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2019 Urban Forestry Awards

CRTI recognizes public and private organizations and individuals who have gone above and beyond this past year on behalf of our regional forest and the residents who live here. We are asking for your assistance to nominate an organization and/or individual who can be used as an example for others to aspire to. 

Please nominate an organization, individual, or even your own organization or yourself (no need to be shy!). You may make multiple nominations.

Nominations can be made year-round!

If there are any questions, please contact Melissa (


Congratulations to the 2019 CRTI Urban Forestry Award Winners!

1. The Partnership Award celebrates groups working collaboratively to solve a forestry problem (e.g. need for next generation of arborists, low canopy in priority area, reuse of urban wood).

2019 WinnerVillage of Lake ZurichAncient Oaks Foundation and Lake Zurich Community Unit School District 95, for the revitalization and restoration of Kuechmann Park into a unique open space that highlights the natural oak habitat of the area. The new conservation arboretum will focus on preserving the old-growth oak trees and the importance of removing invasive species and planting pollinators. The Village's arboretum project will direct resources into the underutilized 7.8 acre public park to rebrand the space as a certified conservation arboretum, with a focus on three objectives: oak preservation, invasive species removal, and the importance of pollinators.


2. The Community Stewardship Awardfor management of natural areas.

2019 Winner: Joe Fujanfor his work with the Chicago Park District and the McKinley Park Farmers Market. Joe went out of his way to save extra oak trees from an MWRD giveaway and planted the saplings in McKinley Park. He spent all summer maintaining the natural areas there, educating market goers about the beautiful landscape, and making sure that there will be tree cover there for years to come. He also made sure that everyone who took a free tree understood how large oak trees get, gave them care instructions and recommendations for how and where to plan them.



3. The Forestry Outreach Awardcelebrates partners who work across the region to engage residents and land managers in forestry matters.

2019 WinnerThe 7000 oaks project led by the School of the Art Institute and Homan Grown, L3C, for their efforts in the North Lawndale neighborhood, which have grown the canopy and improved the lives of residents in that neighborhood. The design and implementation of such creative, inclusive, and sustainable projects in their community are models to learn from and follow.


4. The Youth Engagement Awardcelebrates partners who make great strides in inspiring the next generation.  This year we have two winners.

2019 Winner  1: Jess Vogt’s Lab for Urban Forestry in the Anthropocene (LUFA) at DePaul University, for her work with nonprofits, municipalities, and community groups within the urban forestry and urban greening community to conduct applied research that aims to improve capacity to steward our urban forests and greenspaces now and into the futureLearn more here.


2019 Winner 2: Illinois Green Industry Association’s Horticulture Occupational and Professional Experience program (H.O.P.E.), for building relationships between students and the Illinois Green Industry and providing a great opportunity for learning and making professional connections for the future. Each month of the program, participating students devote time to the H.O.P.E. program, providing them a better understanding of the inner workings of a typical green industry business. Learn more here.


CRTI Golden Shovel Awards: 

2019 Forester of the Year: Barb Wood, Chicago Park District

Barb Wood has managed the Chicago Park District's tree planting program for many years. Her work to maintain the diversity and character of our urban forest will have lasting benefits for decades to come. Most recently, Barb has led the Chicago Park District's work to replace trees lost to the Emerald Ash Borer epidemic, and has successfully replanted parks throughout Chicago at a greater than one-to-one replacement rate. Barb has also managed the Green Deed tree dedication program for Chicago parks, working closely with many people to plant a tree in honor of a loved one.


2019 Forest Advocate of the Year: Daniel Miraval, Green Extraction Technology, LLC

Daniel is the co-founder, owner and a managing member of Green Extraction Technologies, LLC an Urban Forestry Tree Care Firm with a heavy focus on Tree Preservation and the Commercial Director for the Illinois Arborist Association. He is receiving this award for his tireless efforts to educate clients, peers, other sectors of the green industry, and the public via trainings, social media, consultations, partnerships with other arboricultural experts, and any opportunity to get the word out about trees and the care they need. 

See previous winners here