Awards of Excellence

Urban and Community Forestry Awards of Excellence

These Awards of Excellence are selected for outstanding leadership, education efforts or activities that have made a significant contribution to establishing and maintaining viable community forests in Tennessee.

The award program is sponsored by the Tennessee Urban Forestry Council and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, Division of Forestry.

TUFC Awards of Excellence Winners


  • Builder/Developer Award: Recognizes a company or corporation that has done an outstanding job of protecting and maintaining trees during the project construction process. 

  • Citizen Activist Award: Recognizes an individual person not employed in a related Green Industry area whose dedication has made significant and outstanding contributions to urban forestry at the local, regional or state level.
  • Government Employee Award: Recognizes an individual working for a government agency who has made outstanding contributions to the urban forestry effort at the local, regional or state level.

  • Green Industry Award: recognizes a company or organization that shows leadership and dedication to advancing urban forestry efforts at the local, regional or state level.
  • Media Award: Recognizes an electronic or prints media entity that has made a significant contribution to trees and/or urban forestry in its community or region.

  • Private Professional Award: Recognizes an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the urban forestry effort at the local, regional or state level. The individual must work for a company whose business is related to urban forestry.
  • Tree Board Award: Recognizes a local board or committee that has made outstanding accomplishments in completing urban forestry projects, provided exemplary leadership, and made significant progress in meeting the goals of their local urban forestry program.
  • Arboretum: Recognizes a community, group, or school that proactively uses their arboretum for exemplary educational activities to expand the likelihood and ability of the public to see many varieties of trees; to discover their different names, appearances and uses; and to learn of the benefits that trees provide to our environment, our public, our communities, and our state.
  • President’s Award: Recognizes an unsung person or organization who has done outstanding urban forestry achievements at the local community level. These are the daily heroes, who through their urban forestry efforts, work and inspire the rest of us to make our communities a better place for people to live.

2019 Winners

Citizen Activist Anthony Viglietti

President's Award: Judi Shellabergar

Judi demonstrates a strong commitment to volunteer involvement in her Memphis area’s urban forestry program. She initiated and led her Cooper Young neighborhood’s attainment of a Certified Arboretum, which has become the site of many educational events. She continues to spend considerable time learning about tree identification during her many walks and her attendance at educational workshops. Judi has also taken upon herself to teach others, whether friends or strangers, about trees. She frequently helps teach tree ID classes at the Memphis Botanical Garden. Judi has served as president of the West Chapter, Tennessee Urban Forestry Council, which she continues to support and volunteer her time.

Citizen Activist Anthony Viglietti

Citizen Activist: Anthony Viglietti

Anthony Viglietti currently serves as the Nashville-Davidson County Beautification Commissioner for District 7 in Nashville, Tennessee. He coordinates the efforts of volunteers, city employees, local businesses, and community groups in beautification projects and environmental education. On a personal Level, Anthony organized and oversaw the planting of hundreds of Yoshino Cherry trees throughout the city. Anthony is that special person who gets things done and brings people of all kinds together.

Government Employee Paul Mulloy

Government Employee: Paul Mulloy

In 2014, Paul Mulloy developed a tree nursery program for inmates of the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO). Paul, Program Director for the Sheriff’s Office, had learned about the structure and benefits of arboriculture and horticulture programs in other cities and states. Research has shown that the benefits of green prison programs to inmates reached far beyond just keeping them busy. Today there are 10 to 20 offenders working at a time in the five-year old tree nursery program which is incorporated in the DCSO’s state licensed treatment program for alcohol and drug abuse. This past year approximately 60 people participated in this voluntary program which fulfills court-required community service work. Paul hopes to expand this great program in the future. This prison tree nursery program helps inmates gain vocational skills that can be used upon release, reduces recidivism, and acts as an alternative therapy to treat symptoms of mental illness. And provides young trees to grow Nashville’s urban forest! This program development has been financially supported by grants from the Tennessee Farm Bureau and the Garden Clubs of Nashville and by generous donations of supplies such as soil from local nurseries and other interested groups.

Media Award Judith Rutschman

Media Award: Judith Rutschman

Judith Rutschman is the host of WYPL-TV’s The Nature of Conservation show. The program is broadcasted from the Memphis Public Library to an audience throughout the mid-south area. Judith interviews a variety of guests who discuss diverse environmental, natural resources, and conservation topics important to her viewers. In her 17th year as host, she spotlights all forestry and tree-related issues in the Memphis area.

Tree Board Award Morristown

Tree Board Award: Morristown Tree Board

The Morristown Tree Board has been in operation since 2001. In recent years, the Tree Board has become more active in taking a leadership role for trees in the community. It has launched several new tree-related programs and educational activities. This past year, the Board led efforts to attain certification for the Fred Miller Park Arboretum, obtained a TAEP grant to plant trees in Heritage Park, expanded its memorial tree program, coordinated the city’s Arbor Day program, and is actively coordinating with Morristown’s first City Horticulturalist.

Arboretum Award Eartha Reaves

Arboretum Award: Eartha Reaves

Through sheer force and determination, Eartha Reaves organized the creation of the Glenview Park Arboretum in Memphis, Tennessee. The arboretum is now a social center for neighborhood events. Through her leadership, activities such as Arbor Day ceremonies, Earth Day celebrations, youth activities, placement of educational tree care signage, tree seedling giveaways, and educational tree walks are held on a regular basis.
Private Professional Award Michael Davie

Private Professional Award: Michael Davie

Michael Davie is the Bartlett Tree Expert Arborist Representative in Nashville, Tennessee. He is known for his caring professionalism when dealing with his many clients. He is also known for his willingness to help and support the urban forestry movement in Middle Tennessee and the state. Michael serves on the Metro Tree Advisory Committee and is a Board member of the Tennessee Urban Forestry Council.

Award Winners

  • 2018
    Citizen Activist: Jim Gregory and Will Worrall, Nashville
    Government Employee: Tim Roberts, Memphis
    Green Industry: The Compost Fairy, Memphis
    Media: Chris Cooper, Memphis
    Tree Board: Memphis Tree Board
    President’s Award: Dean Caula Beyl, Knoxville
  • 2017
    Citizen Activist: Eartha Reaves, Memphis
    Government Employee: Randall Lantz, Nashville
    Green Industry: Carol Ashworth, Nashville
    Media: Peter Richards, Memphis
    Private Professional: Scott Woods, Memphis
  • 2016
    Citizen Activist: Vicki Turner, Nashville
    Government Employee: Joellen Diamond, Memphis
    Green Industry: The Compost Company, Ashland City
    Private Professional: Tony Larkins, Nashville
    Tree Board: Chattanooga Tree Commission
    President’s Award: Chris Armour
  • 2015
    Citizen Activist: Weida Ringley, Memphis
    Utility Forester: Jeff Fitzpatrick, Cookeville
    Government Employee: Janet P. Hooks, Memphis
    Tree Board: Rogersville
  • 2014
    Builder/Developer: Southeast Venture, Nashville
    Citizen Activist: Randy Allen, White House
    Government Employee: Karna Levitt, Chattanooga
    Green Industry: Nashville Tree Foundation
    Media: Louise Zepp, Tennessee Conservationist
    Private Professional: Mariah C. Prescott, Dalton
View Past Winners
  • 2013
    Builder/Developer: Henry Turley, Memphis
    Career Achievement: Eleanor Willis, Friends of Warner Parks, Nashville
    Citizen Activist: Eileen Elliott and Marlene Wilson, Trenton
    Government Employee Award: Burk Renner, Memphis
    Media: Danny Jones, Trenton
    Private Professional Award: Dr. Mark Follis, Memphis
    President’s Award: Laurie Williams, Memphis
  • 2012
    Tree Board: Knoxville Tree Board
    Green Industry: Wolf River Conservancy
    Private Professional: Wes Hopper, Certified Arborist
    Citizen Activist: Debbi Molloy
    Government Employee: Richard Beckwith, City of Memphis
    Media: Chris Gang
    President’s Award: Jimmy Ferrell, Jon Nessle
  • 2011
    Citizen Activist: Don Richardson, Memphis
    Tree Board: Metro Nashville Tree Advisory Committee
    Government Employee: Shawn Posey, West Tennessee Regional Urban Forester
    President’s Award: Patrick Haller, Sparta
    Private Professional: Jennifer Smith, Nashville
    Green Industry: Shelby Farms Park Conservancy, Memphis
  • 2010
    Builder/Developer: Lawrence Brothers LLC and Design Resource, Nashville (joint winners)
    Government Employee: Nick Bridgeman, City of Lakeland
    Private Professional: Parke Brown, The Parke Company, Nashville
    Citizen Activist: Jan Castillo, Master Gardener, Memphis
    Tree Board: Cleveland Shade Tree Board
    Green Industry: Newport Utilities
    Media: Emily Adams Keplinger, The Commercial Appeal, Memphis
    TUFC President’s Award: Chris Clark, Clark and Associates, Nashville
  • 2009
    Private Professional: Frank Abbott, Morristown
    Green Industry: Askew, Hargraves, Harcourt & Associates, Inc., Lakeland
    Media: The Citizen Tribune, Morristown
    Builder/Developer: Maple Grove, GP, Lakeland
    President’s Award: Liz Didier, Knoxville
    Government Employee: Laurie Williams, Memphis
    Tree Board: Chattanooga Tree Commission, Chattanooga
    Citizen Activist: Jim Volgas, Memphis
  • 2008
    Private Professional: Scott Winningham, Cookeville
    Green Industry: Jimmy Ferrell, Memphis
    Builder/Developer: Dalhoff Thomas Daws LLC, Sam Henry, Landscape Architect, Collierville
    President’s Award: Dr. Douglas Airhart, Cookeville
    Government Employee: Eric Bridges, Lakeland
    Tree Board: Bristol, Nancy Estes, Chairman
    Citizen Activist: Barbara Garrett, Morristown
    Citizen Activist: Sharon Burch, Memphis
  • >2007
    Private Professional: Scott Winningham, Cookeville
    Green Industry: Cortese Tree Specialists, Inc., Knoxville
    Builder/Developer: Doug Dickens, Boyle Investment Co., Memphis
    President’s Award: Tom Simpson, Knoxville
    Government Employee: Dr. Chris Catanzaro, Nashville
    Tree Board: City of Morristown Tree Board
    Citizen Activist: Christine Bock, Chattanooga
  • 2006
    Private Professional: Tracy Jackson, Clarksville
    Green Industry: Derrick Lynch, Middle TN Electric, Murfreesboro
    Media: Commercial-Appeal, Memphis
    Builder/Developer: Schmid & Rhodes Construction, Knoxville
    President’s Award: Bruce Webster, Nashville
    Government Employee: Eric Bridges, Lakeland
    Tree Board: Clarksville
    Citizen Activist: R. B. Morris, Knoxville
  • 2005
    Private Professional: Parke Brown, Nashville
    Green Industry: Wolf Tree Experts, Knoxville
    UT Master Gardeners of Northeast Tennessee, Appalachian Fair Association, Johnson City Power Board
    Media: Pulaski Publishing
    Builder/Developer: Bobby Kirby, Fred Hoover, Jewell Hale, Dr. Oscar Spivey, Dr. R.P. Sabo, McMinnville
    Council Member: Wes Hopper, Memphis
    Government Employee: David Vandergriff, Knoxville
    Tree Board: Kingsport Tree Board
    Citizen Activist: Bob Santore, Knoxville
  • 2004
    Private Professional: Jerry Roberts, Chattanooga
    Green Industry: (Trees for Power Lines collaborative project)
    UT Master Gardeners of Northeast Tennessee, Appalachian Fair Association, Johnson City Power Board
    Media: Southern Standard, McMinnville
    Builder/Developer: Nisus Corporation, Rockford
    Council Member: Jerry Jeansonne, Chattanooga
    Government Employee: Christy Pepper, Memphis
    Tree Board: Crossville Tree Board (Charles Daugherty, Chair)
    Citizen Activist: Harold Childress, Kingsport
  • 2003
    Private Professional: Sam Adams, Cortese Tree Specialists, Knoxville
    Green Industry: Chattanooga Association of Landscape Professionals, Chattanooga
    Media: 91.3 WCPI Public Radio, McMinnville
    Builder/Developer: Life Care Centers of America, Cleveland
    Council Member: Patrick Haller, Sparta
    Government Employee: Nick Kuhn, McMinnville
    Citizen Activist: Dr. Randall Smith, Tullahoma
  • 2002
    Government: Gary Tuttle, Clarksville
    Tree Board: Tullahoma Tree Board
    Citizen Activist: Tracy Jackson, Clarksville
  • 2001
    Private Professional: Dr. Don Williams, Knoxville
    Green Industry: Wolfe Tree Expert Inc., Knoxville
    Media: WBIR-TV, Knoxville
    Builder/Developer: Knoxville Community Development Corp.
    Council Member: Douglas Airhart, Cookeville
    Government: Tom Simpson, Regional Forester, Knoxville
    Tree Board: Johnson City Tree & Appearance Board
    Citizen Activist: Rory Reese, Cleveland
  • 2000
    Private Professional: Jim Cortese, Cortese Tree Specialist, Knoxville
    Green Industry: TNLA, Roger Spivey McMinnville
    Media: The Tennessean, Nashville
    Builder/Developer: Clark & Clark, Memphis
    Council Member: Gene Hyde, Urban Forester, Chattanooga
    Government: Kay Fermann, Asst. Urban Forester, Dept. of Ag. Division of Forestry
    Tree Board: Clarksville Tree Board
    Citizen Activist: Dottie Mann, Clarksville Tree Board Chairman
  • 1999
    Private Professional: Ruel Jones, Quality Tree Surgery, Nashville
    Media: Cookeville Cablevision, Cookeville
    Builder/Developer: Mid America Apartment Communities
    Council Member: Brett Smith, Landscape Architect, Nashville
    Government: Jack Golio, Dyersburg Electric Department, Dyersburg
    Tree Board: Nashville
    Citizen Activist: Dr. Alva Pendergrass, UT Martin, Martin
  • 1998
    Private Professional: Carl Absher, Power & Light, Chattanooga
    Media: Cookeville Cablevision, Cookeville
    Builder/Developer: Hines Development,
    Council Member: Cynthia Holloway, Murfreesboro
    Government: Ann Chapman, Nashville
    Tree Board: Nashville
    Citizen Activist: Jenny Maffett, Cookeville Tree Board, Cookeville
  • 1997
    Private Professional: Steve Clark, Steve Clark & Associates, Inc., Nashville
    Media: WCTE-TV, PBS Channel 22, Cookeville
    Builder/Developer: Testerman Construction
    Council Member: Guy Zimmerman, Area Forester, Cookeville
    Government: Michael Bouton, City Arborist, Murfreesboro
    Tree Board: Tullahoma
    Citizen Activist: Maria Compere, Knoxville
  • 1996
    Private Professional: Jim Cortese, Cortese Tree Specialists, Knoxville
    Builder/Developer: Franklin Development, Franklin
    Council Member: Shawn Bible, Metro Beautification, Nashville
    Government: Mike Williams, Seymour
    Tree Board: Chattanooga
    Citizen Activist: Mary Pepper Fort, Shelbyville
  • 1995
    Private Professional: Fred Morgan, Consulting Arborist, Memphis
    Council Member: Guy Zimmerman, Area Forester, Cookeville
    Government: Victor Ashe, Mayor, Knoxville
    Tree Board: Sevierville
    Citizen Activist: Kim Hawkins, Nashville
  • 1994
    Private Professional: Kim Cross, Southern Tree Specialists, Brentwood
    Council Member: Jim Cortese, Cortese Tree Specialists, Knoxville
    Government: Dale White, Kingsport
    Tree Board: Norris and Bristol
    Citizen Activist: Allan Jones, Cleveland
  • 1993
    Citizen Activist: John Huckaba, Signal Mountain