WENATCHEE, Wash. — Washington State University Extension educator Tim Smith has been named Apple Citizen of the Year by the tree fruit industry of north central Washington. He was presented with the award within a week of receiving the prestigious Sahlin Faculty Excellence Award for Outreach and Engagement from WSU for his dedication to helping Washington growers.
“Both of the awards were very much appreciated, heartwarming,” Smith said. “One award on top of the other was almost overwhelming.”
Smith earned a bachelor’s degree, cum laude, in biology from Eastern Oregon University and a master’s degree, magna cum laude, in plant pathology from WSU. He began his career as extension agent in Grant and Adams counties from 1975 to 1982 and has been an extension education for Chelan, Douglas and Okanogan counties since. Smith has earned recognition for his work on fireblight, replant disease and cherry fruit fly control.
“I think there’d be a lot of growers in this area who would not be in business without [Smith’s] education, research and outreach efforts,” said Kirk Mayer, manager of the Washington Growers Clearing House Association. “He’s saved the industry millions of dollars.”
Apple Blossom Queen Margaret Robinson presented the award to Smith during a recent reception. “I was flabbergasted,” Smith said. “I had no idea why the Apple Blossom Queen was walking into the room. I thought we were celebrating the faculty excellence award I had received, but it was a surprise.” Smith will ride in the Washington State Apple Blossom Festival Grand Parade on May 1.
The Apple Citizen of the Year Award began in 1981 to honor the roots of Wenatchee’s Apple Blossom Festival and the leaders that helped the district claim the title of “Apple Capital of the World”. The late Grady Auvil was the first recipient in 1981.
“The plaque has 30 names on it, including mine,” Smith said. “Many of the names on there are people that I am honored to be associated with.”
NOTE: Holly Luka, Marketing, News, and Educational Communications intern, wrote this release.