Past Canopy Tree Awards

Every year, Canopy acknowledges selected community members through its Arnold Soforenko Awards that recognize significant contributions to our local urban forest, Out-on-a-Limb Awards for outstanding urban forestry volunteer efforts and Young Forester Awards (formerly Student Forester Awards) given to young persons who exemplify Canopy’s values of stewardship, education and service.

January 2016 Award Recipients

Arnold Soforenko Awardees

Susan Ellis, for her leadership of Canopy’s organizational and impact growth, and for her service to the trees of the Mid-Peninsula.

Susan EllisSusan has been a volunteer with Canopy for over 10 years, a Board member for 6 of those years, and the Board Chair for 4 years. During this time she played key roles in leading the organization to expand its impact not only in Palo Alto, but into surrounding communities as well.

Among her many accomplishments, Susan led Canopy’s strategic planning effort, forged relationships with the Ravenswood City School District, led a major upgrade to the Canopy Tree Library, redesigned and updated all of Canopy’s Neighborhood Tree Walks, served on multiple committees, and provided indispensable leadership to the organization. Collectively, her efforts have been instrumental in Canopy’s growth and ability to provide enhanced programs in support of the local urban forest.

Herb Fong, for a long and distinguished career growing and stewarding the remarkable urban forest of the Stanford University campus.

Herb FongHerb Fong expertly took on the stewardship of one of Stanford’s greatest assets: it’s trees. In 36 years of caring for trees at Stanford, 20 of those as Head Grounds Manager, Herb shaped the campus into the incredible mosaic of diverse landscapes and species that we enjoy today.

Herb continues to serve the campus and community as a wellspring of local tree knowledge, consulting with home owners, municipalities, and nonprofits. Canopy has been extremely lucky to benefit from his knowledge and enthusiasm as an expert speaker, tree walk guide, and trained Education Leader helping to inspire the next generation of environmental stewards.

The 458 Channing Avenue Project Team, for remarkable dedication and innovation in protecting a Coast Live Oak during development.

Channing Avenue ProjectOwner: Paul and Melonie Brophy

Arborist: Michael Young, Urban Tree Management Inc

Architect: Tai Ikegami, Feldman Architecture 

Landscape Architect: Bernard Trainor, Bernard Trainor + Associates 

General Contractor: Sean Clinton, Baywest Builders 

Landscape Contractor: Mike Hertzer, Modern Landscaping Inc

Structural Engineer: David Strandberg, Strandberg Engineering

City Environmental Planner & Arborist: Dave Dockter, City of Palo Alto

The collaborative effort of the owners, Paul and Melonie Brophy; the engineer; the landscape architect; the contractor; the architect; and the arborist, Michael Young of Urban Tree Management, ensured the health of the site’s trees throughout the house’s construction and beyond its completion. Driven by the owner’s commitment to turning the challenge of a lot scattered with trees into an opportunity for innovative design, the project team created a structure that not only protected the trees, but celebrated their presence.


Out-on-a-Limb Awardees

Barbara Lindsay, for developing the Our Tree, Our History lesson in order to teach the next generation about El Palo Alto and the importance of trees in our cities.

Barbara LindsayBarbara’s vision to create a field trip and lesson around the historic Redwood tree, El Palo Alto, has led to a magnificent partnership and learning experience for the 4th graders at Walter Hays Elementary. She brought together Canopy, Acterra, and the City of Palo Alto as partners to create the lesson, Our Tree, Our History. For this unique education experience, students visit El Palo Alto to learn about it’s history and the native ecology surrounding it, and become arborists for the day taking the tree’s measurements.

The program was piloted two years ago with Barbara’s 4th grade class. With her leadership, the lesson has expanded this year to include all the 4th grade classes at Walter Hays Elementary. Canopy is proud to recognize Barbara’s dedication and passion for teaching the next generation about trees and the environment.

Jennifer Wei, for service to her community as an all-star Canopy planting leader, education leader, pruning volunteer, consultant, advisor, and friend of the urban forest.

Jennifer WeiIn the two short years that she has been volunteering with Canopy, Jenny has quickly become one of Canopy’s most cherished volunteers. As a planting leader, Jenny warmly engages other volunteers in the important job of building their community through tree planting and tree care. She knows how to get every volunteer involved, make sure everyone is safe and happy, and leaves everyone with a well-deserved feeling of purpose and accomplishment.

As an education leader and former consultant, Jenny uses her expertise and experience in youth education to inspire the next generation of urban forest stewards. As a pruning volunteer and general friend to Canopy, Jenny always looks for ways to help Canopy be the best that it can be. For all of this, we honor Jenny with the Out on a Limb Award.


Young Forester Awardees

Rohan Hofland, for exceptional work coordinating fellow students to plant and care for trees at Gunn High School.

Rohan HoflandAs the 2014-2015 president of the Gunn High School Green Team, it was Rohan’s responsibility to partner with Canopy in coordinating tree planting events at his school. Rohan went above and beyond in his responsibilities, contributing many hours to organizing and publicizing planting events. Rohan also dug in as a tree planting volunteer, lending his hard work and enthusiasm to every task. 

Michelle Shen, for her leadership in volunteering at tree care and tree planting workdays with Canopy since 2012.

Michelle ShenMichelle has volunteered with Canopy at tree care and tree planting events since 2012. She started an environmental club at her high school, to inspire other students to work towards improving and protecting the environment. Through this club, Michelle has engaged and inspired her fellow students to join her in creating greener, healthier communities by volunteering with Canopy and other environmental organizations in her area.


Canopy Chair Awardee

Lara Roman, for her work studying and documenting the importance of young tree stewardship, and for highlighting Canopy’s tree survival rates in her scholarly research.

Lara RomanIn 2008, Dr. Lara Roman started monitoring more than 600 trees planted by Canopy along East and West Bayshore Road in East Palo Alto. She monitored those trees for six years as part of her Ph.D. dissertation research on urban tree mortality. When it became clear that the trees were thriving and their survival rate was an outlier, she could not include them in her tree mortality study. Instead, she decided to write another scientific paper about Canopy’s exceptional tree survival rate. This paper was recently published in “Urban Forestry and Urban Greening”, a prestigious international scientific journal. Dr. Roman’s work is instrumental in documenting and disseminating Canopy’s rigorous tree care regiment, and establishing Canopy’s methods as a best practice in urban tree planting. 

January 2015 Award Recipients

Arnold Soforenko Awardees:

Walt Hays, for exemplary leadership of the Palo Alto Community Environmental Action Partnership and the Sustainable Schools Committee; for many years as a dedicated Canopy volunteer; for his valued involvement in the Green Ribbon Taskforce; and for lending his trusty truck.

Walt HaysWith this Soforenko Award, Canopy was honored to recognize Walt Hays for a lifetime of service to the environment and the local community. Over the last decade this includes Walt’s leadership on the City of Palo Alto Green Ribbon Task Force, the creation of The Palo Alto Community Environmental Action Partnership (CEAP), and of the PAUSD’s Sustainable Schools Committee.

A tireless advocate for the environment and for sustainability, Walt has been a dedicated supporter of Canopy and of other environmental causes for many years. His support is multi-faceted: from lending his pickup truck every time it’s needed, to organizing Rotary volunteers for tree plantings, and working with Canopy and the Palo Alto Unified School District to create a district-wide School Tree Policy. This policy has become a model for school districts around the country.

Walt has been a vital partner for Canopy, always seeking to ensure the best outcome for the urban forest. His life-long advocacy and service in the community is a gift and an inspiration.

Ravenswood City School District and its leadership, for their invaluable partnership during Canopy’s Healthy Trees, Healthy Kids! initiative to plant 1,000 trees for kids.

RCSDCanopy was delighted to present a Soforenko Award to an institution that has become a close partner of Canopy in recent years: the Ravenswood City School District. Canopy launched the Healthy Trees, Healthy Kids! initiative in 2011 with a goal to plant 1,000 trees for kids in 5 years. We completed the initiative last year, 1 year ahead of schedule and 70 trees over our goal.

The school district and its staff were essential partners in bringing this program to life. Today, over 6,000 school children have been touched by Healthy Trees, Healthy Kids!. With close to 1,600 volunteers, Canopy and partners have planted over 800 trees. We planted at each Ravenswood District school in East Palo Alto and eastern Menlo Park, engaging youth in the field and in the classroom.

This would not have been possible without the dedication and enthusiasm of the District’s Board of Education, Dr. Gloria Hernandez, the Superintendent, and her staff, the facilities staff, the school principals, the teachers, students and parents — all of whom were fantastic partners. Together, we planned and designed the tree plantings, raised funds for the effort, created planting sites, planted the trees and now we care for them to ensure their successful growth.

1136 Webster Street Residential Renovation Project Team, for exceptional measures taken to protect and enhance trees during the conception, design, and construction of the home at 1136 Webster Street in Palo Alto.

1136 WebsterOwner: Lindsay Chambers
Architect: Andrew Young and Hong Wei, Young and Borlik Architects, Inc.
Arborist: Ned Patchett, Ned Patchett Consulting
Structural Engineer: Mohammad Saaber, Saabco Consulting Inc.
Contractor: Michael Smith, Center-line Construction Inc.

The entire team of architects, contractors, engineers, arborists, and the owner of 1136 Webster Street are to be commended for the measures they took to protect and enhance the treescape at this Palo Alto home during the recently completed renovation project. The team began with a design that worked within the parameters of existing trees—from the limbs above to the roots below—and continued with the conception and execution of a masterful tree protection plan. The finished product is a model of residential development where trees are valued and protected.

Canopy Chair Awardee:

Ann Bilodeau, for her ongoing dedication as a veteran member of the Canopy Finance Committee, and for her invaluable assistance as Canopy’s staff recruiter.

Ann BilodeauAs a Canopy supporter for 18 years, Ann is an outstanding volunteer who has participated in many facets of Canopy’s growth. Not only has Ann participated in the important work of the Finance Committee for many years, she also writes the best minutes!

As Canopy has grown, Ann has taken on the significant task of staff recruitment. With her clear, insightful perspective, Ann has managed this process seamlessly several times. Ann is one of Canopy’s dedicated core supporters who dives into the inner workings of the organization to help make Canopy efficient and effective. Her efforts have been an immense and invaluable gift.

Out-on-a-Limb Awardees:

Kathy Alford, for her expert assistance and leadership during countless pruning and tree care work days this past summer, and for ongoing dedication as a Canopy volunteer and planting leader.

Kathy AlfordKathy has volunteered with Canopy for more than seven years in many different capacities. As a certified arborist and master gardener, Kathy is a valued Planting Leader and Program Committee member.

With Kathy’s Out-on-a-Limb award , we specifically wanted to recognize the tremendous time and effort she has spent skillfully pruning huge numbers of young Canopy trees, and teaching proper pruning technique to others. Kathy came to each and every pruning workday in summer 2014, providing expertise and helpful coaching for our Teen urban Foresters, volunteers, and program staff. She often brings her personal tools to lend to others.

Kathy loves the trees and always does the job right. She enjoys empowering other volunteers and is a skilled teacher. We are lucky to have Kathy as a volunteer, and our trees are lucky to have Kathy as a caretaker.

Jeff Williams, for his enthusiastic volunteer work and leadership at Canopy’s tree planting and tree care work days.

Jeff has been a trusted friend and guide to Canopy for several years. Since completing the Canopy Planting Leader training in 2012, he has become one of our most reliable and energetic volunteers.

He arrives to planting, tree care, and pruning service days enthusiastic and ready to work. He is often is one of the last people to leave at the end of the day. Whether there’s a particularly tough hole to dig or some tough weeds to pull, Jeff digs in and gets the job done. He also brings fun and humor to the task, entertaining other volunteers with stories and jokes. Jeff is an invaluable person to have on the team and we are fortunate and grateful that he’s committed so generously to Canopy.

Rachel Jacobson, for volunteering her time and skills as an expert planting and pruning leader.

Rachel JacobsonAs an up-and-coming landscaping professional, Rachel chose to volunteer her time at Canopy’s tree plantings and pruning service days, often coming to Canopy events all the way from Oakland. She has contributed valuable skills and expertise to Canopy’s volunteer crews and has inspired others with her hard work and quality results. She is a natural, proactive leader who takes time to guide and teach others. Rachel has been an exemplary Canopy volunteer. She’s also a fantastic face-painting artist!

Young Forester Awardees:

Arisa Faron, for supporting Canopy as a volunteer since 2012 and for encouraging dozens of fellow students to participate in caring for young trees.

Arisa Faron 2Arisa began volunteering with Canopy at tree care service days in 2012, and soon became one of our best outreach helpers. We’ve frequently called on her for help engaging other youth in tree care activities.

With her friendly and inspirational style, Arisa has organized students from her service club at Homestead High School in Cupertino. These students have contributed many hours to caring for young trees in Ravenswood schools. Arisa is not only skilled at community organizing and outreach, she is also an enthusiastic and hard-working tree care volunteer herself.

Elizabeth Greenfield, for her amazing work on the Young Tree Care Survey over the last 3 years, and for her dedication as an intern in the summer of 2014.

Elizabeth GreenfieldAfter several years of volunteering for Canopy’s Young Tree Care Survey, Elizabeth offered her services in summer 2014 to prepare and organize Canopy’s annual survey of young street trees in Palo Alto.

Elizabeth is an amazing self-starter and problem solver. She managed her time superbly and often had creative and astute suggestions for improving the survey. Elizabeth was a pleasure to have around the office, and produced high-quality work. We were grateful to have her as part of the team.

Elizabeth Perez, for her service as a Canopy volunteer and ongoing leadership as a member of Canopy’s Youth Tree Corps.

Elizabeth PerezBefore joining Canopy’s Youth Staff last year, Elizabeth volunteered at numerous Canopy plantings and tree care events. Her first event was the tree planting at East Palo Alto Charter School where she went to school. Canopy planted 163 trees that day, and Elizabeth has been planting and caring for trees ever since!

Besides her work with Canopy, Elizabeth is a bright student at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, where she is a member of the debate team, takes a journalism class, and tutors other students in a robotics club. She is an incredibly kind, talented leader—in short, an inspiring example for other young women.

January 2014 Award Recipients

Arnold Soforenko Awards:

Barrie D. Coate, for exemplary commitment to the community and a lifetime of service to the local urban forest.

The Hewlett Packard Historic Oak Tree Preservation Team, for preserving a historic oak tree at the entrance of Hewlett Packard World Headquarters and Executive Briefing Center, and making the tree a centerpiece of the redesigned building.

Team members: Alexa Lallos, Bruce Benton, Karen Olivero, Steve Shokrai and Sam Gelpi of Hewlett Packard; Chuck Albright, Gervais Tompkin, Kevin Schaeffer, Hao Ko, Corinda Wong, Elinor Kumpf and Mark Fairman of Gensler; Jeff Peterson and Amy Dunning of Wilsey Ham; Aditya Advani, Billy Rhyne, Barbara Lundburg, James Ingels and Masahiro Inoue of Royston Hanamoto Alley & Abey; Barrie Coate and Michael Bench of Barrie D. Coate & Associates; Jon Foad, Casey Wend, Mark Whiley, John Abrams and David Radovich of Rudloph and Sletten.

Out-on-a-Limb Awards:

Cristy Osborne, for years of selfless service and infectious cheerfulness at Canopy plantings and tree care events.

Miguel Berumen Sr., for outstanding service and inspiration as a Canopy tree care volunteer.

Young Forester Awards:

Jesus Lopez, for two years of outstanding work as a Canopy Youth Staff member.

Javier Vazquez, for two years of outstanding work as a Canopy Youth Staff member.

Miguel Berumen Jr., for outstanding work as a volunteer and Youth Staff member.

Jorge Rodriquez, for outstanding work as a volunteer and Youth Staff member. 

Rory Harriss, for exceptional work as a Planting Leader.

Chair’s Award:

Girvin Peters, for exceptional support of Canopy’s Tree Planting efforts at several Healthy Trees, Healthy Kids! Plantings.

January 2013 Award Recipients

Arnold Soforenko Awards:

Friends of George for working together to save and memorialize the iconic coast live oak, George, at 816 Cowper Street in Palo Alto and replanting the site with a valley oak.

Carol Kiparsky, Casey Leedom, Beth Bunnenberg, Urban Cummings, Michael Meyer (Michael Meyer Fine Wood Working), the Eng Family, Connie Jo Cotton, Elisabeth Rubinfien, Angela Leung, Catherine Cohen, Tina Keegan, Mike Sartor (City of Palo Alto), Peter Jensen (City of Palo Alto), and Joe Rapanut and tree crew (City of Palo Alto) 

265 Lytton Avenue Project for preserving the mature signature coast live oak during the commercial redevelopment of 265 Lytton Street in Palo Alto.

Michael King (King Asset Management), Charles King (King Asset Management), Michael Young (Urban Tree Management, Inc.), Dawn Jekins (DES Architects + Engineers, Inc.), Naomi Nishimoto (DES Architects + Engineers, Inc.), Brad Wentz (Wentz Group); John Vlay (Jensen Landscape and Construction Company), Dave Doctor (City of Palo Alto), and Russ Reich (City of Palo Alto)

Out-on-a-Limb Awards:

Scott Wells for planning, organizing, and carrying out the 2012 Young Tree Care Survey.

Bronwyn Alexander for exceptional work as the young tree steward at Belle Haven Elementary School.

Young Forester Awards:

Reed Garber for exceptional work as a Canopy summer intern.

Russell Langston for exceptional work as a Canopy summer intern.

Julien Lévy for spearheading the “Reforest San Bruno” campaign and organizing a large-scale community planting in the neighborhood ravaged by the 2010 gas line explosion. 

January 2012 Award Recipients

Arnold Soforenko Awards:

Dave Muffly
Arboreal Project: Team Members: Tom Morrison, Project Manager from D.R. Horton, Inc.; Dennis Hudspeth, Engineer, DR. Horton, Inc.; Scott Johnson, VP of construction, D.R. Horton, Inc.; Jeromey Ingalls, Project Manager and Arborist, Mayne Tree Service; Richard Huntington, Owner, Mayne Tree Service; Steven Turner, Planning Manager, City of Palo Alto

Out-on-a-Limb Awards:

Barb Mackraz
Marian Cortesi
Jeff Langston

The Chair’s Award:

Joe Vavuris

Student Forester Award:

Daniel Noriega-Diaz

January 2011 Award Recipients

Arnold Soforenko Awards:

Mary and Ruth Gordon
Gloria Humble

Ellis Partners, LLC and the Town and the Country Village design team:

Matt Wickens, of Ellis Partners, 
Brent Cottong, Principal, of Cottong & Taniguchi Landscape Architects, 
Ken Hayes, Principal, of Hayes Group, Architects, 
Barrie Coate, Principal and Michael Bench, Associate, of Barrie D. Coate & Associates, Horticultural Consultants and Jason Jacob, Store Manager of Trader Joe’s Palo Alto.

Out-on-a-Limb Awards:

Fred Nichols
Pierre Martineau

The Chair’s Award:

Bill Courington

Student Forester Award:

Darryl Sepulveda

January 2010 Award Recipients

January 2010 Award Recipients:

Arnold Soforenko Awards:

Ad-Hoc California Avenue Tree Citizens’ Group
Jack Morton
Bob Golton

Out-on-a-Limb Awards:

Bob and Kay Schauer
Annette Glanckopf

Student Forester Award:

Javier Magana

January 2009 Award Recipients

Arnold Soforenko Awards:

Classic Residence by Hyatt in Palo Alto: Team members: Steve Brudnick, Executive Director; Dennis Lopiccolo, Director of Engineering; and Ray Morneau, Consulting Arborist; Rick Story, Associate; SWA Group for Landscape Architecture; Max Ornelas, Maniglia Landscape Service owner; and Miguel Medina, General Manager
Jay Farr, City of East Palo Alto Maintenance Division Manager, and his maintenance crews
Kirsten Essenmacher

Out-on-a-Limb Awards:

Alan Broad
Eastside College Preparatory School Step-by-Step Club

Student Forester Award:

James Childs

January 2008 Award Recipients

Arnold Soforenko Awards:

Ron Bracewell, in memoriam
Joe Vallaire
Chuck McDonnell
Virginia Warheit

Out-on-a-Limb Awards:

Hans Weber
Jack Wilson
Allen Chen

January 2007 Award Recipients

Arnold Soforenko Awards:

Pat Foster
Judith and Hans Steiner
The Opportunity Center

Out-on-a-Limb Awards:

Charles Ridley
Sibby Coxhead
Sairus Patel

January 2006 Award Recipients

Arnold Soforenko Awards:

Alex Haedrich
Dave Sandage
Jennifer Kane

Out-on-a-Limb Awards:

Katie Hasnain
Ann Bilodeau

October 2004 Award Recipients

Arnold Soforenko Awards:

Kiwanis Club of Palo Alto
The Trees for El Camino Project

Out-on-a-Limb Awards:

Kacie Draeger
Karin Chapin

October 2003 Award Recipients

Arnold Soforenko Awards:

Roche Palo Alto
Straun Edwards
Susan Rosenberg

Out-on-a-Limb Awards:

Chris Holstrom
James Imahiro
Julie Luu and Talia Bender

October 2002 Award Recipients

The Chair’s Award:

Forest Preston III

Arnold Soforenko Awards:

Dave Dockter
Bill Courington
Susan Wilson

Out-on-a-Limb Awards:

Key Club from Gunn High School
Youth Community Service
Mary McCullough
Ruth Lacey

October 2001 Award Recipients

Arnold Soforenko Awards:

Kevin Raftery
Stanford Management Company, Ramsey Shuyto, Asset Manager

Out-on-a-Limb Awards:

Adam Lishinsky
Mark Pratt
Susan Rosenberg

October 2000 Award Recipients

The Chair’s Award:

Susan Rosenberg

Arnold Soforenko Awards:

3170 Porter Dr. (Incyte Genomics) in the Stanford Research Park: Susan Meany, Stanford Management Co.; Tom Richmond, Landscape Architect; and Ray Morneau, Consulting Arborist
Denis & Jennifer Morrissey

The Leonard Ely Building: Jim Baer, Developer; John Northway, Architect, Devcon Construction; Barrie Coate, Consulting Arborist; Jim Harrington, Dave Sandage; and Dave Dockter, City of Palo Alto

Out-on-a-Limb Awards:

Ann Bilodeau
Karin Chapin
Kim Lemmer
Susan Wilson

September 1998 Award Recipients

California Releaf “Tree Hero” award:

David Schrom (founder of Magic)

Out-on-a-Limb Awards:

Kim Lemmer
Joan van Gelder
Karin Chapin
Forest Preston
Alice Fasbender

October 1997 Award Recipient

California Releaf “Tree Hero” award:

Marge Abel