Reynoldsburg will hold its first Arbor Day celebration since the 1990s this week, featuring tree planting, a mayoral proclamation and educational activities for children.
The Arbor Day event begins at 10 a.m. Friday, April 26, at Kennedy Park, 7232 E. Main St.
"The mayor will read the proclamation of Arbor Day, then we will present the coloring-contest winner," said Mary Beth Hudson from the Reynoldsburg Parks and Recreation Department. "We selected April 26 because that is the date of the statewide Arbor Day."
The city included a page in the parks and recreation department brochure for children to color and bring to the Arbor Day event to enter in the contest. Brochures are available at Reynoldsburg City Hall, 7232 E. Main St.
The Reynoldsburg Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9473 color guard will present the United States flag and Reynoldsburg High School student Ashley Cochran will sing the national anthem.
Activities will include planting a tree in honor of the late Sam Bish to inaugurate the city's Legacy Tree Program.
Sam, a French Run Elementary student, fought osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer, for more than a year before he died at age 9 in 2010.
"The Bish family will attend the legacy planting and present some information about Sam and how the Sam Bish Foundation operates, that they began in his honor," she said.
Joe Brown, director of the parks and recreation department, said the Legacy Tree Program will give community members opportunities to buy trees and place them in Reynoldsburg parks, along with plaques to mark them as memorial trees.
People interested in the program may choose from 12 different types of trees. The cost of a memorial tree is $200.
The Arbor Day celebration, which Brown said will become an annual event in Reynoldsburg, is a first step in helping Reynoldsburg earn back its Tree City USA designation.
"We were a tree city in the 1990s, but lost that designation," he said.
To maintain Tree City USA status, cities must hold an Arbor Day celebration each year, pass a tree-care ordinance and establish a tree board or department and a community forestry program.
Hudson said the first 15 children who show up at the Arbor Day event will get to plant a tree.
"They will receive a wristband that correlates with one of the locations where they can plant a tree," she said.
The city recently received 500 seedlings from the National Wildlife Federation to plant in Reynoldsburg parks.
Brown said students also will plant trees during Camp Adventure, the city's new summer camp, being offered in collaboration with Kiddie Academy and Reynoldsburg schools.
"The city wins big time through this tree-donation program," Brown said. "Our staff is so excited to be able to plant and grow all of these trees throughout our city parks."
For more information about the city's programs, call Hudson at 614-322-6806. For more information about Camp Adventure, call Kiddie Academy at 614-866-1422.