Tree City USA lives up to the title

Thursday, April 25, 2013
Directing Greencastle High School students on the planting of a crabapple tree, Greencastle Parks and Recreation Director Rod Weinschenk (kneeling) gets down to the hard work that goes along with Arbor Day. The volunteers from John Garner's environmental science class are (from left) Carl Basile, Jorden Froderman and Tyler Scott.

Taking advantage of the soft ground and warm sun of late April, the City of Greencastle kicked off several days of Arbor Day celebrations Tuesday on Albin Pond Road.

Mayor Sue Murray gathered with Parks and Recreation Department employees and Greencastle High School students to recognize April 23 as Greencastle Arbor Day and to proclaim the week of May 6-12 as Arbor Appreciation Week.

With National Arbor Day coming on Friday, April 26, Greencastle's arbor appreciation activities stretch over a three-week period, which seems fitting for a city recently named a Tree City USA for the 14th consecutive year.

As Greencastle Mayor Sue Murray proclaimed Tuesday to be Greencastle Arbor Day and the week of May 6-12 as Arbor Appreciation Week, Parks Department workers and volunteers from the Greencastle High School environmental sciences class gathered to plant several dozen trees on a hillside south of Albin Pond Road. Tuesday morning's workers included (front from left) Parks and Recreation Director Rod Weinschenk, Mackenzie Partin, Bailey Brewer, Hailey Johnson, Emma Powers, Tyler Scott, Seth Collins, Mayor Murray, (back) James Brown, Caleb Crowe, teacher John Garner, Garrett Earles, Jorden Froderman, Carl Basile and Dylan Battin.

The city's streak of Tree City honors is so long, in fact, that the young tree planters from John Garner's GHS environmental science class were no more than toddlers the last time the city was not a Tree City.

They lent their youth and energy to the planting of several dozen trees along the People Pathway just west of G.T. Haywood Memorial Church.

Besides beautifying the area, the trees -- two crabapples, two sunset maples and more than 50 small shingle oaks, red oaks and bald cypresses -- will provide erosion control in a spot where the pathway gets covered in mud with each heavy rain.

The city's plantings will continue at 11 a.m. today with plantings on either side of Shadowlawn Avenue, where the People Pathway crosses just east of Deer Meadow Primary School.

Garner's class as well as a Julie Carr's second- grade class from Deer Meadow will take part in the second planting.

On Friday, the city and the Greencastle Civic League will celebrate National Arbor Day by planting five evergreens at the Joanne Haymaker Lights of Love Tree Grove on the east side of Big Walnut Sports Park.

The noon celebration will mark the second year of plantings in honor of Haymaker, Greencastle's "Tree Lady" who has championed tree planting through work with the Civic League since its 1984 founding.

One of the trees is from the December 2012 Lights of Love ceremony. This evergreen honors retiring Deer Meadow principal Gwen Morris for her 42 years of service to Greencastle schools.

In addition, the Civic League will be planting two trees in the city. One tree is being planted in memory of long-time Civic League member Nancy McFarland. The second tree is being planted in honor of Emily Jones Knuth, outgoing president of the Greencastle Civic League. Knuth has served the Civic League as president for the past two years.

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