I am the oldest of five children. I remember that my mother wouldn't allow me to go outside because she was afraid I might get dirty. Lucky for me, she changed her mind. I have enjoyed being outdoors ever since. As a boy, I enjoyed sports and scouting. My scouting experiences have taught me team work and helped foster my love of the outdoor, especially with trees.
I graduated from Delta College with an AA in Ornamental Horticulture, and I graduated from California State University, Sacramento, in 1975 with a BS in Environmental Resources. In 1980 I was hired by the City of Lodi as a Park Maintenance Worker, and later I was promoted to Park Superintendent. I am a Certified Arborist and hold a Pest Control Advisors License. I hope my involvement with Tree Lodi will allow me the opportunity to share my passion for trees.
Gordon Schmierer Sr., Vice President
I’m a native Californian and I grew up on a farm in Acampo. I graduated from Lodi Union High School, class of '51, and Stockton College and then I joined the army. After my discharge, I attended the University of Chicago and then joined Reynolds Metals Company as a sales administrator. After twenty years, I transferred to the Detroit Regional sales office. After completion of my service at Reynolds, I started a second career as a Realtor. I saw how trees and good landscaping added to neighborhoods' value in metro Detroit and urban areas.
After over 50 years in the midwest, I retired in 2009 and returned to Lodi and joined Lodi Tree, Lodi Garden Club (past president), the Lodi Historical Society and completed the S.J. County Master Gardener program in 2015.
Joyce Harmon, Founder and past President
I was born in Nova Scotia, Canada, in 1924, and after local schools, I graduated from nurses' training from Royal Victoria Hospital (McGill University) in Montreal. I came to California in 1949 and eventually moved to Lodi when I worked at Lodi Memorial Hospital and as a Paralegal RN. My campaign to eradicate mistletoe in Lodi began in 2003, and with the encouragement of local horticulturalists and folks knowledgeable about trees, in 2005, I started a non-profit organization - Tree Lodi. I'm proud of the support and the reputation that Tree Lodi has developed with the city and the work that volunteers have done to promote Lodi's urban forest.
Nancy Mehlhaff, Secretary/Treasurer
I was born in Berkeley and lived in several Bay Area communities before moving to Lodi. I graduated from Lodi High School in 1969, and then I attended Humphreys Business College in Stockton. My career in the Finance department of Lodi Memorial Hospital lasted 25 years. I was introduced to Tree Lodi in 2005 as my mother, Joyce Harmon, was working on enlisting the support of the city to rid Lodi of mistletoe. By spending time with so many tree-knowledgeable volunteers, I have learned more than I could have imagined about trees and how to grow the urban forest successfully.
Esther Milnes, Steward
I’m a native Lodian concerned about the environment and the aesthetic qualities of my home town. Having been raised on a farm by a mother who loved flowers and a father who loved trees, especially fruit trees. I developed a strong interest in nature at an early age. I graduated from Lodi High School in 1951 and finished my formal education at the University of California at Berkeley, receiving a B.Sc.degree. I fulfilled my career goals doing various kinds of lab work.
I returned to Lodi in 1987. I am a docent with the California Department of Fish and Game for 15 years and was a Sandhill Crane Festival steering committee member. My love of flowers led me to the Lodi Garden Club where I served as president.
Bill Nantt, Community Forester
I am a lifelong Lodi resident with a passion for plants and people. I'm a graduate of Tokay High, and I received my BS from CalPoly San Luis Obispo. My career included: • Retail nursery sales. • Landscape design and installation. • Landscape and tree maintenance. • Training. I retired from Caltrans as an IVM (Integrated Vegetation Management) and Tree Program Manager. I'm a Certified Arborist, Licensed Pest Control Advisor, and Qualified Applicator.
Don Mehlhaff, Steward
I was born in South Dakota and moved to Lodi in 1960. I graduated from Lodi High School and Barber College in Stockton. After college, I joined the Army and served in Korea until 1968. I've worked as a barber, and then I had a career with Lucky's and Albertsons Stores. My wife Nancy and family have always instilled respect for nature - animals, and trees. I joined Tree Lodi in 2010 with Nancy to learn as much as I could about the preservation and growth of our urban forest.
Barbara Utting, Shade Tree Program Liaison
I am a third generation native Californian, and I've had environmental interests from an early age derived from years of camping near beaches, rivers and trees. I graduated from Cal State University and had a three-decade career in education. After retiring, I was inspired by reading books and articles about tree attributes and benefits. After learning about Tree Lodi, I wanted to be a part of what they could do in the future for Lodi's urban forest.
I was born in Eureka, California, in 1929. As a youngster, I sold newspapers. My first job after graduating high school was as a groundskeeper at the Eureka Cemetery. My real career for 22 years was with the State of California Parks and Recreation Dept. I now have my own business as a handyman. There is still time to do volunteering with the Sandhill Crane Festival Steering Committee, Lodi Sister City Committee, in addition to Tree Lodi.
Melana Cook, Shade Tree Accountant
I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. Although I love the open skies the region's farmlands create, I believe cities and suburbs are made more comfortable and attractive by a healthy urban canopy. I became involved in Tree Lodi while taking a Corporate Ethics and Social Responsibility class at California State University, Stanislaus, where my interests in business and sustainability merged. Though my class ended in 2020, I joined as a Tree Lodi member in 2021; I bring a skill set in nonprofit accounting and hope my volunteer work advances the organization's Shade Tree Program through its infancy. Since my three children have grown and are ready to take flight, the nest in this tree feels empty; here's to planting new roots and living new seasons of life!
LODI TREE, INC.
Promote. Protect. Preserve.
Tree Lodi, Inc. 1049 E Augusta St. Box 701, Woodbridge, CA 95258