Arbor Day celebration held at Indian Pines Park
PENN YAN — The Village of Penn Yan held its first official annual Arbor Day celebration Friday, April 29 at Indian Pines Park to mark the 150th Anniversary of Arbor Day.
The Department of Public Works had prepared a hole for the planting of a 20-foot-tall maple tree to mark the occasion. Mayor Dan Condella and Trustee Teresa Hoban were in attendance and made brief and fitting comments on the importance of tree planting for the sake of future generations of Penn Yan citizens. The village plans to make this an annual event to improve the landscape and environment.
Indian Pines Park was chosen because of the large number of ash trees there that have been lost recently to the emerald ash borer. The park is also one of the sites designated for large-scale improvements in the Downtown Revitalization Initiative.
According to the Arbor Day Foundation:
As pioneers began moving into the Nebraska Territory, the lack of trees was felt deeply. Not only did the new residents miss the trees they left behind, they were also left without the trees they needed as windbreaks to keep soil in place, for fuel and building materials, and for shade from the hot sun.
Nebraska newspaper editor and resident of Nebraska City, J. Sterling Morton had an enthusiasm for trees and advocated strongly for individuals and civic groups to plant them. Once he became secretary of the Nebraska Territory, he further spread his message of the value of trees. And on Jan. 4, 1872, Morton first proposed a tree planting holiday to be called “Arbor Day” at a meeting of the State Board of Agriculture.
The celebration date was set for April 10, 1872. Prizes were offered to counties and individuals for the largest number of properly planted trees on that day. It was estimated that more than 1 million trees were planted in Nebraska on the first Arbor Day.