By Brian Hagberg
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
More than 50 children attended a Buckeye tree planting, the seeds of which purportedly bring good luck, in front of the Schriever Air Force Base Child Development Center as the base celebrated Arbor Day here June 12.
The Arbor Day celebration also included an official announcement of Schriever as one of the Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree City USA communities, the 17th straight year the base has earned this recognition.
“Schriever has shown a commitment to trees and the preservation of forests,” said Andy Schlosberg, Woodland Park District assistant district forester.
According to arborday.org, there are four requirements a community must reach in order to qualify as a Tree City USA; a tree board or department must be in place, the community must have a tree care ordinance, the community’s forestry program needs an annual budget of at least $2 per capita and there needs to be an Arbor Day Observance and Proclamation.
Schlosberg said Schriever’s continued standing as a Tree City USA is huge because the base is essentially its own small community and it shows the base population trees are valued.
“Arbor Day is a celebration of what is going to be, so getting people, especially kids, involved is important,” he said. “It makes them aware of the importance of trees.”
Col. DeAnna M. Burt, 50th Space Wing commander, explained some of the background of the Buckeye tree and the benefits planting more trees on base will bring to the community.
“Arbor Day is focused on [children],” she said. “We’re trying to build our own little forest here.”
Burt, along with School Age Program participants Marc Williams and Lauren Ouding, Col. Brian Barthel, 50th Mission Support Group commander, Lt. Col. Nathan Clemmer, 50th Civil Engineer Squadron commander and Schlosberg began the planting. The remaining SAP participants joined them to finish the job.
The tree planting wasn’t the only environmentally friendly event taking place during the celebration. CDC and SAP children also assisted in the release of hundreds of ladybugs. Ladybugs can play a vital role in maintaining a lush and healthy forest.
According to nationalgeographic.com, most ladybugs prey on plant-eating insects such as aphids. Additionally, ladybugs will lay their eggs, hundreds at a time, in aphid colonies where the larvae will immediately begin to feed once hatched.
Prior to the tree-planting portion of the celebration, Burt was presented with a plaque signifying Schriever as an official Tree City USA community and all children and youth at the CDC and SAP were given commemorative T-shirts for the event.
Arbor Day was created by J. Sterling Morton, a Detroit native who moved to Nebraska in 1854 and started planting trees in his community to help make the area feel more like his Michigan home. Arbor Day is traditionally celebrated on the final Friday in April; however, the Schriever Arbor Day celebration typically takes place in June because the weather is better suited for planting young trees.