late Dr. Larry Hamilton, a Charlotte tree warden, to a tree warden who has advanced the goals of urban and community forestry through public education, sustainable forestry practices and other means. Goedkoop, Hartford's tree warden and former Hartford Tree Board member, has worked with various town and state departments for a number of years on tree management issues, strategic planning for invasive species, hazard tree evaluation protocol and development of a town tree management policy, among other activities.

LEADER AWARD: Pat Mainer, Hinesburg. The award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated strong leadership in an urban or community forestry project. Mainer, chair of the Hinesburg Town Forest Committee, was instrumental in engaging the public in the planning process for the management plan for the town forest and spearheaded efforts to get the forest listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

UNSUNG HERO AWARD: Kyle Albee, South Burlington. This award is given to an individual or organization for above-and-beyond efforts to make a difference in a community's urban and community forest projects. Albee, former president of Friends of the University of Vermont Hort Farm, is the vice president of Branch Out Burlington and started and managed the organization's tree sale for 11 years. Proceeds from the sale are used to purchase trees for the nursery to grow and later transplant to Burlington streets and parks.

VOLUNTEER GROUP AWARD: Barbara and Wally Smith, South Strafford. This award goes to a volunteer, team or community group that has demonstrated a strong commitment to an urban and community forestry project. The Smiths headed up the Edible Pocket Park project to create and maintain a riverside park in their hometown with fruit trees, shrubs, perennials, picnic tables and benches.

YOUTH/STUDENT AWARD: Ian Lyle, Essex. Lyle, a recent graduate of Essex High School, was recognized for his work with the Essex Conservation Committee to conduct a street tree inventory, which provided valuable information for the town's Street Tree Management Plan.

The Tree City USA award recipients were Burlington, Essex Junction, Hartford, Montpelier, Rutland, Shelburne and South Burlington. Tree Campus USA recognized Landmark College, Putney; Middlebury College and the University of Vermont (UVM), Burlington. The Vermont Electric Power Company earned Tree Line USA recognition.

VT UCF is a partnership between UVM Extension and the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation. To learn more, visit