Destin celebrates Arbor Day with tree planting

The Destin Log

The city of Destin celebrated Arbor Day on Friday by planting two native oak trees along Main Street Park.

Citizens, City Council members and kids from Child Care Network 105 got a chance to witness the planting of the big oak trees, one donated by The Howard Group real estate development firm in Miramar Beach and the other by Councilman Chatham Morgan.

The children also had an opportunity to participate by singing a song about the importance of tree planting. They also got their hands dirty and helped plant the tree by throwing dirt onto the area where one of the trees was planted.

“These trees are an investment for the future… where children will be able to climb and enjoy them,” said Destin Mayor Scott Fisher. “The two oak trees planted are bigger in size and in a couple of years they will be able to provide shade and people will be able to enjoy them quicker.”

Arbor Day was first established in the United Stated by Julius Sterling Morton, a Nebraska journalist and politician, on April 10, 1872. That same year, over 1 million trees were planted in Nebraska. The day was centered around school children and usually celebrated during spring or on the last Friday of April.

About two years ago, the City Council got together and formed the eight-member Environmental, Parks & Recreation Committee Tree Board. The committee oversees tree planting and helps to improve the 20 parks within the city.

“These are citizens who volunteered generously and offered their time and efforts to improve the city of Destin,” said Carisse LeJeune, the city’s manager.

In March, members of committee visited the city’s parks and see what the needs were and what could be improved.

“We work with park employees and fix anything that is broken. … Even small things people might not notice like a rusted pole,” said Teresa Hebert, the committee’s chairwoman.

Committee Board Member Myra Williams, who also was a guest speaker at the ceremony, said they are working on a tree preservation ordinance and are planning to discuss it on the next City Council meeting on June 6.

“It's going to be designed to encourage preservation of native oak and magnolia trees.” Williams said. “We like to see a lot of our native species live a long time and we need to respect how beautiful they are.”