LACONIA — Yesterday, a week after the official date of Arbor Day, the city marked the annual celebration of trees, along with its 25th anniversary as a Tree City USA, by planting two trees at Wyatt Park in the South End.
Mayor Ed Engler recalled that the first Arbor Day was celebrated in Nebraska, then a vast expanse of treeless prairie, in 1872, where the occasion featured the planting of a million trees. In New Hampshire Arbor Day has been celebrated for the past 129 years.
To mark the city's quarter century as Tree City, the New Hampshire Division of Forests and Lands donated a sterling silver linden tree, which was planted in the corner of the park near the junction of Champlin Street and Center Street. Amy Lovisek of the Parks and Recreation Department said that the tree will reach a height of 45 feet with a canopy 30 feet around. Its heart shaped leaves, she said will turn bright gold in the autumn.
In addition, the Arbor Day Foundation contributed a selection of 10 redbud, dogwood and hawthorne seedlings, which Lovisek said would be suited to plant in 8 or 12 years.
Close to the playground the city has planted a London plane tree, which Lovisek said could grown to a height of 85 feet capped by a crown stretching 70 feet across. "It will provide plenty of shade for the kids on the playground," she remarked.
Kevin Dunleavy. director of of Parks and Recreation, told the half dozen children on hand that one day, when they bring their children to the park, they can can point to the mature trees and remember that they were there when they were only freshly planted saplings.
Scott Rolfe, community forester at the Division of Forests and Lands, said that trees were especially important in urban surroundings where they hold the topsoil, absorb stormwater and filter pollutants. "They are the hardest working trees in the country," he said
Lovisket said that the celebration was delayed a week to allow the ground to thaw for the planting of the trees.
CAPTION: A group of children playing at Wyatt Park joined city officials for a belated Arbor Day observance on Friday morning. At rear from left to right, Kevin Dunleavy, director of Parks and Recreation, Mayor Ed Engler, Amy Lovisek, assistant director of Parks and Recreation, Scott Rolfe, community forester at the New Hampshire Division of Forests and Lands, and Sally Perino, president of the Wyatt Park Association. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Michael Kitch).