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Sean Barry
Arbor Day Foundation

Jim Hanchett
School of Public and Environmental Affairs

Last modified: Tuesday, April 23, 2013

IU Bloomington professor Burnell Fischer honored by Arbor Day Foundation

April 23, 2013

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Burnell C. Fischer, a faculty member in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University in Bloomington, is being recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation for his contribution to tree planting, conservation and stewardship.

Fischer, a SPEA clinical professor who specializes in urban and community forestry, will receive the Frederick Law Olmsted Award. Named for the renowned 19th-century landscape designer, it recognizes an individual who has had a positive impact on the environment at a state or regional level.

Burnell Fischer

Burnell C. Fischer

Print-Quality Photo

He is one of 14 individuals, organizations and companies being recognized by the foundation during annual Arbor Day Awards. This year's ceremony will take place April 27 at Lied Lodge & Conference Center at Arbor Day Farm in Nebraska City, Neb.

Fischer is an urban forestry pioneer who served as state forester and director of the Division of Forestry in the Indiana Department of Natural Resources from 1990 to 2005. Hundreds of Indiana communities developed urban forestry programs and hired professional staff as a direct result of his leadership and vision.

He was also instrumental to the growth of the Tree Campus USA program, which provides resources and recognition for colleges and universities that make tree care a priority. The Arbor Day Foundation has named IU Bloomington a Tree Campus USA five years in a row.

"I'm thrilled to be recognized. But the better news is that the award shines a very positive environmental light on Indiana," Fischer said. "While my recent work is associated mostly with urban forests, in a much broader sense this is about all forests and environmental governance issues."

Fischer, an Indiana University faculty member since 2005, teaches classes on urban forestry and conducts research on urban and community forestry practices and issues, forest resource policy, state government management and collaborative forestry. He is co-director for programs and operations of the Vincent and Elinor Ostrom Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis.

"The creativity and hard work of this year's Arbor Day Award winners enrich our public commons and inspire future generations of environmental advocates," said John Rosenow, founder and chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation. "Dr. Fischer ought to be proud to be a part of this accomplished group."

Since 1972, the Arbor Day Foundation has recognized the 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 Gov. Martin O'Malley, the United States Forest Service, Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Mary Kay Inc.

About the Arbor Day Foundation

The Arbor Day Foundation is a nonprofit conservation and education organization of 1 million members, with the mission to inspire people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees. More information can be found at or on Facebook and Twitter.

About the School of Public and Environmental Affairs

SPEA is a world leader in public and environmental affairs and is the largest school of public administration and public policy in the United States. In the 2012 "Best Graduate Schools" by U.S. News & World Report, SPEA ranks second and is the nation's highest-ranked professional graduate program in public affairs at a public institution. Four of its specialty programs are ranked in the top-five listings, including nonprofit management, which ranked first. SPEA's doctoral programs in public affairs and public policy are ranked by the National Academy of Science as among the best in the country.