Arbor Day will be 140 years old when it is celebrated nationally April 27, but communities across the country celebrate the day at different times of the year.
Jan. 20 was Florida Arbor Day and Anna Maria Island communities celebrated by planting trees in various areas of each city. In Bradenton Beach, the ceremony took place on Bridge Street, where two Spanish Stopper trees and two Simpson Stopper trees were planted.
Florida Forest Service spokesman Ed Flowers said the first Arbor Day celebration was celebrated with a few hundred children parading through their small town and the planting of new trees.
“I think it’s important to keep in mind that first celebration,’ said Flowers. “Since then, Arbor Day celebrations are done in every state and even in other countries.”
Flowers thanked Bradenton Beach for becoming a member of the Tree City USA family last year.
“There’s a lot of work that goes into becoming a Tree City USA,” he said. “Bradenton Beach worked really hard at getting that designation.”
Bradenton Beach’s designation means the only community in Manatee County that is not recognized by Tree City USA is Longboat Key.
Keep Manatee Beautiful executive director Ingrid McClellan said she hopes to return next year’s Arbor Day celebration back to its roots by including school kids in the event.
KMB volunteer and biologist Tammy Kovar said the spirit of Arbor Day is “one tree at a time. We all enjoy planting trees, whether it’s in our yard or in our community.”
Florida Power and Light spokesman Jim Black reminded attendees of the importance of planning where trees are being planted, and to take into account nearby power lines.
“Remember, right tree, right location,” Black said. “Trees provide beauty, shade and freshen the air and help to support community pride. When people enter a Tree City USA, they know you care about trees.”
Mayor John Shaughnessy read a proclamation declaring Jan. 20 as Arbor Day and urged all citizens “to support efforts to protect our trees and woodlands and to support our city’s urban forestry program.”
Shaughnessy said citizen participation and planting trees will “promote the wellbeing of present and future generations,” while enhancing the community.