Richard W. Harris Urban Horticulture Scholarship

In 2013, The Britton Fund launched the Richard W. Harris Urban Horticulture Scholarship program at the University of California, Davis, with a forward-looking vision to empower the next generation of professionals. As a result, the future of 25 aspiring students specializing in Environmental Horticulture and Urban Forestry has been significantly shaped by the scholarships they’ve received.

Recent Student Scholar Recipients

The Britton Fund established an endowed student scholarship program with a generous gift of $25,000 to the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of California, Davis. This scholarship is named in honor of the late Professor Richard W. Harris, a prominent leader in the science and practice of arboriculture who taught at UC Davis for well over 30 years.

The scholarship is awarded to undergraduate students who major in Environmental Horticulture and Urban Forestry. Recipients are invited to events hosted by the WCISA and The Britton Fund to meet and interact with tree care professionals throughout the west.

Thanks to the generous support of our donors, The Britton Fund is proud to make an annual contribution to the program, matched by the WCISA, to ensure the scholarship’s growth and success.

Congratulations to Seona Sherman, our 2023-2024 scholarship recipient from the Department of Environmental Horticulture and Urban Forestry, UC Davis.  Seona’s hometown is Redwood City, California.

When did you first know you wanted to attend UC Davis? What made UC Davis stand out?

I chose UC Davis because of its astounding College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Chinese program and its focus on incorporating sustainability into urban life.

What are your goals for the future after you graduate? Where do you see yourself working in five years?

Currently, I aim to work as either a plant geneticist or a youth program director for a national park.

How has this scholarship had an impact on you?

I would not be where I am today without the financial comfort of affording my first two years of college. I can afford this whole year without relying on any loans. This would not have been possible without this scholarship’s contribution.

What do you love to do when you aren’t focusing on academics?

I love to host craft nights for my friends on weekends, volunteer as a member of the Prytanean Women’s Honor Society, and write my own children’s books!

“We are so proud to encourage student scholars through the Richard W. Harris Urban Horticulture Scholarship Program. By making a donation to The Britton Fund you support important science-based research and educational opportunities for tree care professionals working in the field and in the classroom.” Doug Anderson, President, The Britton Fund

For more information about the Richard W. Harris Urban Horticulture Scholarship, its application process and awarding timeline, please contact UC Davis directly. 

About Dr. Richard W. Harris


Arborists from around the world remember Dr. Richard W. Harris as a distinguished faculty member at the University of California, Davis where he worked in the Environmental Horticulture Department from 1950 – 1986 and was awarded the honor of Emeritus Professor. 

Dr. Harris was dedicated to promoting the professional practice of arboriculture and fostering a greater worldwide awareness of the benefits of trees. He served as president of the WCISA in 1969 and in the prestigious role of president for the International Society of Arboriculture in 1984. He provided leadership as the director of the Parks and Recreation Administrators Institute from 1960-84. And he was the author of Arboriculture – The Integrated Management of Landscape Trees, Shrubs and Vines, first published in 1983 and now in its 4th edition. Dr. Harris was one of the founders of the California Tree Failure Report Program.

In a time when most arborists focused on pruning for aesthetic reasons, Dr. Harris expanded on his early training and research in pomology to teach students how to prune young trees to enhance structure. Working with UC Davis engineers, he tackled the problem of staking and trunk development, demonstrating that placing the stake next to the trunk causes the trunk to grow away from the stake. Representing the International Society of Arboriculture, Dick served on the Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers and was a contributing author to the 8th edition of the Guide for Plant Appraisal, and CTLA Chair for the 9th edition.

Well recognized for establishing educational and industry standards in the tree care profession, Dr. Harris was also known as devoted husband and father as well as a patient mentor to students and arborists. To call him a gentleman would not do him justice. He had a respectful, thoughtful manner that complimented his knowledge and curiosity.

“Plants, particularly trees, are an important part of our lives – around homes, schools, shopping centers, and places of work, along street and highways, in the central city, parks, and other landscaped areas. Trees have been held in high esteem since earliest times.”   Dr. Richard W. Harris