Dr. Kim Coder, professor of tree biology and community forestry in the Warnell School, has been chosen as the 2018 recipient of the Walter Barnard Hill Fellow Award.
The Walter Barnard Hill Fellow Award for Distinguished Achievement in Public Service and Outreach (Hill Fellow Award) is UGA’s highest award in public service and outreach, and is comparable to a distinguished professorship. It recognizes sustained, distinguished, and superb achievements in university public service and outreach, and contributions to improving the quality of life in Georgia or elsewhere. The selection committee considers long-term achievements, special projects having extraordinary impact, and collaborative efforts. The creativity, impact, and superb nature of a Hill Fellow’s achievements are of a magnitude that greatly exceeds the normal accomplishments of a productive faculty member. Similar to the Hill Award recipients, the awardee receives a supplementary fund for use in the advancement of his or her program of work, and also will receive a medallion and a framed certificate, to be presented at the Annual Public Service and Outreach Meeting and Awards Luncheon.
Like the Hill Award, the Hill Fellow Award is named in honor of Chancellor Walter Barnard Hill, who led the University of Georgia from 1899 until his death in 1905. His desire for more university involvement in the state of Georgia and his application of these goals and ideas helped pave the way for a modern public service oriented university.
Since coming to UGA in 1985, Dr. Coder has been recognized internationally for taking complex academic research materials and making them understandable to a lay audience. His work has helped arborists, urban foresters, tree health care providers and property owners take better care of their trees.
Making the complex science behind the health and structure of trees accessible has been the crux of Coder’s work. A former world president of the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), Coder helped pull together the organization’s Arborist Certification Program, which has certified over 35,000 arborists. He’s won the highest international awards from ISA and the Arbor Day Foundation, in addition to having an award of excellence named after him by the Georgia Arborist Association. He won the Hill Award, a prerequisite for all Hill Fellows, in 2007.
Coder is a prolific writer and presenter, who has written nearly 300 publications and 50 manuals and workbooks over the last decade. He delivers presentations around the world, gathering research he pulls from journals into practical applications for arborists, tree-care professionals and property owners.
These articles range from seemingly simple concepts such as legally defining what a tree is to more technical details, like using a five-step method to calculate how long until a tree planting goes dry and needs water.
Since the start of his career, Coder has enjoyed helping people understand science. Always searching for the next innovation, he’s now focused on how to better translate the avalanche of scientific studies on trees into comprehensible formats. He has written everything from manuals for arborists to short newspaper articles for homeowners. He also takes presentations he’s given at conferences or to professional groups and turns them into short publications.
“Of all of my professors from UGA, Dr. Coder had one of the greatest impacts in my career and
professional life,” said Luana Vargas, program director, Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona. “More than 12 years after my graduation, I still remember teachings from Dr. Coder and use them in the outreach materials I create for green industry professionals and the general public.”