Tree and Shade summit receives environmental award

September 26, 2011

Shade – we all crave it during sun-scorched days, and the shade that trees provide creates an escape from the heat. So where are all the trees?

The Sustainable Cities Network at Arizona State University’s Global Institute of Sustainability is aware of this need for more trees in our urban world. Partnering with the cities of Glendale, Mesa, and Phoenix, the Network hosted the Valley’s first Regional Tree and Shade Summit on March 9, in Phoenix. The summit brought together public officials, municipal staff, nonprofit organizations, and professional associations to identify strategies for increasing tree and shade and green infrastructure, and creating a healthier, more livable and prosperous Arizona. Download Full Image

On Sept. 17, the Regional Tree and Shade Summit received an Award of Merit at Valley Forward’s annual Environmental Excellence Awards program in the Environmental Education/Communication: Public Sector category. The awards recognize outstanding environmental achievement and projects that promote environmental initiatives.

Funded by the State of Arizona Forestry Division and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, the Regional Tree and Shade Summit stressed the importance of collaboration in cultivating green infrastructure. By bringing together those who have the power and skills to address the problem, the Summit set out to increase awareness about tree and shade issues, and promote practices to maintain trees and shade.

Local and national experts spoke on the importance of coordinating efforts to increase green infrastructure in Arizona. They addressed the importance of increasing the tree canopy, overcoming obstacles with local codes, increasing the quality of life in neighborhoods, reducing water consumption, and promoting sustainable landscape design and maintenance. These topics inspired lively discussions and diverse perspectives of how to address these challenges.

The City of Phoenix’s Shade Phoenix 2030 plan was presented in order to provide attendees with a working model that could be built upon for future success in expanding the region’s urban forest. By providing community leaders with the blueprints for the City of Phoenix’s plans, these communities can build and adapt their own plans to increase urban forestry in their cities.

Scholarships were awarded to eight arborists in valley cities to protect the future of our urban forests, increasing the number of certified arborists working for government agencies. This part of the program is meant to  help minimize long-term costs associated with tree planting and maintenance, contribute to water conservation efforts, aid in educating additional city staff on the importance of green infrastructure, and promote and expand regional urban forestry efforts.

In order to continue the success of the Summit, ASU’s Sustainable Cities Network is hosting Green Infrastructure Workgroup meetings. These meetings aim to continue discussions, networking, and collaboration in order to increase awareness and understanding of green infrastructure.

The award-winning Summit was held in downtown Phoenix at the Civic Space Park, providing a location that exemplifies some of the sustainable techniques featured during the Summit. Participants were given a tour of the park and educated on how it is possible to blend trees and landscape to create sustainable public spaces.

Michelle Schwartz

Senior Manager, Marketing and Communications, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability


Alumni Association holds 'What's On Your Plate?' contest for Sun Devils nationwide

September 26, 2011

SPARKY, SUNDVL, DVL4LF, ASUONE, AZST8T, UDEVL. Sun Devil fans across the county have been displaying their ASU pride on license plates for years. Now the ASU Alumni Association wants those same ASU fans to participate in the "What’s On Your Plate?" contest, rewarding the most creative personalized license plate with an ASU theme.

The contest will have two categories: one for those in Arizona who have an official ASU collegiate plate, and a second category for Sun Devils with an ASU-themed personalized plate living anywhere in the country. The first place winners of the Arizona version of the "What’s On Your Plate?" contest will receive two tickets to a suite in Sun Devil Stadium to watch the Duel in the Desert as the Sun Devils take on their UofA rivals on Nov. 19, as well as a Sparky Car Kit filled with ASU logo items for a vehicle. Winners of the ASU-themed license plate contest will win a $100 gas gift card and a Sparky Car Kit. The first two runners up in each category will receive a Sparky Car Kit. license plate holders Download Full Image

Beginning Sept. 26, ASU fans can enter the "What’s On Your Plate?" contest by sending photos to The contest will run through Oct. 29, the day of ASU Homecoming 2011. Then from Nov. 1 to 7, Sun Devil fans will be able to cast their vote for their favorite plate in each of the two categories. Winners will be announced on Nov. 14 during Beat UofA week.

Since ASU rolled out its newly redesigned all-gold license plate last year, sales increased 30 percent with more than 14,000 Sparky plates on Arizona roads. The redesigned plate also allows for six character customization, up from five in the previous design, to offer the ultimate display of personal ASU pride.

Christine K. Wilkinson, president of the ASU Alumni Association, explained that $17 of every $25 charged by the state for the license plate is allocated to the university’s Medallion Scholarship fund. The Medallion Scholarship program gives students who are Arizona residents financial support as well as the opportunity to foster their personal development and leadership skills while attending ASU.

“ASU has a tremendous base of alumni and supporters here in our state, and every Sparky plate on the road generates funding for a scholarship program specifically for Arizona students,” said Wilkinson. “We hope many Sun Devil fans show us their creativity and school support by participating in this contest.”

Hundreds of ASU Medallion Scholarship recipients have benefitted from the funds generated by proceeds from the Sparky license plate since it first hit Arizona roadways in 1989. The current Medallion Scholarship program is comprised of 103 current ASU students majoring in fields that include business, engineering and liberal arts, among many others. Twenty-three of those students will graduate in May 2012.

Sun Devil fans purchasing a Sparky plate will be charged an annual special plate fee of $25 with a $3 postage fee and an annual renewal charge of $25. Those wanting a customized license plate will be charged an additional $25 personalization fee.

For more information or to order a Sparky license plate, visit or contact the Motor Vehicle Division from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday by calling 602-255-0072 (Phoenix), 520-629-9808 (Tucson) or 800-251-5866 (throughout Arizona). Individuals with an existing Sparky license plate may replace it with one featuring the new design for a $5 exchange fee by visiting a local Motor Vehicle Division office.