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Ten Years as a Tree City USA

Ten Years as a Tree City USA

(C. Proxmire, Ferndale 115 News, June 1, 2012 ed)

Though technically Arbor Day is the last Friday in April, the Ferndale DPW (Department of Public Works) waited until a month later to do this year’s annual tree planting in the Arbor Day Forest.  The May 25th planting gave them more sunshine and better temperatures to help the new additions take root.

Students from Mr. William’s class at Coolidge and Ms. William’s Coolidge Green Beans Club came to assist with the planting of two Heritage Maple Birches.

The DPW teamed up with Worry Free to make the event fun and educational for the youngsters, who also enjoyed playing on the swing set, digging for worms and shoveling dirt in the hole.

A new sign was added to the park this year, this one in commemoration of Ferndale being a Tree City USA for ten years.  2012 marks the tenth consecutive year for Ferndale, though in the 1970s Ferndale was among the first cities to recognize Arbor Day and to plant trees in its honor.

“Not all of the trees have made it,” said Parks and Forestry Supervisor Shaun Slocum.  “But I’d say there’s about a dozen left that have.  Most of the trees are here in Oppenheim Park, but there are a couple at what used to be Wilson School.”  The Arbor Day Forest lies within Oppenheim Park, which runs along St. Louis Street, behind Machpelah Cemetery. 

Arbor Day is a tradition of tree-planting that began in 1854 when J. Sterling Morton moved from Detroit to Nebraska and noticed that there weren’t nearly as many trees there.  The contentious Michigander began planting trees in his new home state, and the idea caught on.  Now the last Friday in April is known as Arbor Day, and people far and wide plant trees for the benefit of the earth and their communities.

The Arbor Day Foundation has lots of information on their website, including 15 benefits of being a Tree City.  Included among those are that it “Touches the lives of people within the community who benefit daily from cleaner air, shadier streets, and aesthetic beauty that healthy, well-managed urban forests provide,” and that it “Can make a strong contribution to a community’s pride.”  Find out more about Tree City USA at

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