Airway Heights to celebrate Arbor Day with tree planting
Public invited to event at Aspen Grove Park
Airway Heights will celebrate Arbor Day on April 26, and one of the main activities will be the planting of 50 new coniferous trees at Aspen Grove Park, West Eighth Avenue.
The city is inviting the public to participate in the final phase of the project by spreading tree mulch rings around the base of the newly installed trees.
Parks, Recreation and Community Services Supervisor J.C. Kennedy said the tree planting is the city’s way of making the event a dedication ceremony.
The first phase of Aspen Grove’s tree-planting project was completed in October 2013. It was broken into three phases of planting 26 trees per day and was finished Oct. 10. The remainder of the project, which consisted of watering the trees, spreading mulch and cleaning up the site, was completed four days later.
The city awarded Environment West the contract to oversee the second phase of the tree planting back in February.
During the Arbor Day celebration, the city plans to purchase two trees and raffle them off to citizens who attend the tree planting. Kennedy said they have also reached out to the Department of Natural Resources to attend and pass out Tree City USA materials.
Airway Heights currently has Tree City USA status. Kennedy explained that in order to maintain this status, the city has to follow four standards established by The Arbor Day Foundation and the National Association of State Foresters: a tree board or department, a tree care ordinance, a community forestry program with an annual budget of at least $2 per capita and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.
According to Kennedy, the city has a tree board, which acts as the city’s park advisory board and the tree care ordinance has been in place for 12 years. He added that phase 2 of the project accomplishes the third standard.
The city met the fourth requirement after they passed the resolution proclaiming April 25 as Arbor Day, at the April 7 City Council meeting.
The tree planting at Aspen and engaging the public also apply to the fourth standard. Kennedy said the city would also maintain and prune the trees throughout the year.
“These standards were established to ensure that every qualifying community would have a viable tree management plan and program,” Kennedy said.
In addition to the tree planting, there is also an Arbor Day poster contest for students at Sunset Elementary. The Park Advisory Board selects a winner from each class that participates and awards them a certificate. The board will then select a grand champion, who is invited to a City Council meeting to receive recognition and a plaque from Mayor Patrick Rushing.
Al Stover can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.