ROANOKE COUNTY, VA (April 18, 2014) – Students at Fort Lewis Elementary School observed Arbor Day on Friday, April 18 with student presentations, music, poetry, a visit from Smokey Bear, and a ceremonial tree planting. This event will help Roanoke County retain its Tree City USA designation by the Arbor Day Foundation, honoring the County’s commitment to effective urban forest management. Roanoke County has held the title for 16 consecutive years, and is currently one of only three counties in Virginia to hold the designation.
During the event Joseph B. “Butch” Church of the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors read a proclamation declaring April 18 National Arbor Day in Roanoke County. Virginia Department of Forestry spokesman Dennis McCarthy captivated the students with lessons on the importance of environmental stewardship. “I’m very proud of the effort you have gone through to celebrate Arbor Day today,” said McCarthy. “These trees that have been provided on your campus will provide shade, capture rainwater to prevent runoff, and provide places for birds to nest.” Remarks were also made by Dr. Martin Misicko, Director of Operations from Roanoke County Public Schools.
This year’s event was administered for the first time by the Clean Valley Council, whose leadership made it possible for eight new trees to be planted at Fort Lewis Elementary School through a $1,600 matching grant from the Virginia Department of Forestry. The Arbor Day Observance was one of four requirements for the Tree City USA designation, including; a tree-care ordinance, a tree board, an annual community forestry budget of at least $2 per capita, and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.
Additional pictures and video from Roanoke County’s Arbor Day event are available on request. More information on the Tree City USA program is available at arborday.org/TreeCityUSA