MOUNT VERNON — The combined efforts of city officials, the Mount Vernon Shade Tree/Beautification Committee, and students and staff from St. Vincent de Paul School made for a grand celebration Friday afternoon in observation of Arbor Day at Chester Shock Park on East Chestnut Street.
Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Mavis opened the ceremony, calling attention to the beautiful Chester Shock Park, which was made possible by the efforts of the Shade Tree/Beautification Committee and students at St. Vincent.
“In 1872, it was proposed that a day be set aside to plant trees,” stated Mavis. This began in Nebraska, and is now observed nationwide as well as worldwide. Mavis spoke on the importance of trees, how they “enhance our communities, provide beauty, and are a source of joy and spiritual renewal.” He encouraged everybody to support all efforts to protect and to promote the preservation of our woodlands, proclaiming April 27 as Arbor Day in the city of Mount Vernon.
Seventh-grade students then read excerpts from “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein, a children’s book which tells the story of a young child’s relationship with a tree; it provides an interpretation of the gift of giving and the acceptance of another’s capacity to love in return.
Religion teacher Beth Robinson introduced a group of students who were selected as winners in a recent poetry contest with the theme of trees. First-place winner in the contest was Luke Trese. Second place went to Elizabeth Day. As poems were read aloud, recurring themes heard throughout the poems included “only God can make a tree,” “everlasting life,” “a beautiful gift,” “a tree is life” and “the life of nature.”
Mayor Mavis was presented a check by the seventh graders for $175 which was raised at a recent dance on Earth Day. “We thank you; we will do the right thing with it,” said Mavis on behalf of the Shade Tree/Beautification Committee. Plans are for the money to go toward a Dogwood Trail which the committee is trying to revive around the city.