By Amy Batista, Special Writer
CRANBURY – It’s heat tolerant, drought tolerant and stress tolerant. In fact, it’s a resilient cherry tree – one that might even have challenged George Washington’s prowess with an ax.
In honor of this year’s Arbor Day, the township now has its own Weeping Higan cherry tree.
Mayor Dan Mulligan, Deputy Mayor Glenn Johnson, along with other local township officials, employees, police department, public works department, Shade Tree Committee members, residents, parents, and Cranbury School District second-graders joined the celebration April 29 at Memorial Park. Lt. Frank Dillane was the honored guest.
“I hope to see this tree live here for a long time and grow up pretty fast,” said Shade Tree Commission Chairwoman Kathy Easton to the second-graders. “So keep your eye on the tree and see how you measure up to it.”
Mayor Mulligan read a proclamation proclaiming April 29 as Arbor Day.
“In 1872, J Sterling Morton proposed to the Nebraska Board of Agriculture that a special day be set aside for the planting of trees,” he said, as he read the proclamation. “This holiday, called Arbor Day, was first observed with the planting of more than a million trees in Nebraska.”
He said that Arbor Day is now observed throughout the nation and the world.
“Trees can reduce the erosion of our precious topsoil by wind and water, cut heating and cooling costs, moderate the temperature, clean the air, produce oxygen and provide habitats for wildlife,” he said. “Trees are a renewable resource giving us paper, wood for our homes, fuel for our fires and countless other wood products.”
The mayor said that trees help increase property values, enhance the economic vitality of business areas, and beautify the community.
“Trees, whenever they are planted, are a source of joy and spiritual renewal,” he said.
Mayor Mulligan urged all citizens to support efforts to protect the community’s trees and woodlands and to support the city’s forestry program. He further urged residents to plant trees to gladden hearts and promote the well being of present and future generations.
Lt. Frank Dillane, who has served with the police department for 30 years and who is retiring May 1 was the special honoree for the event.
“One of the beautiful things about seeing a tree being planted today in honor of Arbor Day is that it’s a reminder of children like yourselves throughout the years I’ve seen children grow up and become wonderful adults,” said Lt. Dillane. “Those of you here today can watch this tree grow up as you become adults yourselves and it will be here as a constant reminder of that.”
The students next sang the song “The Green Leaves Green All Around” and then a read a poem called “Plant a Tree For Me.” Students held up the drawings of their tree posters in a half circle to allow the attendees to walk around and view them followed by the final layer of the topsoil being put on the planted tree by officials and children who wanted to assist.
Norway Spruce seedlings were handed out at the end of the celebration.
By Amy Batista, Special Writer