On April 26, NYSDEC and the NYS Office of General Services (OGS) hosted a ceremony in honor of Arbor Day 2019. The gathering included members of the State Arbor Day Committee and state and local officials, including Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan. A London planetree (Platanus x acerifolia) was planted on the State Street side of East Capitol Park, near the corner of the Capitol Building, to replace one that was lost during a storm. (Each year, a tree is planted ceremonially on the Capitol grounds).
During the ceremony, Paul Bergwall of Honeoye Falls, Monroe County, was recognized for his donation of artwork to create the official statewide 2019 Arbor Day poster and presented with a framed copy. The Arbor Day celebration also recognized the “Habitats for Bats” artwork of the DEC children’s poster contest winner, Julia Hou from Minnesauke Elementary School in Suffolk County. The ceremony also provided an opportunity for the New York State Arborists to honor Mary Kramarchyk Beck with the 2020 Brian Skinner Award for Lifetime Achievement.
“Trees are one of New York’s most valuable resources, significantly impacting our environment, economy, and quality of life,” said Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos. “Trees help improve air quality, provide habitat for wildlife, reduce energy consumption, and beautify the landscape. With the continued support from Governor Cuomo’s renewed record funding for the Environmental Protection Fund, New York will keep investing in planting trees and preserving our landscapes. Today’s celebration of Arbor Day reminds us all to recognize the importance of trees and their impact on our everyday lives.”
Arbor Day is a nationally celebrated observance that promotes tree planting and tree care. Established by J. Sterling Morton in Nebraska in 1872, National Arbor Day is celebrated each year on the last Friday in April. Arbor Day was originally established to encourage farmers and homesteaders to plant trees to provide shade, shelter, food, fuel, and beauty to open areas. In New York State, the event is coordinated by the Arbor Day Committee, made up of representatives from Environmental Conservation, New York State Arborists, International Paper, and the Empire State Forest Products Association.