SUNY Morrisville professor and students receive arborist awards

Published date
11 a.m.

There’s no mistaking Rebecca Hargrave’s love for arboriculture and all things trees.

The SUNY Morrisville professor’s enthusiasm toward the field and her innovative, hands-on learning have spirited students and spread to a campus and community. 

Most recently, Hargrave, associate professor of environmental science & arboriculture, received the 2022 Research & Education Award from the New York State Arborists, ISA Chapter, in recognition of the work she has done on important research and education to foster improvement in the arboricultural industry.

Her work is evidenced in many areas. On campus, she actively promotes the fields of arboriculture and urban forestry to her students and also participates in public tree care education and research into the needs of urban forestry program management in New York State.

Her dedication has branched out to students, who recently received New York State Arborists Educational Awards: 

•    Darren Johnson, environmental conservation science, of South New Berlin

•    Jerry Klubek, environmental & natural resources management, of Eden 

•    Camberly VanValkenburg, environmental & natural resources management, of Trout Creek 

Hargrave, of Norwich, joined the SUNY Morrisville faculty in 2012. Throughout her tenure she has taught numerous courses, most recently in arboriculture, dendrology, recreation management, natural resources measurements, and forest protection, in addition to leading the environmental sciences internship program.

“Many students come to Morrisville looking for a career working with the environment,” Hargrave said. “I have the pleasure of introducing them to arboriculture and sharing my passion for trees. To my delight, many of them fall in love with it! There are outstanding opportunities in arboriculture and natural resources right now. It makes my heart happy to know so many of our graduates have successful careers in tree care and forestry and will carry on the stewardship of trees.” 

The college has benefited from her expertise managing the college’s Arboretum, a three-acre preserve of native and ornamental tree and shrub species that serves as a living learning laboratory for students and the Callahan Brook Nature Trail, one-and-a-half miles of marked, self-guided trails that explore the streamside, wet meadows, forests and fields close to campus.

During her tenure, Hargrave has championed for numerous grants to inventory trees on campus and collect data on tree populations and has significantly enhanced the college’s own collection of trees, leading to nine consecutive Tree Campus USA® recognitions by the Arbor Day Foundation.

Her dedication to educating students is evidenced in her use of innovative teaching techniques and relevant new technologies, as well as hands-on field experiences to ensure student success. 

Active in the industry, Hargrave serves in many professional capacities including as a member of the New York State Urban Forestry Council, International Society of Arboriculture and the New York State Arborists. Additionally, she was co-coordinator of the NYS 4-H Forestry Program and its annual competition. She has been an ISA Certified Arborist since 2001 and also is Tree Risk Assessment Qualified.

Her involvement in her local community includes serving as chair of the City of Norwich Street Tree Committee and as past board chair. She also serves on the committee for the Chenango United Way. 

Throughout her career, Hargrave has received many accolades, including the Environmental/Forestry Educator Award from the New York Society of American Foresters and the 2019-2020 SUNY Morrisville Distinguished Faculty Award.

Hargrave received a Master of Science degree in forest science with an urban forestry emphasis from the University of Minnesota and a Bachelor of Science degree in forest science - urban forestry option from Pennsylvania State University. She currently pursuing a Ph.D. in urban forestry from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. 


A native of Vestal, Hargrave and her husband live in Norwich with their two sons.