Oshkosh tree planting project receives state award - March 21 2011

OSHKOSH, WI -- The Oshkosh Area Community Foundation is among three partners presented with the Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council's 2011 Award for Project Partnership in recognition the Taking Root Fund initiative.

Taking Root is a beautification project launched by the Community Foundation in January 2009 that aims to not only improve the quality of life for Oshkosh's residents, but also to promote Oshkosh as a leader in green communities.

The award was announced at the Annual Urban Forestry conference in February. The official presentation was made Monday, March 21, 2011, during the State of the City meeting at the Oshkosh Convention Center.

The Project Partnership Award "recognizes outstanding projects that utilize partnerships as a means of providing services or benefits to the urban forest in Wisconsin," said Kelli Tuttle, President of Bluestem Forestry Consulting and chair of the Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council.

The initiative targeted a $500,000 fundraising goal, which has since been met. In 2010, Phase I of the project included the planting of 1,000 trees along eight city streets and in six parks and public spaces.

Planning for Phase II of the mostly private funded project is underway. Locations for nearly 1,400 trees along city streets and in parks have been identified. An April and May planting schedule is being developed. Plans include recruiting a volunteer contingent of all ages for planting and tree maintenance.

Eileen Connolly-Keesler, president and CEO of the Community Foundation, along with project partners Bill Sturm, Oshkosh city forester, and Dan Traas, owner of Ranger Services Inc., accepted the Forestry Council's award presented by Shirley Brabender-Mattox of the Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council.

The Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council advises the state Department of Natural Resources on the best ways to protect, expand and improve the state's urban and community forest resources. More information can be found at http://dnr.wi.gov/forestry/us/council/wards.html.

The Oshkosh Area Community Foundation is a nonprofit charitable organization created by and for the people of Winnebago County, Waushara County, Green Lake County and Ripon. Through charitable giving, the Community Foundation strives to make our communities thrive.

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