Arbor Day is a holiday in which individuals and groups are encouraged to plant and care for trees. The first American Arbor Day was originated in Nebraska City, Nebraska, by J. Sterling Morton and on April 10, 1872, an estimated one million trees were planted in Nebraska.
At Monday's City Commission meeting, Mayor Mark Warba carried on the tradition by declaring April 28, 2017 as Arbor Day in Big Rapids. He notes that trees do a lot that many people take for granted.
“Trees reduce the erosion of our precious topsoil by wind and water, cut heating and cooling costs, moderate the temperature, clean the air, produce oxygen, and provide habitat for wildlife.”
Trees are a renewable resource providing fuel, wood, and paper products and, although they can sometimes be troublesome in an urban setting, Warba says they do a lot for the city as well.
“Trees in our city increase property values, enhance the economic vitality of business areas, and beautify our community.”
Big Rapids Park and Recreation Board member Karen Simmon was on hand to accept the proclamation and she noted that the city has a long tradition of being tree friendly.
“The City of Big Rapids was just informed that we were successful for 39 years participating with Tree City USA.”
The decorative leaves received from Tree City USA by Big Rapids for all 39 years have been mounted on a new sign that will be displayed in the City Hall lobby.
Arbor Day has been traced back to the Spanish village of Mondoñedo when the first documented arbor plantation festival in the world was organized by its mayor in 1594.