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Arbor Day festival comes to Seminole

Tree lovers, rejoice. The city will host its first-ever celebration on April 6 with landscaping tips and a tree giveaway.

By MAUREEN BYRNE AHERN
© St. Petersburg Times
published March 20, 2002


SEMINOLE -- If you're a tree lover, you'll be glad to know the city soon will host its first-ever Arbor Day celebration.

The noon to 3 p.m. event on April 6 in Seminole City Park will feature various plant and tree experts. The theme is "Grow With Us."

"It's a way to celebrate trees and the importance trees play in the environment," said event organizer Mitch Bobowski, Seminole's general services director.

One of the highlights of the festival will be a tree giveaway by the Florida Division of Forestry, which administers the Tree City USA program in the state.

Representatives from landscape architects Phil Graham and Co., which devised the city's streetscape beautification program, will be present to give advice on landscaping. The landscape company KTK Industries also will be on hand to answer questions.

City employees will sell hot dogs and sodas. Proceeds will benefit Relay for Life, a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.

Bobowski said other agencies, including the Pinellas County Cooperative Extension Service, have been invited to participate in the event. He hopes that one day Seminole's Arbor Day celebration will be similar to the Green Thumb Festival, a popular two-day event in St. Petersburg featuring a variety of vendors, children's activities and entertainment.

Last May the city began efforts to qualify for a Tree City USA designation. To earn the title, a community must assemble a tree board, develop a tree ordinance and declare an Arbor Day celebration. The city also has to guarantee that $2 per resident is spent every year on a community forestry program.

Seminole hasn't received an official proclamation yet, but it won't be long before it's awarded, Bobowski said.

Arbor Day is a national observance that encourages tree planting and tree care. Founded by J. Sterling Morton in Nebraska in 1872, Arbor Day is celebrated on a date determined by the best tree planting time in each area.

Tree City USA is sponsored by the National Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters.

The nonprofit foundation began the Tree City USA designations in 1976 to encourage cities to protect trees. The program is designed to provide direction, technical assistance, public attention and national recognition for urban and community forestry programs in thousands of towns and cities across the United States.

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