Urban Releaf founder and Executive Director Kemba Shakur has been honored with the prestigious Morton Award for 2013, the highest honor of the Arbor Day Foundation. The Nebraska-based organization noted Shakur’s “outstanding contribution to tree planting, conservation, and stewardship.” In winning the Morton Award, Shakur joins an elite group of arborists and conservationists including Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai.
The full release follows:
Arbor Day Foundation Honors Kemba Shakur
Nebraska City, Neb. (April 23, 2013) – Kemba Shakur is the recipient of a 2013 Arbor Day Award in honor of her outstanding contribution to tree planting, conservation and stewardship, the Arbor Day Foundation announced today.
Shakur, executive director of the Oakland, California, based Urban ReLeaf is one of 14 individuals, organizations and companies being recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation during the annual Arbor Day Awards. This year’s ceremony will be held at Lied Lodge & Conference Center, located at Arbor Day Farm in Nebraska City, Nebraska, on Saturday, April 27.
Shakur will receive the Morton Award, the highest honor bestowed by the Foundation.
Shakur works daily with low-income communities to plant trees, mentor young people and build neighborhood leaders, and Urban ReLeaf has distributed more than 15,000 trees to community members in total. When Shakur saw that no one else was planting trees in her west Oakland neighborhood, she started to plant them herself. She continued planting in her front yard, on her block, in her neighborhood and eventually throughout the City of Oakland – block by block, turning “concrete jungle into a green oasis,” she says.
Shakur has also made long-term research a priority, working directly with the University of California Davis, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, the California Department of Water Resources and the USDA Forest Service.
“The creativity and hard work of this year’s Arbor Day Award winners enrich our public commons and inspire future generations of environmental advocates,” said John Rosenow, founder and chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation. “Kemba Shakur ought to be proud to be a part of this accomplished group.”
Since 1972, the Arbor Day Foundation has recognized the inspiring and life-changing work of leading environmental stewards and tree planters through the annual Arbor Day Awards. Award winners from previous years include the late Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, the United States Forest Service, Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Mary Kay, Inc.
About the Arbor Day Foundation: The Arbor Day Foundation is a nonprofit conservation and education organization of one million members, with the mission to inspire people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees. More information on the Foundation and its programs can be found at arborday.org, or by visiting us on Facebook, Twitter or our blog.