In honor of April 27 as National Arbor Day, this Friday the Paonia Tree Board will hold a tree planting at 1 p.m. at Apple Valley Park.
A sensation box elder was chosen for the occasion and will be planted in honor of Clarence "Bill" Hart, a former Paonia police officer, Army veteran and volunteer firefighter who lost his battle with cancer on April 23, 2017.
Representatives of the American Legion Wilson-Head Post 97 will present the flag and lead the Pledge of Allegiance. Mayor Charles Stewart will read a proclamation, and member of the U.S. Forest Service will be in attendance. Cake and refreshments will be served following the ceremony.
The community event is funded by the Town of Paonia, and town residents Jakki Taylor and Constantine Hirschfeld donated the funds to purchase the tree.
Arbor Day encourages the celebration of the importance of trees. The celebration, the first of its kind for the town in almost a decade, is also a first step by the recently revived town tree board in re-establishing "Tree City USA" designation for the town by the National Arbor Day Foundation.
Arbor Day was founded in Nebraska in 1872 by J. Sterling Morton. On the first Arbor Day, an estimated one million trees were planted in the state of Nebraska. Today, Arbor Day is recognized throughout the country with tree plantings, school and other public celebrations, and educational events.