At its recent Annual Meeting, CTPA presented its 2018 awards. The awards included the Award of Merit – which is given to a CTPA member, the Arborist Citation – which is given to a non-member for contributions to tree care in the state – and the CTPA Arborist Scholarship. In addition, this year, CTPA declared two of its members as Honorary Members.
Chosen to receive the Award of Merit this year was Les Lewis III, owner of Les Arbes, a tree care and fine gardening company in Georgetown, CT.
Throughout his career, Les has earned a stellar reputation as an arborist and tree care company owner. He has had a wide-ranging influence on the practice of tree care and is known as a mentor for the people who have worked for him and as a thorough professional who stressed the importance of detail and quality in tree work.
Adding additional meaning to the award, Les’s son, Les Lewis IV, presented the plaque commemorating the award to his father. Les IV’s many kind words were both moving and motivating, as it clearly showed the bond of the father and son, a bond that includes tree care.
The Arborist Citation this year was given to Dr. Rich Cowles of the CT Agricultural Experiment Station. It
would be difficult to imagine someone who is more deserving of this award. Rich has long championed the work of arborists in Connecticut, providing support in numerous ways through his research at the Agricultural Station into insects and the means of controlling the damage done by insects. Over the past several years Rich, along with his colleague Dr. Claire Rutledge, have presented numerous workshops on the emerald ash borer. Their presentations have provided the definitive word on this insect to many in tree care throughout Connecticut.
Each year, CTPA provides a $2,000 scholarship to a Connecticut college student studying arboriculture or urban forestry who also plans to go on to a career in tree care. This year’s recipient of the CTPA Arborist Scholarship is Conor Smith, currently
studying at the University of New Hampshire. Conor has worked at several tree care companies, both large and small, is an active member of the UNH Woodsman Team and, following his degree from the Forest Technology Program, plans on becoming a licensed arborist.
The last award to be presented was the Honorary Member Award. This designation is not given often and only at the discretion of the board. It is considered to be the CTPA’s highest honor to a member. It is generally presented to an individual only after a long period of service to the organization that has featured a high degree of accomplishment.
This year, CTPA presented two Honorary Member Awards, to Bud Neal and Chris Donnelly. Bud is currently serving as CTPA’s President, is a long-time board member, has been highly active in the CTPA Tree Climbing Competition and has, over the years, taken on numerous assignments, unselfishly and whole-heartedly. He has also come up with many good, solid ideas that have proved their value to the members, such as the annual EAB workshops and, before that, the trips to Worcester to see the ALB infestation. Currently, he is working on a true labor of love, the Veterans Home and Hospital Healing Garden at Rocky Hill.
Chris has been associated with the CTPA board since 1996, when he took on the position of Executive Secretary. In 2003, he moved up from being a staff
member to being on the board, where he then held each of the various officer positions, including spending 2 years as President of the Association. Chris has been the long-time editor of the CTPA newsletter and was the first webmaster for the CTPA website. Perhaps his most important contributions have been through his administration of Arboriculture 101. Since 1996, when the first class was held, somewhere approaching 2,000 students have taken the course. Chris shares credit for the success of this course with all of the instructors and each of the Executive Secretaries who haven been instrumental in making this course happen, noting that it has undoubtedly had an influence over the state of arboriculture in Connecticut.
At the Annual Meeting, CTPA also presented a check to the CT Agricultural Experiment Station, to assist that facility in the work it does in support of arboriculture in Connecticut.