Ash Grove observes Arbor Day with tree planting, proclamation

Ash Grove city officials and residents gathered in the Ash Grove City Park on Monday, April 22, to observe Arbor Day with a ceremony that included planting a tree and the reading of an official proclamation. An Arbor Day poster designed by Ash Grove High School senior Kole Steeley was also displayed.
In the proclamation he read during the ceremony, Mayor Les Gardner spoke about the history of Arbor Day.
“In 1872, Sterling Martin pronounced to the Nebraska Board of Agriculture that a special date be set aside for planting trees,” he said. “This holiday, called Arbor Day, was first observed with the planting of more than a million trees in Nebraska. Arbor Day is now observed throughout the nation and the world.”
Gardner also said trees provide many benefits to people and the environment.
Proclaiming April 22, 2019 as Arbor Day for Ash Grove, Gardner finished his proclamation with a reminder that trees can provide benefits to a society for generations after they are planted.
“I urge citizens to celebrate Arbor Day and to support efforts to protect our trees and woodlands,” he said. “And again, we plant these trees in our city park for the next generations to come, to enjoy and to watch them grow.”
Ash Grove is a Tree City USA city, a tradition it has followed since 2006. As part of the Arbor Day ceremony, Cindy Garner, a community forester from the Missouri Department of Conservation, discussed the four standards a community must meet to become a Tree City USA city. They are: 1. Have an Arbor Day event where the mayor or mayor pro-tem reads a proclamation and declares the day Arbor Day, 2. Have a tree board which is legally responsible for the care of all the trees located on town property 3. Spend $2 per person in the population on the planting, care and removal of city trees, and 4. Have an ordinance that sets policy on the care of trees and backs it with the force of law, if necessary.
Gardner said the importance of recognizing Arbor Day, or trees, could not be overstated.
“(It’s about) replenishing trees in our community, beautifying our park, and making things a better place for future generations,” he said. “That’s the whole thing with our city park. We have a beautiful park here, and it’s a place that we do our 4th of July events, fall events, and it’s a great way to bring the community together. Nothing like beautiful trees in an area for that to happen.”
As part of the ceremony, Larry Harrison and Bill Dunfield, the superintendent and assistant superintendent of Ash Grove Public Works, planted a hybrid red/sugar maple near the park’s northwest corner.
The maple was not the only tree planted in the park that day. Harrison and Dunfield also planted a dogwood in memory of Curtis “CJ” Loehmann, an Ash Grove resident who died on June 4, 2017, at age 22. The dogwood was planted to replace another tree which was planted in Loehmann’s memory; that tree did not survive.



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