The award is bestowed to only one CSFS partner, cooperator or individual each year for exceptional support of, or assistance to, the agency.

ROCKY FORD, Colo. –  Phyllis Adkins, Rocky Ford’s Tree Board chairwoman and “community tree advocate extraordinaire,” has been named 2016 “Partner of the Year” by the Colorado State Forest Service for her lead role in local community forestry efforts and success in beautifying Rocky Ford through tree planting and care efforts.

 The award is bestowed to only one CSFS partner, cooperator or individual each year for exceptional support of, or assistance to, the agency. Adkins was officially recognized at the agency’s annual meeting and awards ceremony this week in Colorado Springs.

 “Phyllis is a leader by example. She hits the ground running with her enthusiasm and an ability to motivate others by hands-on example,” said Donna Davis, district forester for the CSFS La Junta District, who took a lead role in nominating Adkins. “Rocky Ford truly is a better place with a growing community forest because of her efforts.”

 Adkins has been the Rocky Ford Tree Board chair for four years and also serves as the Downtown Beautification Project Chairperson. Davis says that with the help of the tree board, Adkins improved the appearance of Rocky Ford’s main east and west entrances on Highway 50, the downtown business district on North Main Street and the Gobin’s Center/ Depot green area.

 In 2016, Adkins garnered a large tree board budget from the City of Rocky Ford, which Davis says is a “huge accomplishment” for a community of less than 4,000 residents. As a result, 16 trees were planted, three removed and at least 35 pruned within the city. She also applied for and received thousands of dollars in both Colorado Tree Coalition and Garden Club grants in 2015.

 Adkins, who last May served as the honorary marshal for the “Kicking Spring Off with a Bloom” parade at the Planting Seeds of Hope Celebration in Rocky Ford, also completed the 36-hour, CSFS-led Colorado Master Volunteer Forest Steward course in 2014. In 2016, she completed many hours of related volunteer time devoted to trees and their health. She is a Colorado Master Gardener for Otero County, is the chairman of the Rocky Ford Garden Club and is a life member of Service to Mankind.