By BRAD KELLAR
The City of Greenville Arbor Day event is celebrating its 19th birthday this week.
This year’s celebration, which is again expected to include the participation of hundreds of local school children and their parents, is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Friday inside the Fletcher Warren Civic Center.
Earlier in the day, members of the Parks and Recreation Board and Keep Greenville Beautiful will conduct an Arbor Day program at all the elementary schools, and all K-4th graders will receive a tree seedling donated by the City of Greenville.
Friday’s event also serves as the City of Greenville’s official recognition as an official Tree City USA.
The local celebration has grown each year since its beginnings at Arnold Park in 1994. Back then, a handful of Arbor Day fans and city officials planted a single tree in a brief ceremony.
In recent years, huge crowds of students and their parents fill the Civic Center for a morning of music, cake and fun.
The Tree City USA program is sponsored by the National Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the National Association of State Foresters, the USDA Forest Service, The National League of Cities and the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
To be named, a community must meet four standards: a tree board or department, a tree care ordinance, a comprehensive community forestry program and an annual Arbor Day observance. In Greenville, the Parks and Recreation Board also serves as the city’s tree board.
Greenville has been designated as a Tree City each year since 1995.