Wausau's Andy Sims was recently awarded the Leadership Award for his part in protecting, preserving and increasing the number of trees in the community. Photo courtesy Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

MADISON – Wausau’s assistant director of operations for Parks, Recreation and Forestry in the city of Wausau and Marathon County was recently awarded the Leadership Award for his part in protecting, preserving and increasing the number of trees that line city streets, fill community parks and enhance neighborhoods throughout the state. The Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council awarded Wausau’s Andy Sims, along with others, at the 2022 Wisconsin Arborist Association/DNR Urban Forestry Conference Feb. 20-22.

“The Urban Forestry Council Awards honor individuals, organizations and communities for their tireless work and commitment to trees and the plethora of benefits they provide. It’s such incredible work that people are doing in communities of all-sizes across the state to support healthy community forests,” said Linda Cadotte, Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council award committee chairwoman, in a news release.

Along with the Leadership Award, awards were given in the next gen, project partnership and innovation categories.

About Sims’ award

Recognizing an individual or elected official at the county or local level of government who has made an outstanding recent contribution to urban forestry in Wisconsin.

The Leadership Award was presented to Sims for his leadership in community urban forest management. Sims showed excellent leadership when he connected Wausau’s urban ash management program with Urban Evolutions of Appleton. The ash management plan involved treatment, removal and replacing ash trees in the boulevard, parks and other city-owned property, but Sims took it one step further.

This project involved partnerships with the DNR, which had a contact with Urban Evolutions of Appleton. Urban Evolutions uses new and reclaimed materials to design furniture, fences, flooring, doors, wall panels and more for retail, residential, hospitality and commercial projects.

A contract was negotiated to enable Wausau’s ash logs to be removed from area parks and sold to Urban Evolutions. Proceeds from the log sales were used to plant new trees.

Sims is also developing a partnership with the Wausau School District to use the wood with the sawmill at the school to give the students an opportunity to learn about the sawing, drying and utilizing process.

Learn more about the Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council Annual Rewards, see past winners and nominate your community tree champion online here.

The Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council advises the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources on the best ways to preserve, protect, expand and improve Wisconsin’s urban and community forest resources.