Arbor 2MADISONVILLE, Ky. (4/13/18) — City and county officials joined Grapevine Elementary School students to celebrate Arbor Day at Madisonville City Park during Thursday’s picture-perfect weather.

Chief Forester Chris Oelschlager with the Madisonville West Region Kentucky Division of Forestry spoke to the children about the importance of trees in providing oxygen and shade. The Cardinal Garden club members were busy bagging and sorting tree saplings to give away during the celebration.

“In Kentucky, Arbor Day is celebrated the first Friday in April,” Oelschlager said. “The kids were on spring break, and we felt it was important for them to be here so they can take part in the tree planting.”

Grapevine students in grades 4-5 helped Madisonville Tree Board member Rich Haney, who is also a retired forester, break up the dirt with shovels and plant the willow oak sapling near the new playground. The tree was raised in the state’s nursery near Kentucky Lake. Haney explained the willow needed to be placed level in the ground. He had a bucket of water handy for the youth to add to the tree’s roots.

“I’m glad you guys are here,” Madisonville Mayor David Jackson said to the schoolchildren. “You guys are the future — trees are our future, too. We’ll have fun planting this tree.”

The mayor cited the Arbor Day proclamation aloud, noting the first U.S. Arbor Day launched in Nebraska resulted in the planting of 1 million trees April 10, 1872, and that trees provide a source of joy to the area.

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Oelschalger, also a tree board member, said the willow would put out shade and produce acorns for the ducks at the park.

“This tree is going to grow big and strong and be here for a really long time,” she said, challenging the youth to stop by the park, watch it grow and keep an eye out for it.

“It’s important to have the tree planted right so that it has a good chance to grow,” she said.

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Doreen Dennis
SurfKY News Reporter
Region 2

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