In early October, the 25 participants in America in Bloom for 2009 were honored for their beautification efforts at the AIB Symposium in Hershey, Pa. In addition to the community awards, the John R. Holmes III Community Champion Award  was given for the first time to Rick Webb of Logan, Ohio, who worked to beautify the town even before it became involved with AIB —and he has led the effort ever since.
"Rick's major attribute is his endless energy and enthusiasm," read one nomination submission. "He is Logan's Energizer Bunny."
Webb serves on Logan's chamber board, tourism board, tree commission, is president of the Logan Town Center and attends city council meetings. The community has honored him independently with the Barton Holl Citizenship Award, which was created to celebrate lifetime achievements in community service. Webb also has spoken to several other towns about the benefits of the AIB program and, according to another nomination, is always happy to share news of Logan's progress thanks to the program.
“The selection committee had an extremely difficult decision, said Laura Kunkle, AIB's executive director. "Each of the more than 20 nominees demonstrates a vision and selfless commitment to moving their community forward.”
During the symposium, population awards went to six communities:
- 4,000 and less: Echo, Ore.
- 4,001 - 10,000: Charles City, Iowa
- 10,001 - 20,000: River Falls, Wis.
- 20,001 - 50,000: Collierville, Tenn.
- 50,001 - 100,000: Lompoc Valley, Calif.
- More than 100,000: Milwaukee, Wis.
America in Bloom also honored eight communities with criteria awards:
- Proven Winners Landscaped Areas Criteria Award: Collierville, Tenn.
- American Horticultural Society Community Involvement Criteria Award: Aurora, Ind.
- Gardens Alive! Environmental Awareness Criteria Award: Fayetteville, Ark.
- Ball Horticultural Company Criteria Award for Floral Displays: Greendale, Ind.
- Meister Media Worldwide Heritage Preservation Criteria Award: Rising Sun, Ind.
- America in Bloom Turf and Groundcover Areas Criteria Award: Michigan City, Ind.
- J Frank Schmidt & Son Company Urban Forestry Criteria Award: Milwaukee, Wis.
- America in Bloom Tidiness Criteria Award: Arroyo Grande, Calif.
For more information on the awards and to register your community for next year, visit America in Bloom's website .