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City of Knoxville, Tennessee
Madeline Rogero, Mayor

For Immediate Release
Arbor Day Celebration Friday at Ijams
April 24, 2008 - The City of Knoxville’s Tree Board is sponsoring its annual Arbor Day Celebration 12:30 p.m. Friday, April 25, at the Ijams Nature Center.

The event will feature performances by student choral groups from Farragut Middle School, Cedar Bluff Intermediate Schools and Karns Elementary School and there will also be awards presentations to middle and elementary school students who won the Arbor Day Poster Contests.

The annual celebration, presided over by longtime community volunteer and Knoxville Tree Board member Dessa E. Blair, promotes the benefits of trees in our community and provides a vehicle for communicating information on tree planting procedures, species selection and maintenance.

“This is an important event for us because it recognizes Arbor Day and promotes the benefits of trees and the Tree Board’s role in promoting the planting of trees,” said City Tree Board Chairman Tom Wolf. “Healthy trees reduce air and noise pollution, provide energy-saving shade and cooling, furnish habitat for wildlife, improve water quality and enhance property values.”

According to David Brace, deputy director of the City of Knoxville Public Service Department, the city plants approximately $45,000 worth of trees annually and noted that they are especially important to the character of many of the city’s older and historic neighborhoods.

“Our city’s numerous boulevards, parks and greenways are all enhanced by the health, maintenance and type of trees located in these public spaces,” Brace said.

The City of Knoxville will receive its latest Tree City USA award from the National Arbor Foundation, recognizing its tree planting efforts, during Friday’s event.

Knoxville is one of five Tennessee cities that have received the Tree City honor from the National Arbor Foundation. The others include Nashville, Chattanooga, Jackson and Clarksville.

The National Arbor Foundation is dedicated to promoting the value of trees and encouraging people to plant and nurture trees.

The first Arbor Day was celebrated in Nebraska in 1872 as a result of the efforts of Arbor Day Founder J. Sterling Morton who encouraged the state’s residents to “set aside one day to plant trees, both forest and fruit.”

The idea was so popular that by 1920 nearly every state celebrated Arbor Day. Today all 50 states do as well as several other nations.

The City’s Tree Board was created to formulate a master street tree plan for city-owned property. The board assists in disseminating news and information regarding the selection, planting, establishment and maintenance of trees.

It also advises City Council on desirable legislation concerning the city’s tree program.

In addition to the music and awards presentations there will be speakers from the City, Knox County and from the Tree Board taking part in the ceremony.

Fittingly the Arbor Day celebration will end with a tree planting.
For Immediate Release
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