Public invited to events celebrating Arbor Day

COVINGTON - The cities of Oxford and Covington will celebrate Arbor Day with separate ceremonies next week.

Both events are free and open to the public.

The city of Covington's Arbor Day celebration will take place at 11 a.m. Feb. 15, the date officially recognized as Georgia Arbor Day.

The event will start with the planting of a tree in honor of former Keep Covington-Newton Beautiful board member Maude Grimes.

The planting will take place on Clark Street behind Bethlehem Baptist Church.

"Several trees were planted there last year. We're replacing a tree that died. We won't plant additional trees because of the weather not being suitable," said event organizer Debbie Dial with the city's Building and Zoning department.

After the planting, the ceremony will move to The Center for Community Preservation and Planning on Washington Street for a formal program and luncheon.

No further details were available by press time.

The city of Oxford's festivities will take place at 10 a.m. Feb. 16 at a small park on George Street between Wesley and Asbury streets.

Sponsored by the City of Oxford Trees, Parks and Recreation Board, the event will include an educational program on tree pruning, planting native species and controlling invasive plants.

The program will be taught by Beryl Budd, an urban forester with the Georgia Forestry Commission, and by Dan Bauer of Bartlett's Tree Service.

During the celebration, the Tree Board will recognize students from Palmer Stone Elementary who participated in a poster contest.

Mayor Jerry Roseberry will read a proclamation and receive the annual Tree City USA award.

Hot drinks will be served and free tree seedlings will be handed out to those who attend.

Arbor Day is a nationally-celebrated observance that encourages tree planting and care.

Founded by Nebraskan J. Sterling Morton in 1872, National Arbor Day is celebrated each year on the last Friday in April.

Celebration dates for specific states vary depending on the local climate.

This year Georgia's Arbor Day theme is "Connect and Collaborate," and is intended to highlight the need for collaboration on smart tree management during the drought.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.