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Temple City Celebrates Arbor Day – The Importance of Trees Stressed

March 19th, 2010 by Terry Miller

By Terry Miller
As the 7th year approaches for Temple City’s Tree City designation from the Arbor Foundation, city officials and employees celebrated Arbor Day in Temple City Park Monday morning.
The city showcased a 65-foot cherry picker or boom arm which is used to trim trees such as palms in the city. Visitors to the celebration got a chance to see Temple City as the birds see it, from a height of 65 feet in the bucket of the cherry picker. Councilman Tom Chavez and Linda Payne, President and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce were just two of the brave souls who ventured to go where no council member had gone before. Payne, while brave enough to go to the top did say she was “hanging on to dear life” as she ascended to the 65’ level.

The city plans on planting 50 trees this week. There was a ceremonial tree planning at 11 am and demonstrations about the importance of trees for the community.
The local school district got involved too with an art contest. The winners first place winners were: Nigel Ho, Emperor; Stephanie Shih, Longdon; and Michelle Melara, St. Lukes.
There were quizzes for children and adults alike: “ How do trees help the environment?” “Are all leaves green?” and “ What are the only trees people use indoors?” were some of the questions on the importance of the tree. Threr was also a quiz to test your knowledge on such things as “What is a Dediduous tree” Or what does a Camphor tree do?
The first Arbor Day took place on April 10, 1872 in Nebraska. It was the brainchild of Julius Sterling Morton (1832-1902), a Nebraska journalist and politician originally from Michigan. Throughout his long and productive career, Morton worked to improve agricultural techniques in his adopted state and throughout the United States when he served as President Grover Cleveland’s Secretary of Agriculture. But his most important legacy is Arbor Day.
Morton (photo, right) felt that Nebraska’s landscape and economy would benefit from the wide-scale planting of trees. He set an example himself planting orchards, shade trees and wind breaks on his own farm and he urged his neighbors to follow suit. Morton’s real opportunity, though, arrived when he became a member of Nebraska’s state board of agriculture. He proposed that a special day be set aside dedicated to tree planting and increasing awareness of the importance of trees. Nebraska’s first Arbor Day was an amazing success. More than one million trees were planted. A second Arbor Day took place in 1884 and the young state made it an annual legal holiday in 1885, using April 22nd to coincide with Morton’s birthday.

In the years following that first Arbor Day, Morton’s idea spread beyond Nebraska with Kansas, Tennessee, Minnesota and Ohio all proclaiming their own Arbor Days. Today all 50 states celebrate Arbor Day although the dates may vary in keeping with the local climate. At the federal level, in 1970, President Richard Nixon proclaimed the last Friday in April as National Arbor Day. Arbor Day is also now celebrated in other countries including Australia. Variations are celebrated as ‘Greening Week’ of Japan, ‘The New Year’s Days of Trees’ in Israel, ‘The Tree-loving Week’ of Korea, ‘The Reforestation Week’ of Yugoslavia, ‘The Students’ Afforestation Day’ of Iceland and ‘The National Festival of Tree Planting’ in India. Julius Sterling Morton would be proud. Sometimes one good idea can make a real difference.

Photos by Terry Miller

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