Dedication to the environment by Kealba’s Gregory Moore has been rewarded by inclusion in the annual Queen’s Birthday honours list.

Dr Moore, awarded a Medal of the Order (OAM) on Monday for services to the environment, particularly arboriculture, said the honour took him by surprise.

“It is quite humbling as I know so many others who have deserved recognition and never received it,” he said. “It also provides some validation to my family that the things that have taken so much of my time over many years are valued by others.”

Dr Moore said he fell in love with trees as a child and followed his passion at Melbourne University in 1971, studying biology, zoology and botany. During holidays we worked in Queens Park for Essendon council.

He went on to teach plant science, researching aspects of tree biology and root systems in urban environments, and sat on the board of Greening Australia for more than 20 years.

“I have a great interest in revegetation on a large scale,” Dr Moore said.

“As a resident of Brimbank since the late ’70s, I am very keen to save our precious grasslands and the trees that we have. I am very interested in the work that Greening the West is trying to achieve for increasing tree cover in the western suburbs. We will really need the cover as the climate changes.”

While his work with the National Trust of Victoria and Sustainable Gardening Australia, and publishing more than 150 papers on tree biology and management, barely scratch the surface of his achievements, Dr Moore said he was most proud of the lasting impact of his work on Victoria’s environment.

“The great thing about horticulture and arboriculture is that the science is as much about people as it is about the plants and trees,” he said.

“Over the years, the people that I have worked with have saved many trees and, in some cases, parts of endangered ecosystems. Things that we have done in relation to working safely with trees have saved people from injury and saved lives.

“The real achievement, though, is that we are trying to make our cities and our state better places for future generations of Victorians and Australians. My real motivation is to make sure that future generations have a great place to live, where lots of treed open space allows them to live a healthy, good quality life in an environmentally and economically sustainable city or town.”

Dr Moore is semi-retired, but still teaches tree science subjects at Melbourne University and conducts research part-time.