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Friday, May 6, 2016

'Tree Lady' has an entire grove

Saturday, April 28, 2012

While Rod Weinschenk and Troy Scott of the Greencastle Parks and Recreation Department steady the tree, Joanne Haymaker and a group of Greencastle children throw the first shovels of dirt on the first addition to the Joanne Haymaker Lights of Love Tree Grove at Big Walnut Sports Park.
Greencastle's "Tree Lady" has never sought recognition, she has just done what she thought was right.

For that reason, she was recognized anyway this Arbor Day.

The Greencastle Civic League and the City of Greencastle dedicated the Joanne Haymaker Lights of Love Tree Grove on Friday, honoring the someone who has been planting trees in and around the city for decades.

The fledgling grove sits next to the creek on the east edge of Big Walnut Sports Park.

"You don't worry if you get credit for it -- you just do it because it's the right thing to do," Haymaker said of her accomplishments in the Civic League. "So thank you for doing this."

Haymaker is the longest serving member of the Civic League and the only charter member of the organization 28 years after its 1984 founding. Fellow charter member Kathy Jones said Friday that even "way back in 1984, Joanne was known as the Tree Lady."

There is a simple reason for this.

"I tend to be an environmentalist and the tree is one simple way of planning for our future and preserving our environment," she said. "Anyone can do it. It doesn't take much."

Haymaker had the chance to interact with the future generation her trees are benefiting during Friday's ceremony. After the tree was set in the ground by Rod Weinschenk and Troy Scott of the Parks Department, Haymaker and a group of small children cast the first shovels of dirt around its base.

Weinschenk explained a little bit about the two trees planted to start the grove. They are a variety of the Norway spruce and could grow as tall as 160 feet.

Greencastle Mayor Sue Murray and Joanne Haymaker listen to the kind words being said about Haymaker during a Friday morning Arbor Day ceremony in her honor. The Joanne Haymaker Lights of Love Tree Grove was dedicated with the planting of two Norway spruces at the Big Walnut Sports Park.
"In this grove, these trees have the potential of standing really tall, just like the person we're dedicating them to," Weinschenk said.

In her time in the Civic League, Haymaker has spent terms as the organization's president, treasurer and chairman of beautification.

Inside and outside of the Civic League, she has championed tree planting. She was heavily involved in making Greencastle a Tree City, forming a tree board, organizing an annual Arbor Day Celebration and the mission of planting 2,000 trees by the year 2000.

As a resident of Madison Township, she was never eligible to serve on the Greencastle Tree Board, but she supported its mission just the same.

All of these plans involved planting a designated number of trees around the city each year. This idea will continue in the new grove that bears her name. Civic League President Emily Knuth said plantings will continue in the grove each year.

"This is a much-deserved recognition of our longest-serving member," Knuth said. "I've know Joanne and (husband) Bob my whole life and whatever they do, they stick to it."

Mayor Sue Murray followed Knuth with a proclamation that Friday was not only Arbor Day, but also Joanne Haymaker Day in the city.

Of course, none of this was Haymaker's expectation. She just enjoys nature.

"This is a wonderful plan," Haymaker said. "I've always wanted to get some trees out here (at the sports park) anyway -- what a wonderful way to start it."

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