Moorestown Township will host an Arbor Day celebration on April 29, when three willow oaks donated by the Moorestown Improvement Association (MIA) and two members of the Garden Club will be planted and students will sing and read poetry.
As described by almanac.com, Arbor Day is a holiday that celebrates nature and is designed to encourage people to plant trees. A popular tradition is to plant a tree in honor of or in memory of a loved one. Tree committee member Sandra Daniels explained what residents can expect from the event.
“The kids are going to perform; some of them are going to sing,” she said. “They’re going to recite original poems. The appearance committee of the township gives an award to whoever they (choose) every year.”
The celebration is sponsored by Moorestown’s Tree Planting and Preservation Committee, the Moorestown Garden Club, the Moorestown Improvement Association and the township’s public works department. Tree committee Chair John Gibson will speak about the group’s participation in the Tree City America program, and a garden club member will share the history of Arbor Day.
The willow oaks, planted in honor of late Moorestown resident Ed Armstead and spouses of garden club members, are native trees. Daniels noted how the committee and garden club plant no more than three trees every Arbor Day. The committee selects a different school to hold the event each year.
“We’ve done all the elementary schools; Baker and Roberts,” Daniels said. “Last year it was at Roberts. We’ve done it at the Upper Elementary School twice (and) we’ve done it at the middle school twice. It’s more of the elementary level.”
According to nature.org, trees provide benefits to the environment and community that include: eating greenhouse gasses that cause climate change; boosting mental health while benefitting physical health; cleaning air for easier breathing; providing shelter to wildlife; and filtering water, which helps clean the drinking supply. Daniels noted additional factors.
“Trees provide shade, they provide shelter, they have beauty and they make a difference in your air conditioning in your house in the summertime because they shade the house so you don’t need as much air conditioning,” she explained. Preparations for the Arbor Day event start in January.
“We start figuring, ‘Okay, where are we going to do it? What schools might be interested?’ … ” Daniels noted. “And (we) put out feelers and decide what area maybe needs some trees more than others. We try to do it at the schools, especially the elementary level, because the kids get so excited.”
Daniels reflected on tree committee goals.
“ … One of our accomplishments was doing (the) tree inventory for the town, which was all of the public trees, and we inventoried their name, their height, their width, the condition of the trees and that took us about four years,” she said.
“The other goal that we met was passing a tree ordinance to protect the trees,” Daniels added. “Someone can’t come and just take it down or do anything to it without permission from the township. That was a goal of the tree committee, and our goal was to preserve the trees as much as possible and to plant more, which we do.”
The Arbor Day celebration will begin at 10 a.m. at South Valley Elementary School.