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Watertown, other communities to hold Arbor Day events


During the past 19 years, some 5,800 trees have been planted in Watertown as part of the city’s urban forestry program.

And now, city officials, the Watertown Noon Rotary Club and Tree Watertown — Watertown’s street tree advisory board — will come together to celebrate Arbor Day. It’s the 16th consecutive year Tree Watertown has commemorated Arbor Day, always held on April 26.

The weeklong celebration begins Friday with a ceremonial tree planting in Whitewater Park, which is behind the CitiBus transit facility at 544 Newell St. That section of the fairgrounds was spruced up last year to formally make a new park.

Mayor Jeffrey E. Graham and the City Council will participate in the event.

The event will honor the city’s Department of Public Works, which for years has helped to get trees planted and improve the city’s stock, Senior Planner Michael A. Lumbis said.

“We just wanted to formally thank the DPW for all of their hard work over the years,” he said.

Under the leadership of Superintendent Eugene P. Hayes, the DPW’s buildings and grounds crew has planted trees annually since 1997. In that time, it has planted more than 1,500 trees throughout Watertown. DPW crews also have been involved in developing young trees, pruning, mulching and watering.

Friday’s event kicks off a weeklong tree-planting blitz. On Saturday, members of the Noon Rotary will conduct its annual tree planting; this time 38 trees will be planted at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds off Coffeen Street. Rotary is contributing $1,400 to help pay for some of the trees.

Throughout the week, DPW crews will plant 94 trees at sites throughout the city, including on sections of Davidson, Charles and Burchard streets, Ball Avenue, Schley Drive and other locations. The trees include such varieties as little leaf linden, different types of oak, London plane, crab apple and gingko.

Jefferson Community College will have a tree-planting ceremony at the athletic field at 1:45 p.m. Friday following a presentation of the college’s Tree Campus USA designation. The event is a part of JCC’s Earth Week activities. Matthew R. Lambert, chairman of the Ever Green Committee, will explain how the college has achieved the distinction and what must be done to maintain it.

Other communities also are holding Arbor Day events.

In the village of Canton, the Canton Garden Club will plant a tree Friday at a site yet to be determined.

On Tuesday, the Canton Tree Committee will plant two blue spruce and two white firs at Bend in the River Park. The trees will honor former Canton mayors James I. Monroe, Ronald A. Houle and David T. Button and current Mayor David P. Curry.

In Clayton, the Thousand Islands Land Trust will hold a community event, “For the Trees!” at 10 a.m. Saturday at Zenda Farm Preserve, Route 12. Hawn Memorial Library in Clayton will show “The Lorax” starting at 12:30 p.m.

In Ogdensburg, the Tree Commission will plant a tulip poplar, or liriodendron, tree in Hamilton Park. The brief ceremony will take place at 9:30 a.m. Friday, and the public is encouraged to attend.

Ogdensburg has been recognized as a Tree City USA for the 20th consecutive year by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

In Adams, the South Jefferson Chamber of Commerce will hold its Arbor Day event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at South Jefferson High School, Route 11. Among the highlights are tree and plant demonstrations through the day, along with the chamber’s Citizen of the Year award at 11 a.m.

Times and Johnson Newspapers staff writers Gordon Block, Jaegun Lee, Reena Singh, Elizabeth Lyons and Paul Mitchell contributed to this report.

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