Students celebrate Arbor Day
Every year, National Arbor Day falls on the last Friday of the month. In Missouri, Arbor Day is typically celebrated on the first Friday of the month. In Cameron however, the City Council reads a proclamation every year declaring a particular day set aside for Arbor Day , this year it was Monday April 30.
Arbor Day was originally celebrated in Nebraska in 1872 after being proposed by journalist and agricultural enthusiast J. Sterling Morton. The first time Arbor Day was celebrated, it is estimated more than one million trees were planted. Students of different grades in Nebraska City planted trees labeled with the grade, the time planted, and was to be specially cared for by the students in that grade.
In Cameron the celebration of Arbor Day has become a tradition in the spirit of that first Arbor Day. Beginning many years ago with the Class of 2021 – the Cameron Parks and Recreation Department, in cooperation with the Street Department, began planting a tree with the Kindergarten class. Every year since in Recreation or Kelsey Parks, a tree has been planted with the Kindergarten class and every year, each class through 5th grade comes back to visit their tree and take a photo with it. In addition to the photo – a conservation agent or arborist is invited to speak to the students about the importance of trees in our every day lives. According to Public Works Manager, Drew Bontrager, the plan is to bring the Senior class of 2021 back out to visit their tree and take a photo to mark the difference both in them class and the tree.
Bontrager said the tradition and the program has given the classes some ownership in the park and in the trees and often hears stories of students driving past the parks with their parents and saying, “That’s our tree!”
This year the Kindergarten class of 2030 watched as their class tree, donated by The Tree Patch in Hamilton, was planted on the East side of Recreation Park.
Arborist Matt Arndt was there to talk to the students in Kindergarten through 5th grade about their tree and about the importance of trees in our lives.
Ardnt fielded questions ranging from how tall will the trees get and how tall is the tallest tree, to such pressing and important questions such as “does money grow on trees?” According to Ardnt, money, unfortunately does not grow on trees, and as he informed the students, not only does it not grow on trees, it isn’t even made from trees, it is actually made from linen. The students were excited to discover however popsicle sticks do come from trees and a multitude of animals make their homes in trees, from ants to black bears.
Although the City of Cameron takes care of the trees, the students seem proud to call it their tree and tell all about it every year when they come back to visit.