Governor Bill Haslam has proclaimed Friday as Arbor Day in Tennessee, to recognize the importance of trees to the state. This year’s state celebration will be held in Memphis, which is also celebrating its first year as a designated Tree City USA community.
“Arbor Day is important for reminding us how every community, regardless of size, benefits environmentally and economically from trees,” Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson said. “We’re committed to improving and protecting our forest resources, both in rural and urban areas, and are proud to join the city of Memphis and their tree board to recognize Arbor Day.”
The Arbor Day celebration, hosted by the City of Memphis Tree Board and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, will take place on Friday at 10 a.m. CST at the Memphis Botanic Garden. Memphis earned the honor of hosting this year’s state Arbor Day celebration by being recognized as the state’s Tree Board of the Year in 2013. Proclamations will be presented by state and local officials, along with a presentation of awards and honors and the reading of Shel Silverstein’s “Giving Tree” poem. The program will be followed by a tree planting ceremony and refreshments.
Citizens can also show their support for Arbor Day by visiting local retail nurseries and garden centers for Tennessee grown trees. Locally-grown trees not only add value to a home, but help ensure success with a quality product that is already acclimated to Tennessee’s growing conditions. A list of nurseries and garden centers with locally-grown trees is available at www.picktnproducts.org.
Arbor Day is a national observance, which is recognized at different times based on a region’s ideal conditions and climate for tree planting and care. Arbor Day in Tennessee is always recognized the first Friday in March.
TDA’s Division of Forestry, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary as a state agency, works to protect and enhance forests that cover 14 million acres and provide more than 60,000 jobs in Tennessee. Forests also help promote clean water, wildlife habitat and recreation. Last year, TDA awarded more than $113,358 in Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program grants for 15 urban tree projects statewide.
More information on the Division of Forestry and Arbor Day can be found at www.TN.gov/agriculture/forestry or www.arborday.org.