Milliken was recently honored for “outstanding contributions to urban forestry” by the Georgia Forestry Commission. The flooring maker helped establish the Making the Shade program, which is committed to planting shade trees near elementary school playgrounds to help shield children from high temperatures.

“Adding shade trees addresses the unrecognized playground hazards of hot surfaces and air quality for elementary schools,” said David Caples, president of Milliken Floor Covering Division, who accepted the award for the company. “Milliken supports safety and improved air quality, indoors and out through green products and community stewardship.”

The program is the result of a collaboration between the Georgia Forestry Commission and Milliken. According to the Georgia Forestry Commission’s Larry Morris, the Making the Shade program has been extremely successful.

“The Making the Shade pilot program started with three schools, including Franklin Forest Elementary in LaGrange, and is now rapidly spreading across the state using similar public-private partnership models,” he said.  The Special Partnership Award presented to Milliken comprises a framed painting of the September Elm growing in the historic Myrtle Hill Cemetery in Rome, Ga. The limited edition print was taken from original artwork commissioned by the Georgia Urban Forest Council. The artist, Barry Nehr, is retired from the USDA Forest Service.