Area marks Arbor Day by planting trees, of course


Anita Spring, City of Gainesville Beautification Board chair, shovels dirt into a new tree plot planted at Roper Park during the Arbor Day ceremony on Friday.

DANNY GHITIS/Special to The Sun
Published: Saturday, January 21, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 21, 2006 at 12:01 a.m.
Forty-four trees were planted Friday in several downtown areas, including Roper Park, which received 23 new trees in observance of Arbor Day.
While most of the nation celebrates Arbor Day on the third Friday in April, Florida's Arbor Day is the third Friday in January, probably because of the warmer weather, said Anita Spring, City Beautification Board chairwoman.
Other sites that received young trees were the Thomas Center and the area around Sweetwater Creek.
About 100 people turned out for the ceremony, and some helped plant a 14-foot live oak tree in Roper Park at NE 5th Avenue and 2nd Street.
"It's really important for a community to have something that sets it apart from others around it," said Mayor Pegeen Hanrahan. "I believe, for Gainesville, that really is our tree cover."
Among the spectators were John McAvoy, an insurance salesman, and his wife.
"I think it's important we keep up with the environment and the impact we're making on it," he said.
The event, organized by Gainesville's City Beautification Board and the Parks Division, also commemorated Gainesville's 22 years of being named a Tree City USA. Each pair of trees planted Friday represent a year of being a Tree City USA.
"Being a Tree City USA establishes the point that our government and our community care about trees, and we feel that trees help raise our quality of life," said Patrick Byrne, Parks Division manager, during a telephone interview.
"We really are a city in a forest, and it's very important to maintain that forest," he said.

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