The city of Grandview Heights held its annual Arbor Day ceremony Friday at Edison Intermediate/Middle School.

The city of Grandview Heights held its annual Arbor Day ceremony Friday at Edison Intermediate/Middle School.

As part of the ceremony, an Elizabeth magnolia tree was planted outside the former kindergarten annex building.

Members of Edison's eighth-grade FIRST Lego League robotics team participated in the ceremony, helping to plan the tree.

This year's Lego League competition included a requirement that student teams research a climate problem affecting their community and come up with a solution.

The Edison team researched the problem of allergies and how various trees and plants can increase or decrease the threat of allergens in a community.

Friday's ceremony included a report on the team's research by eighth-grader Taylor Woodhouse.

The students learned about the Ogren Plant Allergy Scale (OPALS), which ranks trees and plants for how allergenic they are on a scale of 1 to 10, Woodhouse said. A tree or plant that receives a score of 1 on the scale has the lowest amount of allergens.

"I think we were surprised to learn how big a problem and how dangerous allergies are," she said.

Maple and magnolia trees have among the lowest level of allergens, Woodhouse said.

Earlier this year, the students met with the city arborist Mike Mckee to discuss their findings, Parks and Recreation Director Sean Robey said.

The magnolia tree was selected to be this year's Arbor Day planting because of its low OPALS rating, he said.

Mayor Ray DeGraw read a proclamation declaring Friday as Arbor Day in Grandview and recognizing the eighth-grade Lego League team for its research project. He presented a framed copy of the proclamation to the team.

In addition to Arbor Day, the city celebrated receiving the Tree City USA designation for the 25th consecutive year.

McKee accepted the award on behalf of the city earlier this month during a ceremony in Bellville, Ohio.

The national Arbor Day Foundation awards Tree City USA status to communities that meet four criteria, Robey said.

To qualify, a community must hold an annual Arbor Day ceremony, have a tree care ordinance, have a tree committee or board and have a community forestry program with a budget of at least $2 per capita, he said.

Grandview's landscape advisory board serves as the community's tree committee and the city actually spends about $3 per capita on planting and maintaining trees, Robey said.

afroman@thisweeknews.com