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New York City Volunteer Gets Presidential Recognition for Saving Trees

Release Date: 10/09/2008
Contact Information: Jennifer May, (212) 637-3658,

(New York, NY) 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.

During his travels across the country, Administrator Johnson meets with individuals like Lorraine Forte who is answering the call to volunteer service, environmental education and pollution prevention.

In his January 2002 State of the Union Address, President Bush called on all Americans to make a difference in their communities through volunteer service. He created USA Freedom Corps, an Office of the White House, to strengthen and expand volunteer service. Americans are responding to the President’s Call to Service. Go to or call 1-877-USA-CORPS to find an existing volunteer service opportunity in your area or to find more information about service programs, including national service programs such as the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, and Citizen Corps. USA Freedom Corps is also highlighting youth volunteer service. Visit for games and ideas to see how America's youth are making a difference.

The President's Volunteer Service Award was created at the President’s direction by the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation. The Award is available to youth ages 14 and under who have completed 50 or more hours of volunteer service; to individuals 15 and older who have completed 100 or more hours; and to families or groups who have completed 200 or more hours. For more information about the Award, please visit

Photographs from the award presentation are available upon request. Please email Jennifer May at to request photographs.