Members of city council, several municipal staff and about 40 kids from kindergarten through fifth grade from the Gulfport Recreation Center’s School Year Child Care Program attended the ceremony for Arbor Day.
s part of Gulfport’s official Arbor Day celebration on Friday, January 19, a new live oak was strategically placed and planted across from a bench in a small city park so it will provide shade when it matures.
The edge of the Pocket Park borders Gulfport Boulevard South and is located across the street from the entrance to the Pasadena Yacht and Country Club.
Members of city council, several municipal staff and about 40 kids from kindergarten through fifth grade from the Gulfport Recreation Center’s School Year Child Care Program attended the ceremony that began at 3:30 p.m.
In addition to a short speech by Mayor Sam Henderson, he and councilmembers Yolanda Roman and Michael Fridovich used ceremonial golden shovels to move real dirt to help plant the tree. Then, participants enjoyed cookies, punch and were able to take home two types of packaged tree seedlings for additional planting.
Since 1976, the national Arbor Day Foundation has designated more than 3,400 cities and towns across America, like Gulfport, as Tree City USA communities. According to the foundation’s website, the movement “provides the framework necessary for communities to manage and expand their public trees.” To qualify, a city must maintain a tree board or department, have a community tree ordinance, spend at least $2 per person on urban forestry and celebrate of Arbor Day.
Nationally, Arbor Day is observed on the last Friday of April, which this year is April 27. Communities can adjust the date depending on when spring arrives locally.
Cadence Rowell, foreground, reads a poem about Arbor Day entitled, “Advice from a Tree” while, from left, Christina Baker and Juna Hurst wait their turn as readers at Gulfport’s annual tree planting ceremony. All three are fifth graders at the Gulfport Recreation Center’s School Year Child Care Program. The poem contains these lines: “Feel the wind and the sun, and delight in their presence. Be flexible. Remember your roots. Enjoy the view!”
From left, councilmembers Yolanda Roman and Michael Fridovich assist Mayor Sam Henderson in planting a small live oak in Pocket Park as part of the city’s Arbor Day celebration on Friday, January 19. Roman’s dog Duchess assisted. After planting, the tree was equipped with a “vest” that straps around the trunk called a Treegator. “It holds 20 gallons of water” and slowly hydrates the tree, said Brian Van Slyke, Gulfport’s Parks Department crew leader. “It needs to be refilled every couple of days.”