Arbor Day Reminds Yorktown of the Importance of Trees

First-grade students sing a song about trees. Credits: Brian Marschhauser
A winning poster submission Credits: Brian Marschhauser
Keith Schepart and Dale Saltzman of the Tree Conservation Advisory Committee proudly display Yorktown’s Tree City USA flag. Credits: Brian Marschhauser
Councilwoman Alice Roker, Councilman Tom Diana, Supervisor Ilan Gilbert and Councilman Vishnu Patel with winners of the Arbor Day poster contest Credits: Brian Marschhauser
Councilwoman Alice Roker, Councilman Tom Diana, Supervisor Ilan Gilbert and Councilman Vishnu Patel with winners of the Arbor Day poster contest Credits: Brian Marschhauser
Fifth-grade students talk about their project. Credits: Brian Marschhauser
Arbor Day committee member Ann Kutter, right, presents a donation of tree seedlings from Con Edison to teachers Jean Barber and Liz Kelsey. Credits: Brian Marschhauser
Girl Scouts from Troop 1326 prepare to sprinkle dirt from the four corners of Yorktown onto the tree seedlings. Credits: Brian Marschhauser

YORKTOWN, NY. – “What do we get when we plant a tree? We get a home for the birds and the bees. We get fruit and nuts to eat. We get wood to build our fleet. We get clean air we need to breath. We get shade on a summer’s day. We get a place to climb and play. What do we get when we plant a tree? A better world for you and me.”

A group of first-grade students from Mohansic Elementary School summed up the importance of Friday’s Arbor Day event in the form of song. The hour-long celebration, held annually at town hall, is a reminder that trees are “essential” and can even help people recover from all sorts of ailments, said Bill Kellner, chair of the Tree Conservation Advisory Committee.

“Now, science is proving that time spent around trees and nature is good for us,” Kellner said. “If you need a pick-me-up, visit a local park or forest. It’s free, easy and just what the doctor ordered.”

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Special to this year’s Arbor Day celebration is a group project by first-grade students at Mohansic and fifth-grade students at Crompond Intermediate School. Together, the students will plant 60 tree seedlings, which were donated by Con Edison at Friday’s event.

The project is the brainchild of two teachers: Jean Barber and Liz Kelsey. Longtime friends, the teachers and their classes have collaborated on two other projects this school year: In December, they collected coloring books, crayons and baby items for the children at the Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital and made winter decorations for the hospital. In February, the classes made Valentines for the residents of The Seabury/Fieldhome and the Montrose VA Hospital.

As part of the Arbor Day project, both classes will plant red maple and white pine tree seedlings. On Friday, the classes presented two seedlings from each class to the town for future planting in a town park, symbolically planting them temporarily in the Patriot Garden. Remaining seedlings will be planted at students’ homes.

Every year, fourth- and fifth-grade students from the Yorktown School District and St. Patrick’s School take part in the annual Arbor Day poster contest. Winning submissions, announced on Friday, will be made into banners to be displayed around town. All poster submissions are displayed throughout the month of May at town hall; winning posters are then displayed in the lobby of the Yorktown Justice Court for an additional month.

The theme for this year’s poster contest was “Trees and Medicine.”

Kellner thanked Con Edison, the Yorktown Rotary Club and Councilman Vishnu Patel for their donations to the Arbor Day celebration.

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