Canopy Tree Awards

Each year, Canopy Tree Awards acknowledges individuals and organizations who have helped to grow and protect the urban forest:

2018 Canopy Tree Awards

Canopy Chair Awardee

Dave Dockter, for twenty-one years of remarkable dedication to the Palo Alto urban forest.

Thanks to Dave, retiring City of Palo Alto Planning Arborist, the Palo Alto urban forest is vibrant, and trees have special standing in the community. Dave started by creating effective policy with the Palo Alto Tree Protection Ordinance and the internationally acclaimed Tree Technical Manual, and for twenty-one years he enforced them with great resolve.

Project by project, tree by tree, Dave convinced property owners, developers, architects, and city staff to employ innovative solutions that retain valuable trees and create beautiful and functional landscapes.

In an era of increased urbanization and development, Dave has shepherded projects to ensure arboricultural accuracy and awe-inspiring design around trees, making Palo Alto an urban forest to emulate.

Dave has generously shared his expertise and passion with a generation of professionals, advocates, students of all ages, and the community at large. He has been a dear friend of Canopy’s and an amazing partner.

Arnold Soforenko Awardees

Google and San Francisco Estuary Institute, for breakthrough research, investment, and advocacy for native oaks and resilient landscapes, and the development of “Re-Oaking Silicon Valley.”

Google and the San Francisco Estuary Institute (SFEI) have been instrumental partners to restore and enhance our local environment for people and wildlife.

Google advocates for the study and planting of native oaks, prioritizes native plantings in their campus projects, and has invested pivotal funding for Canopy to kick off The Great Oak Count this fall.

With Google funding, SFEI has created several significant research-based recommendations for groups like Canopy to use and share with others aspiring to build resilient and vibrant cities in harmony with nature.

Re-Oaking Silicon Valley” is not only a powerful tool for practitioners, but also a beautiful book that can inspire everyone to appreciate our native oaks, and to advocate and work toward the restoration of native landscapes.

We look forward to working with these organizations in the future, and we’re eager to see what they have in store next.

John Rawlings, for creating “”, a one-of-a-kind resource about trees and their history on the Stanford Campus, and Sairus Patel, for providing universal access to “” and enriching the site’s content, making it beautiful and eminently functional.

A long-time Stanford Libraries staff member now retired, John Rawlings was an early adopter of the web for library guides and instruction. In 2005, he helped Ron Bracewell complete the Trees of Stanford book, including preparing the book’s detailed maps.

That same year, John created the “” website.

Not only did he transfer all the book’s material online but in partnership with his wife Sara Timby, John also added a treasure trove of additional information: encyclopedia entries on shrubs and vines, new tree species not mentioned in the book, essays on Stanford botanists and the history of landscaping at Stanford, and extensive resource lists.

He also added a number of photographs, which complemented the distinctive, literally photocopied leaf images in the book. With this website, John created a living record of sixty years of tree history on the Stanford campus.

Sairus Patel, a long-time Canopy volunteer and past board member, continued Ron Bracewell and John Rawling’s legacy when he took on the website project a few years ago. He started by making the website mobile-friendly, which provided immediate access for a brand new and young audience, who can use their phone to explore the campus forest.

Being a typography and font expert, Sairus also re-designed the website completely from scratch, making it resolutely modern and beautiful.

He introduced some of the “glamour shots” of campus trees and included them in new social media channels for the website. This caught the attention of the Stanford Alumni Association, with whom he is now starting a #TreesofStanford social media collaboration. No wonder a Stanford student recently exclaimed: “This is the best web page of the Stanford website!”

The 1400 Page Mill Road Project, for innovative work to design and integrate a drought-tolerant landscape with native and adaptive trees in the redevelopment of 1400 Page Mill Road in Palo Alto.

Owner: Hanover Page Mill Associates, L.P.

Architect: Form4 Architecture

Landscape Designer: Studio Five | Design

Arborist: David Babby

For the collaborative effort of the owners, Hanover Page Mill Associates, L.P.; the architect, Form4 Architecture; and the landscape designer, Studio Five | Design, to innovatively design and integrate a drought-tolerant landscape with native and adaptive trees in the redevelopment of 1400 Page Mill Road.

The owner’s ecological perspective and leadership in sustainability guided the project team in the development of a LEED Platinum and Net-Zero Electric building integrated with vibrant and healthy tree canopy for increased natural habitats and improved stormwater management

Out-on-a-Limb Awardees

Jeff Greenfield, for outstanding volunteer work to help Canopy select, build, and launch our first online tree mapping tool, Tree Plotter.

In addition to being a regular Planting Leader and advocate for well-maintained Palo Alto parks, over the last two years Jeff has provided technological acumen and expertise throughout Canopy’s process to choose and construct a valuable tree mapping tool.

Tree Plotter is a long-awaited platform to engage the public in exploring our urban forest, and help Canopy manage and share data about our trees and programs.

This endeavor to blend our programs with new technology would not be possible without Jeff’s dedication and assistance. He’s provided impressive ideas, testing, feedback, and organization to a complex and multifaceted project.

We are grateful to him for sharing so much of his time and skills with Canopy, and ultimately, with the communities we serve. We look forward to working with him even more in the future.

Marilyn Keller, for years of dedicated service to our local urban forest as a Canopy volunteer and board member, and as an active advocate for Palo Alto’s trees.

Marilyn has been a positive force for Palo Alto’s trees for a long time. As an advocate, Marilyn was a strong voice for trees at PAUSD’s Sustainable Schools Committee where she helped put in place what we believe is the nation’s first school district tree policy, passed in 2011.

As a Canopy volunteer, Marilyn has helped plant and care for thousands of trees and bring Canopy’s message to new audiences at countless community events.

As a former board member and current committee member, Marilyn continues to be an essential part of the Canopy family, bringing a unique perspective to Canopy’s governance and strategy. And finally, as a model of stewardship in action, Marilyn has inspired her entire family to join her, not just in planting and caring for their own trees–of which they have many–but in becoming advocates and community volunteers in their own right.

For all of these things, we honor and cherish Marilyn Keller.

Young Forester Awardees

Kelly Cortes, for her excellent work as a Canopy volunteer and Teen Urban Forester in service of growing and caring for our local urban forest.

Kelly has been volunteering with Canopy since her first year of high school. In fact, Program Manager Uriel Hernandez and her went to their first neighborhood tree plantings together in 2015. Since then, Kelly has volunteered with Canopy over 40 times, pruning and planting trees throughout Palo Alto and East Palo Alto. And this isn’t even counting her work with Canopy as a Teen Urban Forester last summer.

She has a knack for trees. When Uriel told her she would be receiving this award it was, fittingly, at a tree planting. She had just volunteered as Planting Leader for the umpteenth time and was telling our TUFs about this amazing phone app where you can prune trees. We know trees are relaxing, but Kelly takes it to another level.

Over the years it has been a pleasure to work with Kelly, to learn with her, and to watch her learn to lead. And lead she does. In addition to developing a keen eye for working with trees, Kelly has a way of explaining things to volunteers and colleagues in a clear, easy-to-understand way, regardless of age. She is very patient, and was often a rock for her cohort of TUFs.

Kelly is an amazing volunteer and truly deserving of this award. Through her service and arboricultural skills, she is a young forester through-and-through, and we are proud to honor her today.

Canopy has recognized urban forest champions since 1996. 

Read about previous Canopy Tree Award recipients.

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