Happy Arbor Day, Weston!
Today is Arbor Day, the Owl’s favorite day of the year! Planting a tree symbolizes nurturing new life, planning for the future, and getting close to our roots, literally and figuratively. As the Arbor Day Foundation says, the simple act of planting a tree represents a belief that the tree will grow to provide us with clean air and water, cooling shade, habitat for wildlife, healthier communities, and endless natural beauty — all for a better tomorrow.
Arbor Day has been celebrated in the US since 1872, and it all began in a state that does not spring to mind as the tree capital of the world. Nebraska resident J. Sterling Morton challenged folks to plant trees and more than one million were planted in the state on that initial Arbor Day. By 1874 it was made an official state holiday in Nebraska and by 1920 it was celebrated by 45 states. Now all 50 states celebrate Arbor Day.
In Weston, the Tree Advisory Group leads the town celebrations and tree plantings. Weston has been considered a Tree City USA for the last 17 years which means it must fulfill the following four requirements:
- maintain a tree board or department,
- have a community tree ordinance,
- spend at least $2 per capita on urban forestry, and
- celebrate Arbor Day
Every year trees are planted according to needs or community requests. For instance, last year, a Winter King hawthorn was planted in the Silver Hill neighborhood (corner of Silver Hill/Westland) to replace a dying tree. And five Wyman crabapple trees were planted along North Avenue west of the Lexington Street intersection.
In addition, starting in 2018, there has been a Fifth Grade class tree each year. The planting of this tree celebrates the class that is “graduating” Field School — a plaque is placed, and students are encouraged to take a photo with the tree as fifth graders, and then come back possibly during their high school graduation to take another photo. The first class to have a tree in its honor was the Class of 2025 which has a red oak near the Field School, followed by the Class of 2026 which has a redbud tree close by, and then the pandemic-affected Class of 2027 which has a pair of redtwig dogwoods at the Middle School.
This year the Fifth Grade class (class of 2028) will dedicate a Winter King hawthorn along the Legacy Trail. There is no better legacy than a tree.
The Arbor Day ceremony will be held this morning, Friday, April 30 at the Country School, which will dedicate a redbud tree that symbolizes Country CARES. In the fall, the school and PTO approached Tree Advisory Group with the idea of planting a tree to symbolize the strength, fortitude, growth, and resilience of the kids, families, staff, faculty, and the greater community. According to Taylor McIntire and Jill Kramer, PTO Co-Chairs for Country, the messaging goes beyond the pandemic as the kids learn about the environment, climate change, protecting natural resources, and taking care of their surroundings. Select Board Chair Laurie Bent will give the official Arbor Day proclamation.
Arbor Day trees in Weston are funded by Eversource, sourced from Weston Nurseries and rely on the long-term care of Department of Public Works employees including Jackie Jackson, Weston’s Parks & Cemeteries Manager. Special thanks to Nina Danforth, Lori Hess, and the Tree Advisory Group for their continued championing of trees.
Celebrate new life–plant a tree! Happy Arbor Day, Weston!
“Other holidays repose upon the past;
Arbor Day proposes for the future.”
–J. Sterling Morton.