Committee seeks Oregon notable tree advocate
Oregon Travel Experience (OTE) and the Oregon Heritage Tree Committee are seeking nominations for the annual Maynard Drawson Memorial Award. (The award nomination form is located below in the “Submit your nominations” section of this article.)The second annual award will honor an individual (or group) who has championed Oregon’s trees with the same fervor and success as Maynard Charles Drawson (1925 – 2012).
Maynard Drawson is considered the founder of Oregon’s statewide Heritage Tree Program. A native Oregonian and Portlander, he first followed his father’s professional footsteps as a barber.
Somewhat early on in his career, Drawson settled in Salem and embarked on a personal and passionate journey—chronicling the great Oregon outdoors. As an avid fisherman, history-buff and writer, he authored a five volume series entitled “Treasures of the Oregon Country.”
Drawson’s natural tendencies towards exploration led him deeper into Oregon’s wild where he connected with other “big tree” aficionados. His hiking trips into Oregon’s deep forests culminated in several big tree nominations to (and their acceptance into) the National Big Tree Registry.
As Drawson’s relationship with trees and tree preservation matured, he collaborated with state and federal officials to conserve a special group of Douglas and western hemlock trees. The Polk County preserve was named “Valley of the Giants”—and stands as a magnificent lasting reminder of the old growth timber that once adorned the Oregon Coast Range.
Drawson advocated for a statewide heritage program that would weave historic events, places, and people together—connecting Oregonians to their much loved and significant trees. His enthusiasm and perseverance were rewarded when he presented his idea to the Oregon Travel Information Council and they agreed to manage a statewide program. The Council delegated program administration of the Oregon Heritage Tree Committee to its semi-independent state agency (OTE) and modeled the criteria on OTE’s Oregon Historical Marker Program.
After Drawson passed away in 2012 the Heritage Tree Committee sought new ways to encourage Oregonians in preserving and supporting our state’s historically significant trees. The first Maynard Drawson Memorial Award was presented in April 2015 during a public ceremony at the Oregon Department of Forestry. Brian French (pictured in the above photo with Heritage Tree Committee member Paul Ries), co-founder of Oregon’s Ascending the Giants, was the first honoree to receive the new award.
Submit your nominations until January 2016
The deadline for award nominations is January 29, 2016. Download a copy of the award nomination form (same as 2015 application) in PDF format. The Oregon Heritage Tree Program Committee will review nominees and make their decision sometime in March. The winner will be introduced at the Statewide Heritage Tree Dedication in April 2016. A wood plaque crafted from a fallen former heritage tree will be presented to the winner, noting their contributions to Oregon history and heritage.
Please contact the Oregon Heritage Tree Program Administrator Annie von Domitz for more information. Telephone 503-373-0864 or email your nomination inquiries to OTE.