The Utility Arborist Nelsen Money Scholarship Program

The Utility Arborist Nelsen Money Scholarship Program, established by the Utility Arborist Association (UAA), provides various financial opportunities in support of college students through scholarships to foster a greater appreciation of the utility arboriculture industry.


Scholarship Awards

Please review the two options below, and complete only one application based on your qualifications and needs.

Applications will be accepted February 15th through April 15th, 2023. 

Option 1

Scholarship Award of $2500.00

Applicants must be enrolled in a major, minor, option, or program related to the practice of arboriculture, forestry/urban forestry and/or utility vegetation management at an accredited college or university.

Scholarship award amount will be $2,500. The award is non-renewable but can be applied for annually. All awards will be paid directly to the educational institution attended by the recipient after required documentation has been submitted. Awards may only be applied to tuition expense, and applicants may not request scholarships greater than the anticipated amount of their tuition expense for the academic year in which the scholarship will be paid.

All the following criteria must be met to qualify:

  • Currently enrolled in a major, minor, option, or program of utility line clearance, utility vegetation management, arboriculture, forestry, urban forestry, or related field at an accredited college or university.
  • Returning to the second year of a two-year program or at least the Sophomore year of a four-year program at an accredited college or university
  • 3.0 GPA minimum
  • Current student member of the UAA

Option 2

Scholarship Award of $1200.00

Applicants of this scholarship, must recently have graduated in the last 4 years with a major, minor, option, or program related to the practice of arboriculture, forestry/urban forestry and/or utility vegetation management at an accredited college or university and has not previously attended the Trees & Utilities conference.

The scholarship award amount will be $1,200. The award is non-renewable and is to be used towards this years annual Trees & Utilities Conference.
The award amount will be paid directly to the recipient upon completion of attending the Trees & Utilities Conference with proof of registration of the event by the recipient after required documentation has been submitted. Award may only be applied to Trees & Utilities Conference expenses such as food, hotel, airfare and registration.

Applicants understand that a short article of their experience will be required post conference, that will then be showcased in the UAA Newsline.

Applicants may not request scholarships greater than the anticipated amount of their award.

All the following criteria must be met to qualify:

  • Recently graduated within last 4 years with a major, minor, option, or program of utility line clearance, utility vegetation management, arboriculture, forestry, urban forestry, or related field at an accredited college or university.
  • Not ever attended a Trees & Utilities Conference in the past (attendance will be cross checked)
  • 3.0 GPA minimum maintained in college
  • Willing to write brief article on experience at the conference
  • Current member of the UAA

Application Process

You will be required to submit documentation such as academic transcripts, enrollment verification, essay and letters of recommendation so please be prepared to do this once you begin the application process.

Applicants will need the following information to complete application. (Note: The word count limit is firm and absolute) Exceeding word counts may result in your application being rejected before review. Applicants should compose their text in Word or related systems that allow counts to be confirmed before they are placed in the application form.)

  • Educational standing and enrollment/graduation status
  • History of scholarships and extracurricular activities
  • Honors and Recognitions
  • Essay describing your reasons for pursuing your chosen career, your goals, and objectives, and why you should be chosen for this scholarship (maximum 1000 words)
  • Current transcript
  • Two letters of recommendation
    • One must be from an advisor or equivalent.
    • The other from a professional affiliation such as a coach, manager, or mentor

UAA staff will confirm receipt of application upon completion and receipt to our UAA Office email which is

Please be sure all appropriate documents have been uploaded into your application. You cannot change this once you hit submit. 

Upon completion of this application form, please understand you will click submit and a unique ID (this is your application number) will be emailed to you. 
Be sure to keep a copy of your confirmation for your records.


UAA is particularly interested in having its scholarship recipients begin and remain in careers in arboriculture, utility line clearance, vegetation management and other related fields. Applicant essays should provide UAA with a sense of the student’s career aspirations and plans within these industries, and academic, work, and extracurricular activities should reflect commitment toward this goal.

Applications will be evaluated by UAA’s Scholarship Committee. Members of this committee will rate applications using the following rubric:

  • Essay 30 points
  • Cumulative GPA: 25 points
  • Advisor Letter of Recommendation:25points
  • Second Letter of Recommendation: 20 points
    • Total Maximum Possible Score: 100 points

Recommendations on scholarship awards will be presented to the UAA Executive Board of Trustees in May 2022 and will be announced within two weeks of their decision.

UAA does not discriminate based on race, color, creed, gender, sexual orientation, disability or national or ethnic origin. Current staff or Executive Board members of the UAA are ineligible to receive scholarships from the UAA.

Recipients will be notified within two weeks of the award decision. The award letter will include instructions on submitting acceptance information for the scholarship award.

Upon UAA’s receipt of the acceptance information from the recipient, the first half of the scholarship payment will be made to the institution. The balance of the award will be made after fall semester grades and re-enrollment are confirmed with UAA by recipient.









Support the

Nelsen Money

Memorial Scholarship Fund

 The UAA Nelsen Money Scholarship Program provides financial support for university and college students through scholarships to foster a greater appreciation of the utility arboriculture industry. If you would like to make a financial contribution in support of the program, it will be invoiced separately from sponsorships.


  • Your dollars will go towards supporting students looking to pursue various careers in programs of utility line clearance, utility vegetation management, arboriculture, forestry, urban forestry, or related fields to help boost our ever-changing industry.
  • Tax deduction donation for you / your company
  • Higher graduation rates. When students receive educational scholarships, allowing them to go to the school of their choice, it results in a significantly higher graduation rate.
  • UAA Partners in Excellence (PinE Award) points will be awarded for scholarship donations. This award is given annually at the Trees & Utilities conference and recognizes companies that go above and beyond to support our mission. It encompasses UAA membership, sponsorship, advertising, active committee volunteerism, and many other means such as this scholarship. Then each has been quantified and assigned a value, all adding up to equal your PinE Score.

Donate to the Nelsen Money Memorial Scholarship Fund

By clicking below you will be taken to PayPal to complete your donation transaction. Thank you for supporting students pursuing careers in UVM!


Lead, Follow, or Get Out of Our Way!

By Renee Bissett, ACRT Services
July / August 2020 Newsline

A decade ago, the UAA membership elected a new president, Nelsen Money. None of us who knew Nelsen would be surprised at the legacy he created. Most notably was his contribution to the Utility Arborist Newsline. When he inherited the previous publication named the UAA Quarterly, it was a challenge to provide diverse content representing our whole industry. The UAA Quarterly had begun in 1992 and much of the content was written by staff and with a lot of “arm twisting” according to, then executive director, Derek Vannice. That year—when he led the UAA—the publication got a makeover. Its new name stands today, the Utility Arborist Newsline.

“Nelsen was the driving force behind the UAA editorial committee, and we can thank him for having enough content so that we could move to six issues a year,” said Vannice. 

Philip Charlton, the current Executive Director of the UAA attributes Nelsen’s biggest accomplishment has been his “transformation of the Newsline” and his ability to “mentor and encourage people, thanking those willing to help the UAA.” 

Nelsen wasn’t shy to ask members to do their part and he didn’t make them do it alone. He’d stand shoulder to shoulder with you, providing guidance and support, and lifting you up when you needed it. According to Craig Kelly, PG&E and Past UAA President, Nelsen saw something in him that he didn’t see in himself, “Nelsen recognized future leadership and helped vet individuals like myself to get the ‘tap’ for a leadership role in the UAA. He encouraged and constantly supported all of his protégées, guiding them on their professional succession trail.” 

When Diona Neeser joined the UAA, it was partially due to Nelsen’s nudge. He was among the first to show her the ropes, too. “He was always in my corner, cheering me on—be it in the workplace or as a friend outside of work. He would call or text just to check in on me, give advice, and then head off to the next big fishing day or glass of fine wine that awaited him,” she said. 

We have to remember that even though he was technically retired, he never stopped giving back to the industry. Others who worked closely with Nelsen echoed similar experiences.  

“Nelsen is one of the most giving people I have ever met, giving of his time, experiences, and his wisdom. Nelsen always worked in the background as to not draw attention to himself. He preferred to pass the attention and torch to others around him for the greater good of our industry and profession,” said Will Nutter, Wright Tree Service, and Past UAA President.  

Randy Miller followed Nelsen’s tenure as UAA President, describing him as a, “hall-of-famer caliber guy, both personally and professionally. What he valued most from Nelsen was his, “measured judgement and sound advice during a dynamic period in the UAA’s history.” 

More than just the Utility Arborist Newsline, Nelsen established the partnership the UAA currently has with T&D World, producing an annual vegetation management supplement, which expanded our reach. Charlton also credited Nelsen for, “making the Western Regional meeting a huge success.” He also contributed to the ROW Stewardship accreditation and was a strong supporter of the program. 

Vannice said, “He was tireless in his promotion of the UAA and IVM.” There were few corners of this industry Nelsen didn’t touch. His legacy is profound. 

“Nelsen was a true IVM/UVM ambassador, with unwavering passion, commitment, and industry-level engagement…a mentor, father, brother, colleague, friend, passionate fisherman, and loving husband. The UVM industry, colleagues/friends that Nelsen touched are exponentially superior from his expertise and spirited discussions,” said Eric Brown, SMUD, UAA President. 

Rich Hendler, ACRT, summarized Nelsen’s contributions as immense: “To the UAA, our editorial committee, our UAA leadership team, our industry, and our life pursuits, we travel the road Nelsen has built and what a positive influence on us all.” 

He didn’t just lift up those of us lucky enough to know him. He did it for the whole industry. Lori Jones, Salt River Project, reminded me that “when industry legends leave us, we need to keep their memories alive.” 

The best way to honor Nelsen’s legacy is to lift those up around us, offering mentorship, friendship, and coaching to those that need it. Keep carrying his torch, and if you catch a big fish, remember him. 

When Nelsen handed over the reins of the editorial committee to me last fall, he told me, “It has been a great ride for many years and the team has done an excellent job. I’ll probably join some calls and can be a resource if needed. It’s time to fish more and enjoy each day.” 

Nelsen would often check in with people and make sure they felt appreciated. After joining us for a recent editorial committee meeting, he sent me a text, “You are doing great.” He went on to say, “It was fun listening in.” That was his last meeting. Nelsen Money passed away in his sleep on May 23, 2020; leaving an everlasting legacy. 

to our scholarship donors:

Individual Donors:
Amanda Opp
April Kennedy
Brandon Hughson
Eumie Davis
Gabrielle Roberton-Cawley
James & Sandra Hawkins
Joe Weathersby
Karsten Schulz
Kelly Farley
Laurel Reimann
Lawrence Abernathy
Lindsey Boyle
Michael Neal
Michelle Serna
Michelle Vignault
Pamela Money
Patsy Rieger
Randall Miller
Rebecca Grostefon
Renee Bissett
Richard Bush
Richard Hendler
Richard Yarnell
Robert Brenton
Rose Epperson
Rosemary Gordon
Sarah Lilley
Sarah Money
Stephen Lach
Stephen Tankersley

Corporate Donors:
Grow with Trees
PG&E Corporation Foundation
Sierra Resource Inc

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Phone: 800-680-4106