Wal-Mart Accepts National Arbor Day Award of Excellence for Building With Trees Program

Bentonville, Ark.  September 20, 2005.   Wal-Mart took home the coveted Award of Excellence for the National Arbor Day Building With Trees Program last night at the Arbor Day Foundation’s Building for Greener Communities National Conference in Nebraska City, Nebraska.   Don Moseley, director of experimental projects for Wal-Mart, accepted the Award of Excellence in the nonresidential category for Wal-Mart’s project that relocated a 4.7 acre wetland in Oldsmar, Florida. 
 
“We’re pleased to recognize Wal-Mart for the commitment and ingenuity in making this possible,” said John Rosenow, president of The National Arbor Day Foundation. “Their effort represents the spirit of Building With Trees and shows just how much can be done when people are committed to saving trees during construction.”A jury of development industry and urban forestry professionals selected the award winners. Criteria included: creativity and attention to protecting trees during planning, design and construction; planting and providing for long-term tree care; demonstrating a commitment to tree protection by having a certified tree-care professional on the development team; taking inventory of existing trees and using information to help preserve trees; and adherence to tree protection goals throughout the construction process.

A diverse team of experts was assembled to study the site, and create and implement a scientifically sound plan. Wal-Mart brought in arborists who are experts in plant physiology and soil science, along with civil engineers, urban foresters, biologists, landscape architects, wetland experts, hydrologists, tree physiologists, geo-technologists, contractors, wildlife experts, and botanists all to help ensure the project’s viability. “Assembling a team with such a unique level of knowledge and expertise, allowed this project to overcome many obstacles and be an extremely successful one,” says Dave Sims, ASLA, Landscape Architect with Kimley-Horn and Associates.

Extensive surveying and planning was done before the site was laid out, resulting in a plan that called for an entire wetland to be transplanted using a “pie wedge” relocation process. “The goal was to put everything back exactly the way we found it. Same elevation, same water control level, same plants, same declination, everything the same way Mother Nature created it,” says Moseley.

However, some trees were as tall as 80 feet with root balls weighing more than 350,000 pounds. Special equipment was designed for this effort. Six different types and sizes of tree spades, cranes, backhoes, trackhoes, dozers, loaders, dump trucks, cherry pickers, bobcats, and fork lifts were used to make this project a reality. Most equipment was modified to perform jobs that they were not originally designed for and welders were on site at all times to make last-minute modifications to get the job done.

Daily inventories were taken to chart growth and monitor the health of the various trees and the team takes special pride in the 98% survival rate of the wetland. “We embraced an unprecedented opportunity of practicing stewardship, emboldened by a challenge laid down by my father,” recalls Chris Clark, Vice President of Steve Clark & Associates Inc. “We are writing history here boys and girls, he would say, don’t screw up. So, with a sense of ownership in history we smiled and dug in,” says Clark. “We did the right thing when no one was watching, that’s true integrity. We did not have to do this, but we did.”

“Wal-Mart and everyone knew they had completed something extraordinary that had never been attempted before on this scale,” says Moseley. “Wal-Mart and our partners moved an entire ecosystem. Yes, to make way for a new store, but at the same time to make way for an ecosystem to thrive undisturbed, proving that environmental stewardship and smart growth can go hand-in-hand.”

The Awards of Excellence will be presented to developers later this year at the Arbor Day Foundation’s Building for Greener Communities National Conference, to be held Sept. 19-21 at Arbor Day Farm in Nebraska City, Nebraska. The conference highlights the awards presentation and provides a national forum to discuss issues of tree protection during land development and construction. “We’re pleased to recognize Wal-Mart for the commitment and ingenuity in making this possible,” said John Rosenow, president of The National Arbor Day Foundation. “Their effort represents the spirit of Building With Trees and shows just how much can be done when people are committed to saving trees during construction.”

To learn more about the process from start to finish, including before and after photos, download the press kit or watch a documentary video at www.walmartfacts.com

A free booklet on the Building With Trees recognition program is also available by calling the Foundation, by visiting www.arborday.org, or by writing: The National Arbor Day Foundation, 100 Arbor Avenue, Nebraska City, NE 68410. The Arbor Day Foundation is a nonprofit, environmental education organization that inspires people to plant, nurture, and celebrate trees.

About Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. operates Wal-Mart Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and SAM’S CLUB locations in the United States. Internationally, the company operates in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Puerto Rico, South Korea and the United Kingdom. The company’s securities are listed on the New York and Pacific stock exchanges under the symbol WMT. More information about Wal-Mart can be found by visiting www.walmartfacts.com. Online merchandise sales are available at www.walmart.com.

 

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