As evidenced by a 20th straight year of being awarded a "Tree City USA" designation, it can be safe to say the city of Pickerington takes its trees seriously.
Pickerington will celebrate the award as part of its annual Arbor Day celebration Saturday, April 20.
The festivities, sponsored by the Pickerington Parks and Recreation Department, will be held at the Arboretum in Sycamore Park from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.
"It's a great event for families to attend with their children to start to teach them about the importance of trees in our community," said Rebecca Medinger, City Parks and Recreation director.
The Pickerington Community Chorus will perform and Cub Scout Pack 256 will conduct a flag presentation ceremony.
Pickerington Tree and Beautification Committee member Steve Malone will give a short presentation about the history of the Tri-color Beech, the tree chosen for planting this year in observance of Arbor Day.
"The Tri-color Beech tree is to supplement what we already have in the Arboretum and to bring in a new variety of tree in this location," said Ed Drobina, Pickerington service director.
The third-grade students at Sycamore Creek Elementary School participated in an essay contest this year in observance of Arbor Day.
"They submitted essays about trees," said Steve Paullin of the Parks and Recreation Department.
"We pick the top essays and we do a little presentation," he said.
Pickerington will be officially recognized as a Tree City USA recipient by Lisa Bowers of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, who will be on hand to present the award.
Bowers attended last year as well.
She said Tree City USA is a recognition program that gives communities the initiative to have a public tree program.
"Pickerington is celebrating 20 years," Bowers said.
"You have to meet the standards every year and (undergo) re-certification every year in meeting those standards," she said.
To be a Tree City USA designee, Bowers said Pickerington was required to meet four standards established by the National Arbor Day Foundation.
Namely, the city must have a tree board or department, a tree-care ordinance, a community forestry program with an annual budget of at least $2 per capita and an Arbor Day observance such as the one on April 20.
Mayor Lee Gray will give the official proclamation declaring Pickerington a Tree City USA.
Bowers said Pickerington made a fine choice in choosing to plant the Tri-color Beech at its Arbor Day observance.
"It's a beautiful large tree," Bowers said. "We always encourage communities to plant the largest trees.
"We also encourage communities to diversify, especially with the Emerald Ash Borer (infestation)," Bowers said.
The Pickerington Arbor Day celebration is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.