Kim Todd, an associate professor of agronomy and horticulture, was honored April 26 with the Lauritzen Gardens Arborvitae Award for her efforts to nurture a greener Nebraska through education and cultivation.
In celebration of Arbor Day each year, Lauritzen Gardens honors a group or citizen who has made an exceptional contribution to tree planting, tree education and/or community greening in Omaha and the region.
John Newman, executive director of Lauritzen Gardens, gave a welcome and talked about the meaning of Arbor Day and its history, especially in Nebraska. The celebration also included musical selections by 6th grade students from Saint Cecilia Cathedral School.
Spencer Crews, executive director emeritus of Lauritzen Gardens, described Todd as a landscape architect, educator, green industry leader, lover of native plants and host of Backyard Farmer.
Todd’s friends, family, colleagues, and former students, along with members of the Backyard Farmer family, Lauritzen Gardens board members and past recipients were in attendance.
“Kim Todd has had a tremendous impact across Nebraska, training and inspiring university students (including some current Lauritzen Gardens employees), green industry professionals and gardeners of all kinds,” said Newman. Adding, “We are extremely pleased to honor Kim with the 2019 Arborvitae Award.”
Todd has been an associate professor and extension landscape specialist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln since 2002. She came to the university in 1978 after graduating from Iowa State University with a degree in landscape architecture. In addition to being a faculty member, Todd has served the university as campus landscape architect and assistant to the Chancellor for community affairs and planning. She has received numerous teaching, leadership and program excellence awards.
Her contributions extend well beyond the university. Todd has been actively involved in the green industry over the years, serving on the board of directors for the Nebraska Nursery and Landscape Association, including a term as president. She has provided leadership to other organizations as well, including the Nebraska Capitol Environs Committee, the Nebraska Board of Landscape Architects, and the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum.
But what she is probably best known for is her role as the host of Backyard Farmer, NET’s immensely popular regional gardening show which is the longest running, non-syndicated, public television program in the nation.
During the ceremony Todd helped plant a Table Rock sugar maple tree (Acer saccharum) near the Founders’ Garden with Victoria Schoell-Schafer, horticulture director of Lauritzen Gardens. Todd selected the variety due to its Nebraska origins and gorgeous fall color.
A premier botanical center and an urban oasis, Lauritzen Gardens is situated on 100 acres of lush grounds in Omaha. The gardens invite guests to immerse themselves in the beauty of the Nebraska landscape and offers a diverse palette of plant life combined with fine art, architectural components, water features, educational programs, displays and events. The grounds change with the seasons and are open year-round for exploration and enjoyment.
Fran Benne | Agronomy and Horticulture