Sanibel to hold annual Arbor Day Celebration
The community is invited to mark Arbor Day on the islands this week with a special celebration.
The city of Sanibel and its Vegetation Committee will hold the annual Arbor Day Celebration on Jan. 29 from 11 a.m. to noon at the Sanibel Community Park Preserve. It will feature a tree planting, performance by the island schoolchildren and announcement of the city’s Arbor Day contest winners.
In addition, native seedlings will be given away to attendees to take home and plant.
Seeking to become recognized as a Tree City by the Arbor Day Foundation, the committee once recommended that the city participate in an annual observance. Since 1989, Sanibel has celebrated Arbor Day by planting a tree in honor of a historical figure, local individual or local organization.
This year marks the 31st year of the city’s participation and designation as a Tree City USA.
“It’s one of the four core standards for the city of Sanibel to be a Tree City,” Pam Miller, event coordinator and member of the Vegetation Committee, said.
She noted that recognizing Arbor Day is one standard, along with maintaining a tree board or tree department, having a tree ordinance in place and spending $2 per capita toward urban forestry.
“Each year, the city has to report to the group and tell them what they have been doing,” Miller said.
Previously held at the school, it is the first year the event will be held at a community location.
“We’re going for 100 people,” she said of the anticipated turnout.
For the celebration, a live oak will be planted in honor of Community Housing and Resources.
“It’s always a native Florida tree,” Miller said, noting that past plantings have included a pigeon plum, dahoon holly and mahogany. “Depending on the planning and what the conditions are for the area.”
“So you plant the right tree in the right place,” she added.
CHR was chosen to have the tree planted in its honor to mark its 40th anniversary.
“It’s a very valuable resource for our community,” Miller said of the non-profit organization.
Marty and Brenda Harrity, of Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille, sponsored the live planting.
The ceremony will also include The Sanibel School’s Seahorse Choral Spectacular.
“There’ll be two songs dedicated to this,” she said, adding that the youth may perform more pieces. “It’s part of the educational process. The more they can learn about trees and the environment, the better.”
In addition, the winners of the city’s Arbor Day contest will be announced.
The awareness and education activities included an essay or poem contest for children in grades 4 through 8. The topic was Arbor Day, with a poem that was a minimum of three lines or essay “Why are trees so important?” In addition, grade K-3 youths could submit a drawing inspired by Arbor Day.
The contest were sponsored by R.S. Walsh Landscaping.
Also during the ceremony, the city will hand out free, native tree seedlings to all attendees.
“They will be live oak samplings, individually wrapped. So everybody can take home a commemorative tree,” Miller said, adding that the native samplings are to be planted.
She noted that it is the first time the city has distributed seedlings as part of the celebration.
“It’s to help promote trees, their care and their propagation,” Miller said.
Cake and refreshments will be served.
The celebration will be located along the hiking trails at the preserve. The trails are composed of crushed gravel and can sometimes be wet, so attendees are encouraged to wear appropriate footwear.
The public is invited to come out and celebrate the day.
“Sanibel’s been doing it for 31 years and it’s quite an honor to do that, to come up with the four core standards, maintaining those,” she said. “It’s also educational for the public to learn about trees.”
For more information, call 239-472-3700 or visit www.mysanibel.com.
The Sanibel Community Park Preserve is at 2231 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel.