WV: Cacapon Institute’s tree canopy efforts earn national award

Mountain stream surrounded by forest with words Headwaters Award 2018 and Cacapon Institute logo
View Arbor Day Foundation’s inspiring video about Cacapon Institute Headwaters Award


CONGRATULATIONS to the Cacapon Institute, long-standing champion of trees in the watershed’s West Virginia headwaters, on receiving the Arbor Day Foundation’s inaugural Headwaters Award!

This prestigious national award celebrates innovative programs — in rural or urban areas — that support the improvement of water quality and quantity through forestry activities. The award was presented at a special celebration in Berkeley Springs, WV on April 30, 2018, coinciding with the town’s Arbor Day celebration.

For more than 30 years, Cacapon Institute has focused on protecting West Virginia’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, while also supporting forestry-related education and projects along the headwaters of the Potomac River. As a regional leader in forestry activities, Cacapon Institute uses tree planting, education and stewardship as solutions for improving water quality. They have engaged thousands of volunteers in 200 tree planting projects along the Potomac watershed using CommuniTree, the largest volunteer tree planting and stewardship program in the state. Since 2012, Cacapon Institute has planted over 6,000 trees with more than 13,000 volunteers.

Cacapon Institute staff and board members at the Arbor Day awards ceremony. (Left to right, Lon Anderson, Paul Armington, Paula Piehl, Shawn Walker, Frank Rodgers, Bob Knisely, Tanner Haid, Connor Roessler, Neil Gillies, Cheryl Lambert, and Zach Norris; Photo: Cacapon Institute)

Beyond this vital role within the state, Cacapon Institute’s Executive Director Frank Rodgers has been a steadfast contributor to the Chesapeake Bay partnership (Forestry and Education), as well as serving as the regional coordinator of the Potomac Watershed Partnership. Sally Claggett (USDA Forest Service, Chesapeake Forestry Workgroup Coordinator) shared “I really appreciate the way Frank stays on top of the latest studies and technology. You wouldn’t think of the panhandle as a hub of urban forestry, but he has tracked with Bay Program modeling efforts, i-Tree tools, and online environmental education platforms to help people in WV and throughout the Potomac learn and care about watersheds.”

Since 1972, the Arbor Day Foundation has recognized the inspiring and life-changing work of leading environmental stewards and tree planters through the annual Arbor Day Awards. Award winners from previous years include the late Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, the United States Forest Service and Enterprise Rent-A-Car. This year, Cacapon Institute is one of six award winners internationally being honored for their outstanding contribution to tree planting, conservation and stewardship. More information can be found at CelebrateArborDay.com.

Award winner stands with Sally Claggett and Rebecca Hanmer in front of flowering trees
Frank Rodgers, Executive Director of Cacapon Institute, has been a West Virginia champion of Chesapeake watershed forests, in collaboration with Sally Claggett (USDA Forest Service, on left) and Rebecca Hanmer (Chespaeake Forestry Workgroup Chair, on right) (Photo: Tanner Haid)
Group stands behind a Tree City USA banner with a large tree graphic on it.
Town of Bath (WV) Tree Board members are recognized as Tree City USA by Bob Hannah (WV Urban and Community Forestry Coordinator) and Pete Smith (Arbor Day Foundation) at awards ceremony. (Photo: Sally Claggett)