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Silva Bolds-Whitfield Urban Forestry Award

The Silva Bolds-Whitfield monument plaza recognizes those who have contributed to the development and protection of Vancouver’s urban forest.

The highly prestigious Silva Bolds-Whitfield Award is given by the Urban Forestry Commission on a meritorious basis honoring citizens who have gone to extraordinary lengths to inspire and enrich the quality of life in Vancouver through trees.

The names of award recipients are permanently etched in stone as part of the unique fountain, adjacent to the large Sweetgum tree planted by Silva Bolds-Whitfield in 1965.

The Plaza is a living gift to our community to honor those with a vision to better our community through a healthy, vibrant urban forest.

The monument honoring the recipients is located in the Urban Forestry Plaza at 13th and Main streets.

Monument Plaza

An active citizen in Vancouver, Silva Bolds-Whitfield tirelessly supported trees within the community of Vancouver. Working with community leaders to replant downtown Vancouver after the Columbus Day Storm of 1962, Silva launched one of the most effective campaigns to bring trees back into the city. Her efforts helped to rebuild Vancouver’s urban forest.

Until her death in 1988, Silva worked tirelessly for the beautification of Vancouver. Trees, nature and gardens were a huge part of her focus as a master gardener and Vancouver Planning Commissioner. In 1965 she formed the Landscape Commission appointed by the City Council (now known as the Urban Forestry Commission), and worked to strike a balance between planting and maintaining trees.

In wanting to honor Silva Bolds-Whitfield, the Urban Forestry Commission asked the Bolds Family in 1995 to help raise funds to create a water feature. Donations from the community enabled the Urban Forestry Commission to hire sculptor Brian Goldbloom.

Silva believed that public art should be people friendly and blend with the surrounding area, not be imposed into a community. Brian Goldbloom was able to create a water feature that harmonized with the natural surroundings.

The surface of the rugged stone was chiseled away to reveal artistic urban architecture and buds of new growth. Water flows from the basalt column through divided channels suggesting branches and roots that journey to the living tree. The circle of bricks radiating from the tree represents the gift of oxygen that nature provides to mankind. There is a stone rising up out of the ground, which is a place to add the names of people in the community who have shown vision in developing the urban forest.

Honoring a woman who loved and advocated the Pacific Northwest landscape, the Silva Bolds Award is given to individuals for their exceptional contribution to the urban forest and the community.

The Plaza is a living gift to our community to honor those with a vision. The Urban Forestry Plaza is located at 13th and Main streets, downtown Vancouver.

Past Recipients
  • Don Campbell, The Columbian, 1995
  • Ed Kelly, Civic Visionary, 1997
  • Jean Norwood, Urban Forest Pioneer, 1997
  • Kelly Punteney, Renaissance Man, 1999
  • Robert L. & Elizabeth B. Avery, Community Leaders, 2002
  • Paul A. Wesseler, Make the Best Better, 2003
  • Gordon & Sylvia MacWilliams, Tree Heroes, 2010
  • Erika Johnson, Tree Steward, 2013
  • Dale Erickson, Community Builder, 2019
  • Susan Malinowski Sanders, Neighborhood Tree Champion, 2023
Community Plaza Donors

Community donor that made the plaza possible include:

  • Columbia Vista Corporation
  • Edward (Buzz), Roxie, Lori & Silva (Dicie) Bolds
  • Affectionately Eva
  • The Columbian
  • Silver Eagle Industries & The Gaussoin Family
  • Adolf & Gabriella Hertrich
  • Ed & Dollie Lynch
  • Bob & Joanne Kendall
  • Northwest National Bank
  • Carolyn Silva Chambers
  • Christensen Shipyards Limited
  • Hyde Family
  • Dick & Mary Cranger
  • Law Offices of Morse & Bratt
  • Realvest Companies Charitable Fund
  • Margaret Susan Bolds
  • First Independent Bank
  • Robert Cole
  • Susan Courtney & Dean Irvin
  • Kelly Punteney