2009 NATIONAL AWARD WINNERS
PAST AWARD WINNERS
Local Government Program - City of Kent – Parks & Public Works Department
Though appearing much like any other Parks & Public Works Departments, the City of Kent, Washington’s, Parks & Public Works Department is far from typical. Created in 2000, the City of Kent’s Youth Tree Education Program—“Plant the Planet”—goes above and beyond the call of duty for City Departments. It instills a love of trees and environmental awareness in thousands of children across the state through collaboration between the City’s Parks & Public Works Department and the Kent School District. This year alone, 2,080 students from twenty-two Kent elementary schools were individually responsible for the well being of a native tree or shrub, providing both exposure to and a sense of ownership over the ecosystem in the area. Department representatives present local schools with booklets and demonstrations, which culminate in each student potting a tree. After measuring and naming their tree, the student becomes personally responsible for its wellbeing as well as its future home—the students later plant the tree in local parks or in their own backyards. A field trip in the fall serves to bring the project full circle and ensures that each student truly absorbs the experience. Children learn the importance and value of trees at a young age with hands-on, unforgettable experiences. The city has been named Tree City USA by the National Arbor Foundation each year since 2003, which serves as a constant reminder of Kent’s commitment to preserving trees in their community. Inspiring young children while protecting the City’s beauty and lands, the Kent Parks & Public Works Departments innovatively plant the seed of environmental stewardship and help it flourish.
Deputy Secretary of the Interior, David Hayes, accepting the award, Scott Schroeder and Victoria Andrews, joining them, Director of Take Pride in America, Lisa Young.