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K-State Today

September 3, 2014



Cathie Lavis receives Award for Excellence in Arboricultural Education

By Matthew McKernan

Cathie Lavis, associate professor and extension specialist of landscape management at Kansas State University, is this year's co-recipient of the International Society of Arboriculture's prestigious Alex L. Shigo Award for Excellence in Arboricultural Education. The award honors society members for enhancing the quality and professionalism of arboriculture through sustained excellence in education.

Lavis was recognized at the 90th annual International Society of Arboriculture International Conference and Trade Show on Aug. 3, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. At the opening ceremony of the conference, as Lavis received her award, a video highlighting her achievements in arboricultural education was presented.

Lavis has the ability to get her students caught up in the wonder of trees and she is not afraid to take on a challenge. She led her students on a campaign to establish K-State as a Tree Campus USA. Her students learned from her ability to organize an Arbor Day celebration and unite campus stakeholders for support.

Lavis believes her greatest contribution so far is helping students realize the importance of caring for trees in an urban environment. The award's namesake, Alex Shigo, was a renowned plant pathologist known throughout the industry for his studies on tree decay, which led to major changes in arboriculture. Lavis wants her students to learn and understand the concepts from Shigo's research because this understanding will help them become better stewards of urban trees.

Lavis is one of nine distinguished professionals recognized this year who make up the circle of winners for the society's Awards of Distinction, sponsored by Bartlett Tree Experts.

Robert Bartlett Jr., chair and CEO of Bartlett Tree Experts said, "As the tree care industry continues to change and grow, we need individuals like these to help lead the way through scientific study, research, and dedicated work in training and education."

The society has been honoring members and industry professionals with the Awards of Distinction since 1963. Nine categories recognize candidates in such areas as research, publishing, education and advancing the cause of the organization. These awards are the highest honors given by the society based on nominations submitted by members and industry professionals. The winners are selected by a diverse group of experts in arboriculture. More than 20,000 members make up the society's organization worldwide.