Statesboro will become greener this weekend when festivities kick-off for 2012 Arbor Day celebrations.
Four live oak trees are scheduled to be planted Friday alongside Blue Devil Way, leading into Statesboro High School, during an Arbor Day Tree Planting Ceremony hosted by The City of Statesboro and The Georgia Southern Botanical Garden.
The 11 a.m. ceremony will include an official proclamation by Mayor Joe Brannen, speeches, and the tree-planting itself — done with the assistance of Boy Scouts from local Troop #935.
The event will take place on a 140th anniversary of the holiday meant to educate people about the importance of trees.
“Tree canopy, when groups of trees form a cover over an area, is beneficial for helping absorb and filter rainwater that could cause pollutants to enter our rivers, lakes, and streams,” said Carolyn Altman, Director of the Georgia Southern Botanical Garden. “Trees also do a lot of important infrastructure work. Tree canopy helps lower heating and cooling costs, minimize noise pollution, and increase property values within the area.”
For the City of Statesboro, the event will serve as a symbol of its renewed commitment to protecting green space within the city limits. City Council approved last year modifications to Statesboro’s tree ordinance that will require more tree canopy be included on developed lots.
Brannen spoke about the upcoming event during Council’s Feb. 7 meeting.
“Trees can reduce erosion of our top soil by wind and water, clean the air and provide habitat for local wildlife. Trees in our city enhance the economic vitality of business areas and beautify our community,” he said. “I urge all citizens to celebrate Arbor Day and support efforts to protect our trees and woodlands. And I urge all citizens to plant and care for trees to promote the well-being of this and future generations.”
As part of the program, Statesboro Tree Board Chairman Henry Clay and Statesboro High School students Bessie Roundtree and Victoria Johnson will deliver speeches on the importance of trees and tree canopy, according to Altman.
The oaks being planted will be dedicated to the late Wyatt Johnston, a long-time Tree Board member, she said.
Friday’s event will be the first of two Arbor Day celebrations held this weekend.
Keep Bulloch Beautiful and The City of Statesboro will host an annual Arbor Day event Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the Willie McTell Trail in front of the now-closed French Quarter building downtown.
The free celebration will include an assortment of activities, including: tree plantings, seedling giveaways, flower pot painting and the opportunity to browse and purchase seasonal plants and trees.
Jeff Harrison can be reached at (912) 489-9454.