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By: Sutton StokesApril 14, 2022

Elkins Tree Board to Celebrate Arbor Day

Contact: Marilynn Cuonzo, Chair, Elkins Tree Board mcuonzo@cityofelkinswv.com

ELKINS-The Elkins Tree Board will hold its official recognition of Arbor Day Friday, April 29, at 2 p.m. in Glendale Park. The event will include planting two sourwood trees in the Pollinator Alley area of the park and the reading of the Mayor’s Arbor Day Proclamation.

An additional Arbor Day event is scheduled at 5 p.m. at Bluegrass Park. The Emma Scott Garden Club is sponsoring this tree-planting ceremony. The two events are part of a week-long series of environment-themed activities, which kick off with an Elkins City Park tree restoration event on April 22 and an afternoon-long Earth Day Celebration on Saturday, April 30.

“We are so excited to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Arbor Day this year,” said Angela Daniels, ETB education coordinator. In the 1870s, Nebraska newspaper editor J. Sterling Morton was enthusiastic about trees and advocated strongly for individuals and civic groups to plant them. Once the secretary of the Nebraska Territory, he further spread his message of the value of trees. On January 4, 1872, Morton proposed a tree-planting holiday called “Arbor Day” at a meeting of the State Board of Agriculture.

The celebration date was set for April 10, 1872. Prizes were offered to counties and individuals for the highest number of properly planted trees on that day. It was estimated that more than 1 million trees were planted in Nebraska on the first Arbor Day.

“Our city continues that tradition this year by stepping up its tree-planting efforts, with more than 100 trees placed in the ground in the past year by an extraordinary number of volunteers,” Daniels said. “We are also grateful to those who first started the Elkins Tree Board. Those early tree enthusiasts recognized the importance of having a healthy, well-maintained urban forest.”

This year also marks the 14th time Elkins has been recognized as a Tree City by the Arbor Day Foundation. The foundation honored the city for its commitment to effective urban forest management. The Tree City USA program is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation, partnering with the U.S. Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters.

Elkins achieved Tree City USA recognition by meeting the program’s four requirements: a tree board or department, a tree-care ordinance, an annual community forestry budget of at least $2 per capita, and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.

“Everyone benefits when elected officials, volunteers, and committed citizens in communities like Elkins make smart investments in urban forests,” said Matt Harris, Arbor Day Foundation chief executive.

“Trees bring shade to our homes and beauty to our neighborhoods and numerous economic, social, and environmental benefits,” he said. “Trees are assets to a community when properly planted and maintained. They help improve the visual appeal of a neighborhood, increase property values, reduce home cooling costs, remove air pollutants, and provide wildlife habitat, among many other benefits.

“While most holidays celebrate something that has already happened and is worth remembering, Arbor Day represents a hope for the future. The simple act of planting a tree represents a belief that the tree will grow to provide us with clean air and water, cooling shade, habitat for wildlife, healthier communities, and endless natural beauty — all for a better tomorrow.”

For more information on this event and the Elkins Friends of Trees program, visit the Elkins Friends of Trees Facebook page. If interested in joining Elkins Friends of Trees, email Katy McClane at katy.mcclane@gmail.com. Friends of Trees offers volunteer opportunities to increase and maintain the City of Elkins’ urban greenspace.

The Elkins Tree Board meets on the first Tuesday of the month at 5:30 p.m. in the Darden House next to City Hall. The public is welcome to attend.

–END–

PHOTO CUTLINE:

AmeriCorps members Haley Shreve, left, and Ellen White were among the many volunteers who helped dig holes for 30 trees that will be planted at Elkins City Park this April. The project is one of many that the Elkins Tree Board oversees, with the assistance of Friends of Trees, the City of Elkins, and other volunteer agencies. Elkins has once again been selected as a Tree City and will celebrate Arbor Day April 29.

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