Westlake Garden Club celebrates Arbor Day

Representatives from Westlake’s Service and Forestry departments look on as children from the recreation center playground shovel dirt onto the tree planted by the Westlake Garden Club. Photo by Tara Wendell

The Westlake Garden Club recently gifted its 54th tree to the city of Westlake. Since its inception in 1963 the club has planted a tree at various locations around the city to celebrate Arbor Day on April 28. The tree that was selected this year is a black gum tree, which was planted on the grounds of the Westlake Recreation Center near the playground.

Westlake Mayor Dennis Clough presented the club with a proclamation. “Trees have been an important part of the identity of Westlake from the start,” Clough said. “I have a great appreciation for trees because of their beauty … and because they create an environment that is beneficial and peaceful.”

Other city officials who were on hand for the event include Paul Quinn III, Westlake's director of Public Service, and Stan Barnard, the city's manager of Urban Forestry.

During the ceremony, garden club member Brain Thompson gave a short talk and expressed curiosity about why the black gum tree, a native American tree, is not more common. It adapts easily to a variety of soils, has spectacular fall colors, butterflies love the flower nectar and birds enjoy the berry-like fruit. However, in order to produce fruit it must be pollinated by another black gum tree so perhaps one day more black gum trees will be planted to keep it company.

After Clough and garden club president Regina McCarthy put in the first shovelful of dirt, the children who had been at the playground were invited to help join in the planting.

For the past 26 years Westlake has earned the designated of Tree City USA by the National Arbor Day Foundation and the National Association of State Foresters. This means the city has met certain standards and commits resources to tree preservation and maintenance every year. “We are very proactive in Westlake. It’s a very green community and trees are a big part of that," Quinn said.

The first Arbor Day was in held in Nebraska in April 1872. It was the brain child of Julius Sterling Morton, the Secretary of Agriculture under President Grover Cleveland and a native of Nebraska. Eventually more states and even some places overseas have decided to set aside a particular day dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of trees and to provide an educative service to the community.

According to the U. S. Department of Agriculture one acre of forest absorbs six tons of carbon dioxide and puts out four tons of oxygen each year – enough to meet the needs of 18 people. On a more local level, The Council of Trees and Landscape Appraisers found that a mature tree adds between $1,000 and $10,000 to the value of a home.

Carolyn Steigman

Head of publicity committee for the Westlake Garden Club. I want to write about club events, sometimes will include photo if applicable.

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Volume 9, Issue 9, Posted 10:21 AM, 05.02.2017