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Guelph Urban Forest Friends presents Henry Kock Tree Stewardship Award

Kiran Bhattarai is this year's winner of the award that recognizes a citizen who has made a sustained commitment to the stewardship of Guelph’s trees

As temperatures drop and leaves begin to take on their fall colours, September is the month for celebrating our trees. Many tree-related events and activities ( are planned for Guelph especially during National Forest Week (September 17-23).

GUFF (Guelph Urban Forest Friends) got an early start on the celebrations when it announced that Kiran Bhattarai from OPIRG (Ontario Public Interest Research Group) is the 2023 recipient of the Henry Kock Stewardship Award. The award, which was presented to Kiran at the Arboretum’s very successful Arb Expo on September 9, recognizes a citizen who has made a sustained commitment to the stewardship of Guelph’s trees. 

Kiran was nominated for the award by Omorowa Eguakun a colleague at OPIRG where she has for over a decade led a project to re-naturalize the land along the banks of the Speed River. Speaking at the presentation, Omorowa described how Kiran has organized workshops and events that engage others, both youth and adults, to care for the land by planting trees, shrubs and other native plants. Kiran has built relationships with schools, neighbourhood and other groups and inspired them to continue planting and caring for the plantings over the years. In collaboration with many volunteers she engaged in her projects, Kiran has helped to build ecosystems in which our urban forest trees can thrive. 

Prior to his untimely passing in 2005, Henry Kock was dedicated to growing, protecting and advocating for trees, forests and the natural environment. He was cherished for his wisdom, integrity and mentorship. Each year, the Henry Kock Award honours another member of our community who embodies these characteristics in their stewardship of our trees.



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