Florida celebrating Arbor Day
The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago; the second best time is now. On Friday, January 15th, Florida’s Arbor Day, we are reminded of the impacts that trees and forest-related industries have had on our community.
Arbor Day is an annual observance that celebrates the role of trees in our lives and promotes tree planting and care. Today, all 50 states in the U.S. have an official Arbor Day, usually at a time of year that has the correct conditions for planting trees. For Florida, the ideal tree planting time is January, so Florida’s Arbor Day is celebrated on the third Friday of the month. The first Arbor Day celebration in Florida was held in DeFuniak Springs in 1886.
“Arbor Day is all about celebrating the countless ways trees benefit our lives,” said Florida State Forester Jim Karels. “Trees moderate temperature extremes, reduce storm water runoff, absorb air pollutants and create a more pleasant environment.”
The Florida Forest Service is celebrating Arbor Day with events, tree plantings, seedling giveaways and more in Bay, Calhoun, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Walton and Washington County.
Foresters in the district will be giving away trees in one-gallon containers beginning at 9:00 a.m. on:
Friday, January 15th at the Cottondale City Hall;
Friday, January 15th at the Washington County Agriculture Center in Chipley;
Friday, January 22nd at the Blountstown Piggly Wiggly parking lot;
Friday, January 29th – Sunday, January 31st at the Chautauqua Festival in Defuniak Springs;
Wednesday, February 10th at Ed Walline Park in Santa Rosa Beach.
This is a great opportunity for the public not only to commemorate the good things that come from trees but also to get to know your county forester and what they can do for you. Foresters will be on hand to offer advice such as planting and caring for your trees or to answer any questions. Tree species offered will be flowering dogwood, red maple, fringe tree (Greybeard), eastern redbud, weeping willow, live oak and east Palatka holly.
“Trees planted on Arbor Day show an appreciation for future generations,” said Johnny Sabo, Chipola Forestry Center Manager. “The simple act of planting a tree represents a belief that the tree will someday provide wildlife habitat, shelter from wind and sun, beauty and inspiration for generations to come.”
Along with the tree giveaways, several foresters will be offering Tree Planting Ceremonies at a number schools, libraries and locations across the district; one which includes planting 2000 longleaf pines at the Conservation Park in Panama City Beach on Saturday, January 16th, with the Panama City Beach Parks and Recreation Department, a local chapter of Girl Scouts and Girls Inc.
Another Tree Planting Ceremony, in conjunction with the annual Chautauqua Assembly in Defuniak Springs, will be held with Jerry Mathers, Leave it to Beaver child star on Friday, January 29th at 1:00 p.m. During the Chautauqua Festival, The Florida Forest Service will have an indoor nature trail exhibit that will be fun for all ages.
For more details about Arbor Day events or for information about your trees, contact your local county forester. For more information about the Florida Forest Service, visit www.FloridaForestService.com or call Public Information Officer, Hannah Anderson at (850) 625-6621.
The Florida Forest Service manages more than 1 million acres of public forest land while protecting 26 million acres of homes, forestland and natural resources from the devastating effects of wildfire.
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