We went out to eat at a local eatery and the next day they traveled to Nebraska City where we caught up with them Saturday noon. It is the national headquarters for all things trees. The actual home of Arbor Lodge and a kind of sojourn every person in the forestry business wishes to make one day.
Ralph is recently retired from the Colorado Forest service after an illustrious career that found him eventually focusing on urban and community forestation.
A few months back we got word from Char that Ralph would be getting an award from the National Arbor Day Foundation at a ceremony and that we were going to be invited so please save the date.
That awards ceremony was Saturday night at the Arbor Lodge and Convention Center in the middle of an expansive display of trees that is home to the Arbor Lodge and Farm.
They do a good job of keeping this a special night for the award recipients. They give out about 15 national awards to big corporations, states, and a few special individuals who have distinguished themselves in the field of tree planting and forestry. Ralph was one of those.
The reception was impressive enough and I was in awe of Ralph as he worked the room. He seemed to know almost everyone there by name and there was a lot of back slapping and congratulations to him by his colleagues.
The full scope of the importance of the award Ralph was about to get didn't hit me until the lights went down, the spot came up on John Rosenow the long term Chairman of the Arbor day foundation. He spoke briefly and presented the first award. The lights went down and a 3 minute video on the accomplishements of the first recipient came up on the big screen. A slick presentation indeed and then they announced the man seated directly in front of Ralph. Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley. That right there got my attention. Ralph has hit the big time. Nothing changed my opinion of that as representatives from big corporations, cities, civic groups and a few individuals all received a nice video presentation and took thier moment in the lime light.
The program said:
Retired Urban Forester Ralph Campbell of Westminster, Colorado, will receive the Frederick Law Olmsted Award in recognition of his lifelong commitment to tree planting and conservation at the state level. A 35-year veteran of the Colorado Forest Service, Campbell was an active leader in urban forestry. He helped establish Colorado's Urban and Community Forestry program, and later helped develop the Colorado Tree Coalition, which has received 425 grants worth $650,000, and matched them with $7.5 million in community contributions. He has also sponsored seasonal tree planting for underprivileged youth in the Denver area. In 1995, Campbell was named an Outstanding Performer by the Colorado Forest Service, the highest possible honor.
Above is Ralph accepting the award on stage from the CEO of the Arbor Day Foundation. The below pic was taken after the banquet.
We were treated like royalty by the fondation simply by virtue of being in Ralph's party. The group below are all colleagues of his who took the time to travel from all parts of Colorado and Nebraska to pay tribute to Ralph.
Below is Ralph and Char in front of Arbor Lodge originally owned by J. Sterling Morton. Following that was a picture taken immediately after the banquet in the lobby. We found this coffee bar with a big mirror and so the image is a kind of relection of the four of us.
Ralph, Cliff, Char, and Marilyn
We were glad to be included in this event. The two Campbells are kind of 'understated' folks but when pressed a bit by me, Char admitted, "Yeah, this is a pretty big deal." After seeing Ralph's peers at the awards ceremony, that being companies, Governors, States and Giant Corporations from all parts of the United States and around the world I could see this was the real thing and we were once again proud to say, "Yeah, we're with the Campbells."
I suspect the video they showed that night about Ralph's work will eventually be put up on Arbor Dar Foundations website and when it does, I'll let you know.