CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Friday is Arbor Day, a day celebrated all over the world as an opportunity to plant trees and hope for the future of the planet.
2022 marks the 150th anniversary of the first Arbor Day in America. Settlers in Nebraska in the late 19th century began the tradition first celebrated in 1872. An estimated one million trees were planted in Nebraska that day. By 1920 more than 45 states were celebrating Arbor Day.
There are a number of local events all across western Massachusetts Friday to mark the day.
Tree plantings and ceremonies are scheduled in Holyoke, Montague, Miller’s Falls, West Springfield and Springfield.
Springfield Mayor Sarno and the Parks Department held two tree planting events. Students at Daniel B. Brunton School will hold a ceremony and plant a Black Tupelo tree beginning at 10 a.m. Each student in attendance will receive a Douglas Fir tree seedling.
From 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Gerrish Park located on 308 Walnut Street in Springfield workers from Arbortech Tree Services removed hazardous trees and trimming existing trees to improve the safety and enjoyment of the Park. An October Glory red maple tree donated by Arbortech Tree Services, LLC was also be planted at the park.
“The different variety of trees and the aspect of what they provide to the community, not only with shade, not only with providing oxygen for us and air to breathe, really just adding a nice value to the city. Creating a nice urban environment to walk around and be in,” said Danny Briggs of Arbortech Tree Services.
In Northampton, you can pick up a tree whip of your own for free from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. They have 600 tree-starters to give away with six species to choose from.
Mayor Garcia, the Holyoke Forestry Department, State Representative Patricia Duffy and members of the Conservation and Sustainability Commission planted trees from 1 to 3 p.m. at Kennedy Park located on 84 Lincoln Street.
Valley Opportunity Council (VOC) along with the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Greening the Gateway Cities program celebrated Arbor Day with a tree planting with children of the VOC Churchill early education center at 11 a.m. at Churchill Green, Franklin Street in Holyoke.
Starting at 5:30 p.m., VOC is hosting an Arbor Day event for parents, families, and the community with snacks, crafts, and prizes for kids at Churchill Green, Franklin Street in Holyoke.
West Springfield’s town common is getting a little more green this Arbor Day. Eversource is working with the city to plant 10 new trees, replacing ones destroyed by recent storms.
However Arborist Barry Croke has advice for those with a green thumb: plan before you plant, “It’s important to plan before you plant because oftentimes if the wrong tree is in the wrong place, they have a lot of conflicts with either road sides, utility wires.”
It’s also important to think about the future, consider the ultimate size of the tree and where it will be placed.
“We want to be smart for the future. So we used to plant trees everywhere, I mean we put them everywhere! and of course we don’t think about the generations that are coming.. we’re planting gigantic oaks under wires,” said Bob Begley, Deputy Director of Grounds and Tree Warden in West Springfield.
If you are interested in getting out your shovel to plant a tree, the first thing you should do is contact Dig Safe at 811 to make sure no utility lines are in your way. Next, contact your town, which typically knows about the placement of water and fiber optic lines. Finally, think about the ultimate size of the tree.
Millers Falls planted a Japanese Lilac tree on East Main Street at 5:15 p.m. The Town hosted the event to also promote downtown businesses ahead of Mother’s Day shopping.
22News caught up with Turners Falls firefighter who was spending his morning planting for the future at the Turners Falls Fire Department.
“I’m also on the tree commission here for the town of Montague. and we’ve got eight trees we’re putting in, it’s Arbor Day today. The tree commission has been working with the DPW for trees to put in all the villages here in Montague,” said Firefighter and EMT Walker Korby.