PORTLAND, Ore. – Larry Aylward, editor director of Moose River Media (MRM), earned the inaugural Plant Health Writer of the Year Award at the annual conference of the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) here Thursday, May 9. (pictured right: Jose Milan, left, congratulating Aylward)

More than 100 green industry editors, marketing, public relations and industry supporters attended the Conference, which featured two days of career-building presentations and networking opportunities. 

Jose Milan, head of Bayer Environmental Science’s T&O industry, lauded Aylward’s reporting on turf-related environmental issues in Superintendent magazine, a MRM business publication. Along with a crystal plaque, Milan, on behalf of Bayer, presented Aylward with a $1,000 stipend.

In related news, Matthew McKernan, just finishing his sophomore season at Kansas State University, earned this year’s TOCA scholarship. Longtime TOCA member and Scholarship Committee Chairman Steve Trusty made the announcement and presented McKernan, a 4.0 student, with the $2,500 stipend.

Also, Project Evergreen honored long-time lawn care expert and business owner Phil Fogarty, Weed Man, Cleveland, Ohio, with its Environmental Communicator of the Year Award. 

Fogarty is one of the founders and the former president of The Ohio Lawn Care Association, and for many years spearheaded Renewal and Remembrance, the hugely successful annual Arlington National Cemetery day of service project sponsored by the Professional Landcare Network (PLANET).

Each July landscape, lawn care and tree care business owners, their employees and industry suppliers spend a day sprucing up Arlington National Cemetery. The event started as a very small event almost 20 years ago, recalled Fogarty in accepting the honor, but now attracts approximately 400 volunteers.

This year’s TOCA Conference was one of the largest in its 24-year history. The organization has already begun planning for its 25th Conference slated for May 2014 in New Orleans.