Nebraska City, Neb. - The Arbor Day Foundation presented Governor Martin O'Malley with the newly created 2012 Vision Award in Nebraska City, Neb. on Saturday, April 28. Governor O'Malley's passion for trees has garnered him national acclaim, inspiring the foundation to establish this new category of award.
"I am humbled by this prestigious honor," said Governor Martin O'Malley. "For air quality, water quality, wildlife habitat and working landscapes, forestland is by far our most strategically important natural resource. We must all work together and lead by example to create a sustainable future for our children."
The Arbor Day Foundation Vision Award recognizes an individual who, by vision and deed, inspires and advances extraordinary on-the-ground actions to achieve the full benefits of trees and forests. This new national award, which will be given only as merited, honors Governor O'Malley's unparalleled commitment to programs and practices that promote tree planting and sustainable forestry, a hallmark of his Administration.
"We're honored to host Governor O'Malley in Nebraska this weekend to celebrate his outstanding commitment to community trees and forests," said John Rosenow, founder and chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation. "The Governor had the chance to address dozens of conservation leaders from around the country."
The award recognized the Governor for his leadership in increasing the State's tree canopy, obtaining dual "green" certification of the State's forests, development of greenhouse gas reduction strategies, participation in the Baltimore-Washington Partners for Forest Stewardship and establishment of the Sustainable Forestry Act and no net loss of forest policy goals.
Under Governor O'Malley's leadership, inmates have planted one million trees on public lands and the state has garnered dual certification of all of state forests, signed on to the regional greenhouse gas initiative and focused on natural filters to reach its Bay restoration goals. To educate and inspire the stewards of tomorrow, Maryland is enhancing opportunities for children to connect with their natural world, and recently became the first state in the nation to adopt an environmental literacy graduation requirement for all high school students.
Through Governor O'Malley's Marylanders Plant Trees program, citizens have planted and registered more than 75,000 trees toward 100,000-tree goal. Citizens are encouraged to download $25 coupons toward the purchase of native trees, register every tree they plant to win prizes and contribute to the tree planting goal, and calculate the benefits of their new trees at trees.maryland.gov
"We've adopted a no net loss of forest approach to natural resource policies," said Governor O'Malley. "We must put a priority on forest conservation, protect high quality forests, offset all sources of forest loss, encourage the retention of working lands and promote family-owned forest stewardship."
The Arbor Day Foundation is a national, nonprofit conservation and education organization, with a mission to inspire people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees. Founded in 1972, the centennial of the first Arbor Day observance in the 19th century, the Foundation has grown to become the largest nonprofit membership organization dedicated to planting trees, with over one million members, supporters, and valued partners.