City designated as "Tree City USA" for 23 years
By Chris Fish
MELBOURNE -- The city of Melbourne welcomes residents to attend this year's Arbor Day celebration on Friday, Jan. 18 at Wells Park.
The ceremony will begin at 10 a.m., and organizers will be planting tree seedlings, as well as distributing seedlings to those in attendance.
"It's a good idea for people to become familiar with the community and what parks we have to offer," said Steve Graham, the city's parks administrator. "We appreciate the shade of trees when it's hot, and we have to repopulate trees from time to time, due to old age, those that die too early and trees removed for construction. We always need to replace the shade and enjoy."
At the ceremony, park officials will be planting live oak, the longest living oak that is compatible with Florida's climate, and sweetbay magnolia, Mr. Graham said.
Also, the organization will be distributing seedlings of sweetbay magnolia, live oak, pignut hickory and dahoon holly, all plants that are local to Florida.
Melbourne Mayor Kathy Meehan will also read a proclamation declaring Melbourne's Arbor Day at the event.
Mr. Graham said for 23 consecutive years the city has been designated as a "Tree City USA." To qualify for this honor, Mr. Graham said a city must have a tree ordinance, an advocacy group, a budget with at least $2 of capita per person for the planting of trees, as well as, public awareness about the importance of Arbor Day.
The event is organized by the city's beautification and environmental advisory committee.
Wells Park is located at 625 Hibiscus Blvd., just west of the Melbourne Auditorium.