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Forestry and Natural Resources > Associations > Indiana Arborist Association > Awards



The Indiana Arborist Association is proud to announce the following award winners at the annual conference.​​​

The 2013 annual meeting of the Indiana Arborist Association was recently held January 21st through the 23rd at the Marriott East in Indianapolis. During the annual awards presentation, the following individuals or groups were presented awards for outstanding arboriculture and urban forestry practices in Indiana.

Ramsey/IAA Student ​Award

President Caryl Schwaller and Purdue student, Casey Johnson

President Caryl Schwaller and Purdue student, Casey Johnson

Each year the Indiana Arborist Association awards the IAA Ramsey Award to a Purdue University student who has a professional interest in some aspect of urban forestry. This award is in memory of Paul Ramsey, who was an outstanding Indiana arborist. The award consists of a scholarship award plaque and a check for $1,000.00.

Casey Johnson is a junior from Huntington, Indiana, who is active in both the Purdue Student Society of Arboriculture and Society of American Foresters. Casey has expressed his career objectives as follows: “When I accepted my application to Purdue, I not only wanted to get involved in many extracurricular activities, but to earn a degree that will mean something to future employers. I got offered my first internship my freshman year with Davey Tree in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. I wanted to learn more about the Urban Forestry aspect of Forestry and this was my opportunity to do so. While working for Davey, I got to experience many things working in the field that had drawn me even further into the industry. It wasn’t until my second summer coming back to Davey that I realized that this was the work field that I wanted to be in. 

“While learning the skills of becoming an arborist, I recently got involved in climbing competitions where I was able to prove some of my skills that I had been learning and practicing every day. I competed in the Illinois State Climbing Competition and took 6th place overall. I received advice and tips from Lindsey Purcell and Jon Snyder who are advisors for the Arboriculture class at Purdue. Recently I competed in the TCIA intercollegiate tree climbing competition in Harford, Connecticut, and won 1st place in every climbing event as well as overall champion. “

IAA Award of Merit

The Indiana Arborist Association each year awards one or more members with the Meritorious Service Award. To be eligible for this award the recipient must be a member of IAA. The award is presented based on their outstanding work in the field of Arboriculture. 

IAA past president and officer, Greg Ressler graduated from Purdue University with a degree in Agriculture Business Management and has over thirty years of herbicide application experience. He is a recertification training specialist for right-of-way/ industrial weed management in many eastern states. His expertise is utilized by the office of the Indiana State Chemist certification review board for evaluating test for core and industrial weed certification for the state. He has worked for Townsend Chemical as an herbicide distribution area manager, vegetation specialist and currently performs those duties with Red River Specialties. 

Greg has been recognized for his many years of dedication and support to the Indiana Chapter for 5 years as a director on the board as well as conference committee. He has help with the vision and success of this organization. Additionally, Ressler is responsible for continuing education and training of applicators all over the Midwest and continues to create a safe working environment and safe worker protocols in our industry.

IAA Distinguished Service

President Caryl Schwaller and Dr. Robert Swihart

President Caryl Schwaller and Dr. Robert Swihart

The Indiana Arborist Association grants the Distinguished Service award to individuals who have given of themselves, to the benefit of the Indiana Arborist Association or to Arboriculture as a whole. The recipient does not need to be a member of IAA. 

First and foremost, Rob Swihart is a Wildlife Science scholar. A Purdue graduate with a B.S. in Wildlife Science, a M.S in Wildlife Science from the University of Minnesota and a Ph D. in Ecology from the University of Kansas. Rob joined the faculty at Purdue in 1991 and had served as department head since 2004.

He was the first member of the Purdue Department of Forestry and Natural Resources to be named a University Faculty Scholar. He has published over 120 publications in his interests such as the effects of habitat fragmentation on wildlife, population and community ecology of mammals, plant-herbivore interactions and wildlife damage management. As Department Head he is responsible for leadership and oversight of 30 faculty, 37 administrative and professional staff, 11 clerical staff, 255 undergraduate students, 85 graduate students, and administers a budget of approximately $8.5 million annually. 

Dr. Swihart works closely with the Board of Directors of the IAA to promote the importance of arborist and their professional contribution throughout Indiana. He understands the connection of urban forestry to our natural resources and the need to maintain a vibrant arboriculture presence in extension activities as well. Rob has contributed to the organization with guidance, funding and awareness of the needs of Hoosier arborists. Additionally, the IAA is grateful for his recognizing the opportunity for outreach and awareness of urban forestry by funding support with the WFYI public television program on Indiana Forestry to include urban forestry in Indiana.

ISA Gold Leaf Beautification

See Past Winners

President Caryl Schwaller, Dan Coy and Ericka Popovich

President Caryl Schwaller, Dan Coy and Ericka Popovich

Each year the International Society of Arboriculture recognizes individuals, organizations and communities at the chapter level for outstanding Arbor Day programs, tree plantings and community landscape beatification projects. 

Daniel Coy and Ericka Popovich with the City of Elkhart have been proponents of urban wood utilization for a number of years. In 2012, they brought together a number of local wood consumer processors, city staff and wood utilization experts for a round table/meet and greet to discuss what would need to be in place for trees removed by the city to be utilized and if it could be profitable enough to support tree plantings. Since the initial meeting, the city has developed a system by where logs from municipal tree removals are held in a small marshaling yard where consumers can pay for the urban natural resource. Funds earned are forwarded to newly developed tree planting program in the city. Last October, funds were utilized for the installation of new trees at Osolo Elementary School to replace those lost to Emerald Ash Borer damage. 

The Elkhart Environmental Center, adjacent to the marshalling yard, has hosted urban wood utilization workshops including Professor Dan Cassens, wood product specialist from Purdue. They have also hosted programs on Emerald Ash Borer management as well. They have implement the use of their own urban wood in Elkhart where ash trees were utilized to make a viewing platform on site with the cooperation of local carpenters and organizations.

Tree Worker Award

PSSA officer, Casey Johnson and Student Advisor, Lindsey Purcell

PSSA officer, Casey Johnson and Student Advisor, Lindsey Purcell

This award is presented to an individual who has significantly improved the quality of tree care, climbing techniques, and/or safety of tree care professionals. It also recognizes tree care workers who have, though their expertise and customer interaction, advanced the understanding and professionalism of arboriculture to consumers. The individual nominated must have Tree Worker Certification or be certified Arborist. The award consists of a $500 dollar gift certificate to 

This year the award was presented to the Purdue Student Society of Arboriculture for their community service work and recent achievements as a student club. During the 18th annual Tree Care Industry Association Student Career Days, the Purdue team participated in the competition in Bushnell Park in Hartford, Connecticut. The Student Career Days had 352 student participants, representing 28 colleges, universities and vocational programs across the county. The Boilermaker team took 1st place.

The Harvey Holt Continuing Education Scholarship Award

This scholarship is being made available to members of the Indiana chapter by the IAA in recognition of the many years of service and support by Dr. Holt. In dedication to his pursuit of providing the best educational opportunities to our members, we are pleased to continue this goal by making this award available to professional arborists and urban forestry professionals in Indiana.