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 MINNEAPOLIS, Sept. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- The Sacramento Tree Foundation (Sacramento, Calif.) and Portland, Ore.'s Friends of Trees, two of the nation's leading non-profit environmental groups, were today named as winners of the annual Geo Awards for Environmental Excellence. Sacramento won the award for larger groups, and Portland won an identical award and grant in the smaller groups category.
 The prestigious national awards are co-sponsored by American Forests, the USDA Forest Service, and the Chevrolet-Geo Environmental/ Tree Program. "We are very pleased to announce Sacramento Tree Foundation and Friends of Trees as the winners of the 1993 'Geo,'" said Jeff Hurlbert, general marketing manager of the Chevrolet-Geo division of General Motors.
 The 1993 Geo Awards were presented to Ray Tretheway of the Sacramento Tree Foundation and Richard Seidman representing Portland's Friends of Trees in a special after-dinner ceremony at the Sixth National Urban Forestry Conference in Minneapolis today.
 Doing the tough job of judging among the thirty groups nominated for this year's award was a "blue ribbon" panel of representatives from the USDA Forest Service, American Forests and The Pearlman Group. "Each of the hardworking groups that were nominated for the award this year deserve strong recognition for their efforts ... with the 'Geo' Award we're able to underscore the commitment and energy that these people are bringing to the cause," Hurlbert said.
 American Forests' Executive Vice President Neil Sampson thanked Geo for its ongoing environmental leadership, adding, "Geo's continued partnership and support of local groups, as well as our National Urban Forest Conference, makes Geo the logical sponsor of this important award." American Forests has been the national citizen's organization for trees and forests since 1875 and, through its Global ReLeaf campaign, works with people and groups throughout the world to plant and care for trees especially in urban areas.
 "Geo is a corporate citizen whose support for local programs has greatly benefited the cause of urban forestry. Geo also helps to underwrite our Plant-a-Tree Program in the national forests," commented USDA Forest Service Chief Dale Robertson.
 Remarking on the program, Dan Pearlman, president/chief executive officer of The Pearlman Group, said, "We established these awards to celebrate and encourage the work of non-profit, non-partisan citizen tree planting groups for the vital work that they do. With this award, we are very proud to focus the nation's attention on some very deserving groups and their volunteer constituencies.
 "When we started the Geo Tree Program in 1989, we hoped that the response to this special environmental program would be good ... We were introducing a line of automobiles that were (and still are) rated most fuel-efficient by the EPA, and we thought that Geo's involvement with the environmental groups would be an excellent direct way to indicate our support of what they were doing," continued Pearlman. "Today, nearly five years late, we've not only gained additional visibility for the Geo line but added recognition for hard-working tree planting groups from coast to coast."
 A grassroots undertaking, The Geo Environmental/Tree Program educates the public about the environmental benefits of planting trees as well as encouraging citizens to become involved on a local level. Geo, the most fuel-efficient family of automobiles sold in the United States (as rated by the EPA), has provided major support to dozens of local tree planting groups around the United States since 1989.
 The "Geo" Award itself is a specially commissioned Steuben Glass sculpture. Triangular in shape, the "Geo" depicts a pristine grove of trees symbolizing the vitally important work of urban reforestation. In addition to this beautiful and unique work of art, the Geo Environmental/Tree Program also presented a $5,000 grant to each of the two winning organizations.
 Through these ongoing partnerships, some 200,000 trees have been planted thus far (one for every Geo automobile purchased in areas where the program is active). Additionally, the program is responsible for numerous tree planting events, workshops and conferences throughout the nation which aid local communities with urban renewal efforts as well as city beautification and cooling.
 Complete list of 1993 Geo Award Nominees:
 Anacostia Watershed Society, College Park, Md.; Austin ReLeaf, Austin, Texas; Baton Rouge Green, Baton Rouge, La.; Center for Environmental Studies, Grand Rapids, Mich.; City Parks Foundation, New York; Dallas Parks Foundation, Dallas; Fairfax ReLeaf, Fairfax, Va.; Fort Collins ReLeaf, Fort Collins, Colo.; Friends of Trees, Portland, Ore.; Greener Harrisonburg, Harrisonburg, Va.; Isles Inc., Trenton, N.J.; Keep Washington Green Association, Seattle; Lincoln County Conservation District, Davenport, Iowa; McKean County Conservation District, Custer City, Pa.; Parks & People Foundation, Baltimore; People for Trees, San Diego; Philadelphia Green (PHS), Philadelphia; Re-Leaf Tarrant County, Ft. Worth, Texas; Rotary Club of Vancouver South, Vancouver, British Columbia; Sacramento Tree Foundation, Sacramento; Sterling Foundation, Sterling, Va.; The Freedom Tree Organization, Simi Valley, Calif.; Tree Fresno, Fresno, Calif.; Trees for Houston, Houston; Trees for the City, Washington D.C.; TreePeople, Los Angeles; Trees New York, New York; Twin Cities Tree Trust, St. Louis Park, Minn.; Valley Proud Environmental Council, Harlingen, Texas; and Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado, Denver, Colo.
 The Sacramento Tree Foundation is a citizen forestry organization that focuses on the establishment of a sustainable urban economy and a healthy urban environment.
 The group emphasizes volunteer action in tree planting, care, stewardship and education. Their "Trees for Public Places Program" is a community grant program for citizen tree planting at schools, parks, and streets.
 Through this program over 2,500 trees have been planted in 53 projects, and 80 culturally diverse youth have graduated from the summer employment program. The "Sacramento Shade Program" is a ten-year partnership with Sacramento Municipal Utility District and their customers to plant and care for 500,000 strategically placed shade trees since 1990.
 Portland's Friends of Trees' programs include neighborhood street tree planting projects, natural seedling plantings, a Youth Tree Corps of high school and middle school students, a Peace Trees program involving young people from several countries, a community forester training program for ongoing tree maintenance, neighborhood tree tours, public service announcements, and the distribution of written information.
 In the past four years, working on a shoestring budget, Friends of Trees has planted approximately 18,000 trees as part of 57 projects around Portland with the help of 1,500 volunteers. Friends of Trees has formed cooperative partnerships with government agencies, community groups, corporations, businesses, and other environmental groups.
 -0- 9/17/93
 /CONTACT: Doug Stokes of The Pearlman Group Inc., 310-473-9353/

CO: Chevrolet-Geo Environmental/Tree Program ST: Minnesota, California, Oregon IN: ENV AUT SU:

LS-LS -- LA001 -- 2955 09/17/93 09:01 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 17, 1993

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