Campus News

University of Georgia professor wins highest award from Arbor Day Foundation

Kim Coder

Athens, Ga. – University of Georgia professor Kim Coder has been honored with a national award from the Arbor Day Foundation, winning the organization’s highest prize for dedicating his career to arboriculture, tree health education and conservation.

Coder is an internationally renowned tree health expert and recognized as one of the “founding fathers” of best practices key to the field of arboriculture. He will receive the Morton Award, the Arbor Day Foundation’s highest honor that recognizes an individual who has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to planting trees and conservation at both the national and international level. Previous recipients of this award include the late Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai.

Coder, who has lectured on the importance of tree health from rural Georgia communities to international conferences in Europe, said the award was a “wonderful surprise.”

The Arbor Day Foundation said Coder’s “unique ability to effectively engage audiences with his knowledge, passion and visionary leadership” was one of the reasons he was chosen for the Morton Award.

“This is a great honor, and represents a continuing responsibility to provide the best tree science education to individuals and communities,” Coder said.

Coder, who has been with the UGA Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources since 1985, has a long career focusing on tree health and biology, community forestry, arboriculture, urban forest ecology and cultural and psychological connection to trees.

In the past three decades, he has received numerous state-wide, national and international awards and recognitions for his career-long dedication to promoting tree health and conservation, including three of the highest competitive, peer-selected world awards from the International Society of Arboriculture, the largest professional group of urban and community foresters in the world.

He has served at many levels of state, national and world leadership in arboriculture and community forestry, including on the National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Committee, which advises the USDA Secretary of Agriculture. Coder has been elected world president of the International Society of Arboriculture and is one of the founding members of the Georgia Urban Forest Council.

He has published more than 500 papers on applied tree biology, tree health care and community forestry, and is a noted international speaker because of his ability to translate research findings into applied tree health care models, trainings and assessments.

Coder will receive the honor at the annual Arbor Day Awards. The 2014 ceremony is scheduled for April 26 at the Lied Lodge and Conference Center at Arbor Day Farm in Nebraska City, Neb. The foundation plans to recognize 12 other individuals, organizations and companies at the ceremony for different award categories.

The Arbor Day Foundation is a million-member nonprofit conservation and education organization whose mission is to inspire people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees. For more information, see

For more information on the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, see