Tucson Clean & Beautiful YARDS program receives 'Gold Leaf' award | Environment
Tucson Clean and Beautiful can add another award to their growing list, this will be the second time the organization has received the Gold Leaf Award. The first was in 2000 for El Paseo de los Arboles, a commemorative tree park partnership for restoring a one-mile segment of the Santa Cruz River.
The Gold Leaf Award is sponsored by the International Society of Arborculture/Western Chapter and was given to YARDS (Youth Achieving Resource Development Skills), a program run by Tucson Clean & Beautiful for at risk youth.
The YARDS program, now in its third year, provides selected youth on probation, an opportunity to participate in a 9 week training program. They learn about Sonoran Desert landscaping, maintenance skills, job development, and health and safety practices. Each student completing the program receives a Certificate of Achievement, landscape tools and letters of recommendation at a graduation ceremony. To date the program has graduated 50 at-risk youth. The program was developed and implemented by Joan Lionetti, who is also the Executive director of Tucson Clean & Beautiful, who worked with Dave Stadle of the Pima County Juvenile Court, CREW and many other supporters. YARDS was orignially funded by a grant and a challenge match from the Wolslager Foundation in 2010.
The program is taught by professional landscape and related discipline educators, landscape specialists, and health and safety educators from Pima County Parks and Recreation, the University of Arizona, Pima County Extension Service, REALM Environments, UA Poison Center, UA Cancer Center, Bartlett Trees and local businesses. Classes are conducted at the U of A Agriculture Center, Pima County Extension Service, Tucson Botanical Gardens and Cano Nursery.
The ISA Gold Leaf Award was presented at the ISA/Western Chapter Conference April 30-May 2 at the Asilomar Conference Center in Pacific Grove, California. Joan Lionetti attended the conference and accepted the award in recognition of all of the sponsors, partners, instructors, volunteers, donors and supporters, and students who have made the YARDS program the success it is. It continues to serve as a model for other communities, to build their programs on.
Tucson Clean & Beautiful is a nonprofit organization, incorporated in 1985 as the flagship for community based environmental volunteer efforts in the Tucson-Pima County metropolitan area. Its programs have grown to address recycling and waste reduction, urban forestry, land stewardship, and beautification. Visit www.tucsoncleanandbeautiful.org or call (520) 791-3109 for more information.
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