Harford County celebrated Arbor Day 2014 on Good Friday, as volunteers of all ages gathered at the Chapel Road Sports Complex in Havre de Grace to plant hundreds of seedlings and young trees.
Though skies were partly cloudy and temperatures unseasonably cool, there was plenty of heat and brightness generated as the planters got to work with shovels and stakes following a ceremonial tree-planting to kick off the annual event.
This was the 11th year for the Arbor Day celebration for Harford County, and approximately 200 people helped plant the 400 seedlings and 130 larger landscape trees.
The seedlings were planted in a new forest adjacent to a stream and shade trees near a pedestrian walkway and sports fields.
Among the species planted were silky dogwood, pin oak, river birch, sycamore and willow oak. The ceremonial tree planted was a Flashfire sugar maple.
"These trees will provide a variety of benefits for the park including shade, filtering the air and help with controlling stormwater," Jennifer Wilson, of the Harford County Department of Planning and Zoning, which organized the event, said
Groups participating included Cub Pack 978 from Joppa, Daisy Troop 118 from Havre de Grace and the 4-H group Cloverettes and Friends.
Michael Martz and his wife, Carol, who live in Aberdeen, said they come to the park to walk their dog regularly and wanted to participate in Arbor Day to give back to the community and help beautify the park.
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Frank Lopez from the Department of Natural Resources Forest Service presented the Tree City USA award to Wilson from the National Arbor Day Foundation.
Wilson noted prior to the event that a Tree City USA designation recognizes the work of elected officials, staff and citizens who plant and care for the community forest.
The county also received a the P.L.A.N.T. Award, which stands for People Loving And Nurturing Trees.
Booths were set up at the event by Eden Mill Nature Center, Anita Leight Estuary Center, BGE, Maryland Cooperative Extension Service and Harford County Master Gardeners and the Forestry Conservancy District Board for Harford County.
The Harford County Arbor Day Celebration and Conservation Project was sponsored by Harford County government and the Harford County Forestry Board.
"I want to thank everyone for their hard work," Wilson said in a follow-up statement. "This event was a success because of the collaboration between several departments including: Planning and Zoning, Parks & Recreation, Sustainability Office and Maryland Department of Natural Resources Forest Service. We also had support from the Department of Highways and community partners with Tim Smith and Havre de Grace Recreation Committee."
The Arbor Day Foundation began in 1972 on the 100th anniversary of the first Arbor Day. The foundation recognizes more than 3,400 communities through the Tree City USA program, which honors cities committed to planting trees.