To celebrate ash tree awareness, Governor Shumlin has designated Friday, May 2 as Vermont’s official 2014 Arbor Day. This year’s Arbor Day theme celebrates Vermont’s 160 million ash trees (genus Fraxinus) and the benefits they bring. Vermont’s official Arbor Day celebration will be held in Johnson this year to recognize the community’s proactive initiatives and support local efforts to prepare for the possible arrival of emerald ash borer (EAB). Arbor Day also marks the culmination of Ash Tree Awareness Week in Vermont.
Johnson was chosen as the location for this year’s celebration to highlight its leadership in promoting healthy forests. Local leaders in Johnson are currently spearheading a five-town initiative with Hyde Park, Fletcher, Morrisville, and Cambridge that focuses on planning for the arrival of EAB, an invasive forest pest which threatens all ash trees. All five towns are conducting ash tree inventories and developing outreach in anticipation of written preparedness plans. Other partners include Vermont Electric Coop, Lamoille County Planning Commission, and VT Cartography. Friday’s celebration plans include the planting of two trees with students from Johnson Elementary School, a presentation by Johnson State College students about a campus ash tree inventory they conducted, and special EAB-themed fare offered by local restaurants. The celebration will continue on Saturday, in conjunction with Green Up Day, including public displays about ash trees and EAB and a “sASHay” down Main Street to highlight the town’s new downtown streetscape, which features about 60 new trees.
The Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation sponsors an annual youth Arbor Day Growing Works of Art contest for grades 1-8 in conjunction with Arbor Day festivities. This year’s contest theme celebrated the benefits of Vermont’s ash trees. The seven winners drew a picture of an ash tree and included five facts about the benefits that ash trees provide. Their creations were made into a set of tree trading cards that will be collected and enjoyed by students across the state. Close to a dozen Vermont communities, utilities, and campuses are also being acknowledged by the Arbor Day Foundation for the proactive care and management of trees. For more information about the Growing Works of Art Contest and Arbor Day Foundation awards visit www.vtcommunityforestry.org.
Governor Shumlin encourages Vermonters to celebrate and recognize the valuable contribution of trees.
While the official state Arbor Day Ceremony will take place in Johnson, events and celebrations will be held across the state. Visit www.vtinvasives.org to find an event near you.