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City marks Arbor Day

April 08, 2005|by GREGORY T. SIMMONS and WANDA T. WILLIAMS

gregs@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - Thursday was a day of tree planting at Hagerstown City Park.

Karina Wilkinson, 5, was one of the kindergartners at the city's annual Arbor Day tree-planting ceremony. After setting aside a blue plastic shovel she used to lump dirt over a sapling's roots, she explained her thoughts on tree planting.

"I get to water them, and you get to dig dirt. ... It's so much fun," Wilkinson said.

Wilkinson's classmates, as well as students from South Hagerstown High School and sister city school students from Wesel, Germany, helped plant 12 red maple trees and a state official gave Hagerstown an award for the city's efforts to maintain trees.

While the city's Arbor Day celebration was Thursday, the national celebration is usually on the last Friday in April, according to the National Arbor Day Foundation's Web site.

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The first Arbor Day, which was the concept of journalist and naturalist J. Sterling Morton, was observed in Morton's home state of Nebraska in April 1874.

City Parks Superintendent Junior Mason said he's been dealing with trees in the city for most of the 31 years he's worked for the city, and "they're a needed asset."

Mason said the planting Thursday helps replenish some of the 40 or so trees lost in the destructive blast of tornadoes last spring.

Stephen Oesterwind, 15, is a student at the Konrad Duden Gymnasium in Wesel.

"It's great to help here. .. It's a tradition here and it's a great honor," Oesterwind said as he was shoveling dirt onto a sapling. Unlike the plastic shovels the kindergartners were using, he was using a metal shovel.

Vu Nguyen, 15, a South Hagerstown High School sophomore, also helped plant trees.

"It's really great to plant more trees for the park," Nguyen said.

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