Cities to celebrate Arbor Day

Cities in Butts County are recognizing Friday, Feb. 17, as Arbor Day 2012.

The City of Jackson will host a tree-planting ceremony Friday at 1 p.m. The City of Flovilla will be planting trees in honor of past council members the same day, at 11:30 a.m.

Jenkinsburg city officials will be planting a tree at City Hall, at 11 a.m., according to City Clerk Laurie Yaw.

Jackson’s event will be held at the site of the city’s new property on Ga. Highway 16 at the corner of 8th Street, referred to by some as the Pep Pond. The site has recently been cleared and drained as the city makes preparations to turn the property into a passive park.

In years past, the Jackson Arbor Day observance has been held at the City Cemetery.

During the Arbor Day celebration, City of Jackson crews will be planting red maple trees. Two of the area’s garden clubs -- the Mimosa Garden Club and the Azalea Garden Club -- will also be involved in handing out red maple seedlings, according to Azalea member Dottie McMichael.

“We want to try to encourage more people to come out and participate,” said McMichael. “They can even plant trees at their homes.”

Each of Butts County’s three incorporated cities is recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation and USDA Forest Service as a Tree City USA, for engaging in community forestry efforts.

Jackson has been a Tree City for 19 years, according to a list on the Arbor Day Foundation’s web site. Flovilla has been a Tree City for 20 years. Jenkinsburg has been a Tree City for one year.

To mark Arbor Day this year in his city, the mayor of Jenkinsburg, David Nestor, said he would be reading a proclamation at the City Council meeting prior to Feb. 17.

Yaw said the city would also plant a red maple behind City Hall.

At Flovilla’s observance, held in conjunction with the city’s Tree Board, the city will be planting two Okame cherry trees, according to Tree Board Chairperson Lillian Cowell.

She said the trees will be planted along Heard Street, parallel to the railroad tracks, with each honoring a different councilman. One will be planted in remembrance of Jack Heil who served on the council in 1980 and died in 2004. He was also Flovilla’s representative to the Butts County Chamber of Commerce.

The other tree will honor Horace Holland, Cowell said. Holland served on the council from 1997 to 2000, when he moved out of town. He died in 2002.

Cowell said trees are a beneficial part of the landscape that provide oxygen, nesting places, and aesthetic benefits among others.

“It makes for a prettier, greener landscape ...” she said. “Just a healthier community.”

Each of the cities’ Arbor Day events is open to the public.