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City of New Port Richey to Celebrate Arbor Day

By Meaghan Goepferich Posted on January 7, 2020

Members of the city staff and city council, the city’s Environmental Committee, and the fourth grade class from Genesis Elementary School will celebrate Arbor Day in New Port Richey on Friday, Jan. 17, 2020 at 11 a.m. This will be the city’s 31st consecutive year of celebrating Arbor Day, which is part of the recognition the city received in the early 1990s as a “Tree City USA.”

City of New Port Richey to Celebrate Arbor Day

The public is invited to join these festivities in Frances Avenue Park (5580 Frances Ave., NPR 34653) which is located on Louisiana Avenue in New Port Richey–just east of Madison and west of Gulf Middle School–to recognize the importance of trees in our environment and in our world.  

Former City Council member and chair of the committee, Dell Dechant, will also say a few words about the historic and contemporary context of the event and the City’s reforestation project. Also on the program will be Mayor Rob Marlowe and  City Manager Debbie Manns.

After the children’s program about trees and what they do to help our environment thrive, the city’s Public Works department and the children will plant new trees in celebration of Arbor Day and the city’s designation as a National Tree City USA.
In 1854 J. Sterling Morton moved from Detroit to the area that is now the state of Nebraska. At that time there were virtually no trees in the area and he and the other pioneers desired to have them in their surroundings. They also noticed that trees were needed to act as windbreaks to stabilize the soil and to provide shade from the sun, fuel and building materials. Morton planted many trees around his own home but wanted to encourage and enable others to do the same.

At a Nebraska State Board of Agriculture meeting on January 4, 1872, he proposed a holiday to plant trees on April 10, 1872. This was known as “Arbor Day” and prizes were awarded to the counties and individuals who planted the most trees on the day. A total of about one million trees were planted in Nebraska on the first Arbor Day.

All states in the country now have an official Arbor Day, usually at a time of year that has the correct climatological conditions for planting trees. Many observations of this day are in April, but Florida is one of nearly twenty other states that celebrates Arbor Day at different times of the year. Similar events to encourage the planting or care of trees are arranged in many countries around the world. The dates are usually chosen to coincide with the optimal season for planting or caring for native trees.

Arbor Day is symbolized by the trees that are planted on the day or as a result of fundraising activities. The official Arbor Day logo shows a mature deciduous tree and the words “celebrate Arbor Day.” The symbol of the Arbor Day Foundation is a similar tree in a circle, symbolizing the importance of trees to the whole planet. Local initiatives may use their state tree as a symbol.

This year, local agrarian groups will distribute small Milkweed seed packets and Milkweed seedlings to those who attend.  Seedling supply is somewhat limited, and will each attendee will receive one seedling, as supplies last.

Milkweed is a necessary plant for the imperiled Monarch Butterfly – supplying nectar and habitat for adult Monarchs, food for larvae (caterpillars), and places to establish chrysalises (cocoons) for the butterflies. The gifting of Milkweed seeds and seedlings to participants is part of the City’s pursuit of recognition as a Monarch City, USA. Following the recommendation of the Environmental Committee, the City has submitted an application for this recognition