New York, NY – Oct. 9, 2008 : EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson presented a local volunteer, Lorraine Forte, with the President’s Volunteer Service Award for her leadership and volunteer work with New York City Partnerships for Parks’ Tree Stewardship Program. Ms. Forte received the award from Administrator Johnson on Tuesday at a ceremony held in EPA’s regional office in Lower Manhattan.
“Today we honor Lorraine Forte for answering President Bush’s call to serve a cause greater than her,” said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. “Dedicated volunteers like Ms. Forte are inspiring others to join them in delivering America a brighter, healthier future."
Ms. Forte was a graduate of the inaugural class of Partnerships Academy, a yearlong in-depth training program providing volunteers with skills, materials and contacts to help them achieve their goals while building relationships with potential partners. Through Partnerships Academy, Ms. Forte designed a new low-cost, easy-to-install tree guard that protects young tress. The guard specifically prevents animals from urinating in tree pits – destroying delicate roots a tree uses to feed itself – and the guard prevents bicycles from being chained around the trees – destroying the bark and stunting growth for the trees.
Ms.Forte works with volunteers and community-based-organizations to save street trees across the city. She donated her tree guard to Trees New York, an urban forestry nonprofit organization that plants, preserves and protects New York City’s neighborhood trees through education, active citizen participation and advocacy.
Partnerships for Parks is a joint program of City Parks Foundation and the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation founded in 1995 and exists to support community involvement in parks. Volunteers like Ms. Forte have been instrumental in caring for thousands of trees and – through programs such as the 2005-2006 Street Tree Census – recording information (such as size, species, location, and condition) for every street tree in New York City. Ms. Forte has logged a total of more than 30,000 volunteer hours.