City of Turlock officials and local students gathered at Donnelly Park on Wednesday to pay tribute to one of the city’s most valuable resources: its trees.
Turlock Unified School District students participating in the City of Turlock’s after-school program at Crowell Elementary School joined Mayor Amy Bublak and representatives from the Parks, Recreation and Public Facilities Department in planting 20 trees, contributing to the city’s already-thriving urban forest.
Turlock’s annual Arbor Day celebration is part of its commitment to being a Tree City USA member. Turlock first became a Tree City USA member in 1991, and in order to gain this recognition a town must have a Tree Board or department, a Community Tree Ordinance, a Community Forestry Program with a budget of $2 per capita and an Arbor Day Observance and Proclamation.
On Wednesday, students received a brief history on the origins of National Arbor Day. The event carried on the tradition of the holiday, first held on April 10, 1872 in Nebraska City. On that fateful day, Julius Sterling Morton, a Nebraska newspaper editor who later served as President Grover Cleveland's Secretary of Agriculture, organized a city-wide planting effort where more than 1 million trees were planted.
This year marks the 150th anniversary of the tree holiday.
“Trees, wherever they’re planted, are a source of joy and spiritual renewal. So, I and our Council and our City really appreciate the fact that you guys are willing to do this for us, help us do a little bit more and create some memories,” said Mayor Bublak to the students. “When you come back with your significant other later in life and your kids, you’ll be able to point to that (tree) and that will be important.”