While the national Arbor Day observance is celebrated on the last Friday in April, many states have implemented state-recognized Arbor Days that reflect the best time for planting in their region. Georgia is one of three states to celebrate Arbor Day in February, observing the tradition the third Friday of the month. We take a look back at how two of Georgia’s Tree City USA communities celebrated Arbor Day.
Atlanta—a Tree City USA for 27 consecutive years and five time Growth Award recipient—observed Arbor Day with a weekend of tree plantings along the East Side Trail in Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic District of the Atlanta Beltline, a sustainable redevelopment project that will provide a network of public parks, multi-use trails, and transit along a historic 22-mile railroad strip connecting 45 neighborhoods. City arborists lead project teams that planted 314 trees.
The trees will help to establish the Atlanta Beltline as one of the world’s longest linear arboretums. The city made it a priority to include parks and trails in the redevelopment.
The City of Macon—a Tree City USA for 28 consecutive years and 15 time Growth Award recipient— organized a tree planting in the Pleasant Hill Community Garden. The community garden provides fresh vegetables to seniors and physically challenged residents, and has produced an astonishing 4,000 pounds of organic vegetables in its nine year existence, including collard greens, cucumbers, and sweet potatoes. Community organizers had been hoping to plant fruit trees in the garden for years, and as a result of last year’s tree planting, members can now partake in the bounty provided by 30 different kinds of fruit and nut-bearing trees.
The community garden, which is maintained by local area youth, helps to educate the public on the importance of nutritious eating, and the effort required to preserve such spaces.
Georgia is setting a fine example of how cities can implement environmental stewardship within their communities through proactive planning. Atlanta and Macon each found ways to bring the public together for the common good. Trees have a phenomenal way of bringing people together, and helping to build community.