The Norcross Arbor Day celebration kicked off this Friday with a tree planting ceremony in the community garden across the street from the Welcome Center. Arbor Day is a holiday that encourages people and groups to plant and care for trees.
The Tree Preservation Board was present to help with the planting of a brown turkey fig tree that will most likely still be standing long after we’re all dead and gone. “They do get fairly large, up to 60 to 80 feet,” said guest speaker Joel Moon, the master forester from RockTenn, the local business that recycles tree products. “I think more typical is 40 to 50 feet.”
He said we can expect the fig tree to become very broad and also suspects that the local squirrels will enjoy the fresh figs immensely.
Connie Weathers, a member of the board, said they chose the brown turkey fig variety because they wanted a food producing tree instead of just an ornamental tree. Although, they do have plans to add another shade tree this year.
Arbor Day is traditionally celebrated on April 28th, but the city of Norcross decided to celebrate early since planting conditions will be the most ideal in February.
“Trees are important to people. They make us feel good,” explained Moon. “If you think back to many of your, and mine, favorite childhood memories, are related to trees: trees in your backyard, playing in them, climbing in them, building a fort, sometimes we just sit up in the limbs and sort of survey our domain.”
He went on to talk about the multitude of things trees do for us like producing oxygen, cleaning the soil, controlling noise, absorbing pollutants and creating shade. Having trees in your yard can even reduce your power bill. He also talked about how we can harm trees by doing things like damaging roots when we’re digging and how to prevent this.
The students at Norcross Elementary have been learning similar things in the classroom recently in preparation for Arbor Day. The school also sponsored a poster-making contest in which students drew trees in various seasons. The students were encouraged to really contemplate the season they chose while drawing. The posters will be on display at the Welcome Center for the next week.
The winners were going to be announced at the tree planting ceremony, but they were forced to reschedule for next Friday, Feb. 24 at Norcross Elementary due to the school holiday schedule.
The Arbor Day festivities continue today at 11:30 a.m., right outside of the Norcross Cooperative Ministry, in conjunction with Victory World Church. The event includes a tree planting along with free health screenings from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m.
There will also be vision screenings, information on nutrition, a class on diabetes, fitness instruction, healthy snacks, kids games, arts and crafts, and more.
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