Executive Director of ReLeaf Michigan Receives Award of Achievement from International Society of Arboriculture
CHAMPAIGN, Ill., U.S. (August 5, 2018) – Melinda Jones of Houghton Lake, Michigan, is the recipient of the 2018 International Society of Arboriculture’s (ISA) Sharon J. Lilly Award of Achievement. This Award of Distinction recognizes ISA members for outstanding work in advancing the cause of arboriculture.
Jones is currently the executive director of ReLeaf Michigan, a non-profit tree organization based out of Ann Arbor, Michigan, which she helped found in 1988. Before becoming full-time with the organization, she spent much of her career as a utility forester and operated her own consulting business, Unique Trees and Shrubs. Jones also served on the ISA Board of Directors from 1998-2006, chairing the International Development Committee and co-chairing the Diversity Committee.
“Melinda represents an early group of female arborists who began to pave the way for women in arboriculture and their involvement with ISA,” says Paul Ries, ISA board president. “It is fitting that she received this award recently named after Sharon Lilly who was the first female president of the ISA board.”
Jones began her career with Detroit Edison, entering the industry at a time when very few women were in the profession. She started as a forestry specialist and eventually became the Director of Labor and Employee Relations, Compensation, Staffing, and HR Technology. Jones also headed up the company’s Catastrophic Storm Team, a special unit called in to restore power during larger outages.
Her role with ReLeaf Michigan was the result of a global initiative by American Forests to address the issue that for every four trees being removed only one was being replanted. The organization, which is mostly volunteer based, works with communities throughout Michigan to plant trees and educate homeowners on the need to properly select, plant, and maintain their trees. “We are an organization made up of volunteer arborists, foresters, and researchers,” explains Jones. “We have a small staff so we would not be able to do what we do without the generosity of those in the green industry.”
Jones is known as the originator of the annual Women in Arboriculture networking meeting, an event now held each year during the ISA annual conference. She acknowledges that one of her greatest contributions to the industry is encouraging other female arborists. “I think I am most proud of promoting the need for ISA to be inclusive both with women and internationally,” says Jones. "It is important to me that everyone has a voice.”
When asked about receiving an award named after another prominent woman in arboriculture, Sharon Lilly, Jones replied, "I am very honored. I know Sharon and have worked closely with her. I have a lot of respect for the work she has done in the industry.”
Jones was recognized during the opening ceremony of the ISA Annual International Conference and Trade Show on Sunday, August 5 in Columbus, Ohio. “By recognizing individuals who have a positive impact on arboriculture, ISA helps provide role models and learning opportunities for all of us,” added Robert Bartlett Jr., chairman and CEO of Bartlett Tree Experts. “We applaud Melinda Jones and all of the honorees for their contributions in research, education and mentoring.”
ISA serves more than 30,000 members and credential holders worldwide, and has been honoring members and industry professionals with the Awards of Distinction since 1963. The winners are selected by the ISA Awards Committee, a diverse group of experts in arboriculture, and are approved by ISA’s Board of Directors.
ABOUT ISA The International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), headquartered in Champaign, Ill., is a nonprofit organization supporting tree care research and education around the world. To promote the importance of arboriculture, ISA manages the consumer education web site, www.treesaregood.org, which fulfills the association’s mission to help educate the public about the importance and value of proper tree care. Also, as part of ISA’s dedication to the care and preservation of shade and ornamental trees, it offers the only internationally-recognized certification program in the industry. For more information on ISA and Certified Arborists, visit www.isa-arbor.com.
ABOUT BARTLETT TREE EXPERTS The F.A. Bartlett Tree Expert Company was founded in 1907 by Francis A. Bartlett and is the world’s leading scientific tree and shrub care company. The organization’s current chairman, Robert A. Bartlett Jr., represents the third generation of Bartlett family management. Bartlett has locations in 27 U.S. states, Canada, Ireland, and Great Britain. Services include pruning, insect and disease management, fertilization and soil care, cabling and bracing, tree lightning protection systems, and tree and stump removal. Its corporate offices are located in Stamford, Connecticut. To find out more, visit the company’s web site at www.bartlett.comor call 1-877-BARTLETT (227-8538).
ABOUT RELEAF MICHIGAN Since 1988, ReLeaf Michigan partnered with more than 400 communities across the state to help lead volunteer plantings of nearly 30,000 trees and provide educational workshops to residents on tree care. Its mission is to educate Michiganders on the value of trees and how to properly select, plant and maintain them. Learn more about ReLeaf Michigan’s activities, including the biennial Big Tree Hunt, at www.ReLeafMichigan.org.
### Editor’s Note: Photos are available upon request. To arrange an interview with Melinda Jones, contact Julie Gaier at 262-786-5970 or firstname.lastname@example.org.