The Arbor Day Foundation has announced today that Dr. Edward E. Louis, Jr. has been awarded the Foundation's J. Sterling Morton Award. This award recognizes an individual who has had a positive impact on the environment due to his or her lifelong commitment to tree planting and conservation. Dr. Louis will be honored with the award tomorrow (May 24) from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo, Scott Aquarium Conference Center.

Dr. Edward Louis Jr., a veterinarian and geneticist by profession, first traveled to Madagascar in 1998 as the director of the conservation genetics department at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium. Dr. Louis spent the following years studying endangered plants and animals on the island--with a focus on endangered lemur species.

In 2010, Dr. Louis established the Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership, an extension of the Henry Doorly Zoo. The Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership strives to protect and restore forests and endangered wildlife through community-based conservation and education programs.

"Dr. Louis is leading inspiring and meaningful work that is helping to restore the landscape of Madagascar," said Dan Lambe, president, Arbor Day Foundation. "His programs have created tree nurseries, provided education and steady income to Malagasy citizens, and protected endangered plants and animals on the island. We are proud to recognize Dr. Louis and the lasting impact of his work throughout Madagascar."

The Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership has helped plant more than 2.5 million trees, discovered more than two dozen animal species, supported 68 graduate students, employed 166 Malagasy people full-time and 207 part-time and engaged more than 3,000 Malagasy citizens in planting trees and restored habitat for critically endangered lemur species.

Since 1972, the Arbor Day Foundation has recognized the inspiring and life-changing work of leading environmental stewards and tree planters through the annual Arbor Day Awards. Award winners from previous years include the late Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, the United States Forest Service and Procter & Gamble.

This award winner is one of six being honored throughout the month of May for their outstanding contribution to tree planting, conservation and stewardship. More information can be found at arborday.org/awards.