Dr. Alden (Denny) Townsend received the Luther Burbank Award from the American Horticultural Society (AHS) on April 2, 2004. This national award is given for "recognition of extraordinary achievement in plant breeding." The AHS magazine, The American Gardener, described in its March-April 2004 issue the reasons for the award: "Alden M. Townsend's research has emphasized the breeding and physiological genetics of urban trees. His efforts as a research geneticist with the Floral and Nursery Plants Research Unit of the U.S. National Arboretum (USDA-ARS) have led to the introduction of 15 new elm and maple cultivars for the urban landscape. The most notable of these cultivars are Ulmus americana 'Valley Forge' and 'New Harmony' - two Dutch elm-disease resistant selections. Townsend has also released six insect-tolerant red maple (Acer rubrum) cultivars, many with outstanding fall color."
Later in April Dr. Townsend received another significant honor. He received an Outstanding Alumnus Award from the School of Forest Resources, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania. The award was given in recognition of Dr. Townsend's accomplishment in increasing disease and insect tolerance in elms and maples; for his scientific and popular publications; for the release of nine Dutch elm disease-tolerant elm cultivars and six insect-tolerant red maple cultivars; and for his involvement with the Metropolitan Tree Improvement Alliance (METRIA), the International Society of Arboriculture, the North Central Tree Improvement Conference, and the Save the Elms Task Force of Washington, D.C. Townsend received a large award plaque that included a beautiful photograph of American elms lining the mall on the Penn State campus where many 'Valley Forge' elms have been planted.
Dr. Townsend is one of 15 research scientists in the Floral and Nursery Plants Research Unit of the U.S. National Arboretum. For more information about this Unit click here; and, to see a short list of some of the many accomplishments of the staff, click here.