'Trees are our life'
Public invited to events for Arbor Day

COVINGTON - Several local events are taking place to celebrate Arbor Day, which will be observed in Georgia on Friday.

The city of Covington, Newton County, Keep Covington-Newton Beautiful and the Georgia Forestry Commission will host an Arbor Day celebration at 11 a.m. Friday at Washington Street Community Center, located at 4138 School St.

This year's theme is "Be Green, Save Green." Newton County Arborist Debbie Bell will give a presentation on how planting trees can save money, as well as tips on drought-resistant landscaping.

In addition, the Covington Tree Preservation Board will announce winners of the Tree Steward Award, which is given to businesses that excel in quality and maintenance of landscape.

Light refreshments will be served.

Trees have already been planted around town in celebration of Arbor Day, at locations such as Washington Street Community Center, Chimney Park, Cottage Links of Corrydell and Academy Springs Park.

Groups involved in donations or plantings include Bartlett Tree Experts, Trees Covington, the city of Covington, Keep Covington-Newton Beautiful, Hands on Newton, Cub Scout Pack 747 and Boy Scout Troop 748, the Covington Service Guild and the Covington Tree Preservation Board.

The city of Oxford Trees, Parks and Recreation Board will host its own Arbor Day celebration from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at George Street Park, located between Asbury and Wesley streets.

The event will include a public education program on tree care and planting, led by Beryl Budd and Connie Head with the Georgia Forestry Commission, along with Ian Campbell of Bartlett Tree Experts. There will also be children's activities.

Members of the public will receive free tree seedlings and T-shirts for attending.

Mayor Jerry Roseberry will read a Proclamation of Arbor Day and receive the annual Tree City USA award.

"Oxford has more than 1,650 city-owned trees growing along street rights of way, in parks, around city offices and facilities, and in the historic cemetery," said Eve Mullen, chair of the Oxford Tree Board. "Trees are our life and our heritage. We feel it is imperative that we maintain our impressive tree canopy for the benefit of everyone in Oxford now and for Oxford's future generations."

Finally, Mansfield Elementary School will celebrate the completion of its Making the Shade Project, which entailed the planting of 40 trees on the playground, with a community-wide event at 1:30 p.m. Feb. 27 in the school gym.

Each student will receive a tree seedling to plant at home.

All events are free and open to the public.

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

SideBar: Why trees are important

· A large, healthy tree can produce enough oxygen each day for 18 people.

· Trees absorb carbon monoxide and polluting particulates. Deciduous trees remove up to 9 percent of particulates and evergreens remove up to 13 percent of particulates from the air.

· A tree's leaves, branches and trunk intercept between 7 and 22 percent of rainfall and release it slowly, substantially reducing storm water runoff.

· Trees add between 4 and 27 percent in property value to a single-family residence, and a single tree can add up to 9 percent to the value of a residential property. A hardwood tree on a site adds $333 to the property value, and a pine adds $257.

· Trees reduce utility costs by providing shade and cooling the environment.

Information provided by Oxford Tree Board Chairman Eve Mullen and Newton County Arborist Debbie Bell