LONGMEADOW, MA – Fourth-grade students at Center School celebrated Arbor Day at a special event on April 26.
Led by Tree Warden David Marinelli, students learned about the importance of trees for the environment, wildlife, and the community, and helped nurture of one of the town’s recently planted trees behind the school.
Marinelli was joined in the celebration of what is technically called Bird and Arbor Day in Massachusetts by Town Manager Stephen Crane, state Sen. Eric Lesser, state Rep. Brian Ashe, Parks and Recreation Director and Tree Committee member Bari Jarvis, and members of the Longmeadow Gardeners.
Longmeadow, Marinelli explained, is a Tree City, designated by the Arbor Day Foundation. In addition to hosting a celebration like the one at the Center School, in order to maintain its designation, the town must have someone responsible for the trees (in this case the tree warden and Tree Committee), specific bylaws regarding the care of the trees, and a forestry program with specified funds for purchasing and tending to its trees.
In addition to Marinelli’s presentation, Crane presented an Arbor Day proclamation from the Select Board and students read a pair of poems about trees to the gathered local officials. Afterward, Cub Scouts from Packs 295 and 94 also helped hand out to each student a gift from the Longmeadow Gardeners – White Cedar saplings, also known as Arborvitae. Lesser told the children that when he was in fourth grade at Blueberry Hill, he received a tree in a similar fashion. He planted that tree in his parents’ backyard and it is still standing today.
Marinelli explained that most of the trees students would see in Longmeadow, with the exception of ones in the woods, were planted by the town and that kind of work is a continuous effort. He said he planted 38 new trees in Longmeadow last week, including three new Hackberry – one behind Center School and two more on Bliss Road.
“It’s a very unusual tree in Longmeadow,” he said, explaining the town previously only had one Hackberry tree that had to be cut down last year because it was in poor condition.
With 14,000 trees to care for in town, Marinelli challenged the students to help maintain the trees in town, starting with spreading bark mulch around Center School’s new Hackberry.