Ashley Elliot, a fourth grade student at Success Elementary, was one of four students from around the state that presented eastern redbud seedlings to Gov. Jay Nixon to celebrate Arbor Day.
Nixon emphasized the value of Missouri’s trees and forests at the recent ceremony at the capitol, proclaiming April 3 as Arbor Day in Missouri and reminding people of National Arbor Day on April 24. Also presenting seedlings to Nixon were: Tyler Wilbers, St. Mary’s School in Frankenstein; Brooke Tuttle, New Bloomfield Elementary; and Eli Raithel, Southwest Elementary in Jefferson City.
Home-schooled fifth grader Nathanael Renaud of Perryville presented Nixon with a copy of his winning poster from Missouri’s 2009 Arbor Day Poster Contest, coordinated by the Department of Conservation. More than 1,200 fifth-grade students from throughout Missouri participated. Renaud’s poster will be entered in the national 2009 Arbor Day Poster Contest, sponsored by the National Arbor Day Foundation and Toyota.
In support of Arbor Day and in cooperation with the Missouri Department of Transportation’s “Trees for Tomorrow” program, the Missouri Department of Conservation again distributed nearly 120,000 eastern redbud seedlings from its George O. White Nursery at Licking to about 4,000 fourth-grade classes in March. MODOT provides financial support for the production and distribution of the trees. In addition to the seedlings, the Missouri Department of Conservation provided educational packets to fourth-grade classes throughout the state to help students understand the importance of trees and conservation.
According to Missouri Department of Conservation State Forester Lisa Allen, forests cover approximately one third of Missouri and provide outdoor recreation, wildlife habitat, natural beauty, protection of streams and rivers, and more.
“Trees and forests are also vital to clean air through filtering pollution and producing oxygen,” Allen added. “And Missouri’s forestry and wood products industry is vital to our economy and quality of life by employing more than 33,000 people and generating more than $6 billion in economic activity each year.”
Missouri has observed Arbor Day since 1886 when the Missouri General Assembly declared that the first Friday in April should be set aside for the appreciation and planting of trees. National Arbor Day is recognized on the last Friday of April. Each state determines its Arbor Day based on its unique climate and weather patterns.
For tips on selecting and planting the right tree for your growing situation, visit www.MissouriConservation.org/15884.