Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

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Arbor Day celebration April 30 in Library Park
Planting will honor Zingle

April 21, 2011

For the 16th year, the city of Lake Geneva has been named a Tree City USA community to honor its commitment to community forestry by the Arbor Day Foundation.

On Saturday, April, 30, at 10 a.m., members of the city's Tree Board, city officials and any interested citizens will gather in Library Park for a public observance and a tree planting to honor Arbor Day.

The group will plant a tree in memory of the late Elmer Zingle, who for many years was a common figure on the lakefront with his boat rental business.

Those in attendance also will show off the city's most recent Tree City USA designation.

Lake Geneva has received the Tree City USA award each year since 1995.

The statewide program was started by the National Association of State Foresters and the United States Department of Agriculture Forestry Service more than 32 years ago.

The Arbor Day ceremony is key to make sure everyone knows the importance of maintaining the city's urban trees and forest for ecological and aesthetic value.

Since its beginning, the Tree City USA program has grown nationwide to be the leading community forestry recognition in the United States.

The program in Lake Geneva will open with a welcome by Public Works Director Dan Winkler. Comments also are expected from Mayor Jim Connors and members of the Tree Board also may speak.

In order to be a Tree City, a community must meet four standards, including having a tree board or department, a tree care ordinance, a comprehensive community forestry program and an Arbor Day observance.

Along with those criteria, the tree cities also recognize that:

- Trees promote healthier communities. Leaves filter the air we breathe by removing dust and other particles.

- Trees moderate climate, conserve water and provide habitat for wildlife.

- Trees in urban areas reduce the heat island effect caused by pavement and buildings.

- Properly placed trees can increase property values and buildings in wooded areas rent more quickly and tenants stay longer.

"A community, its elected officials and its citizens that provide needed care for its trees deserves recognition and thanks," stated John Rosenow, chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation, in a press release. "Trees are a vital component of the infrastructure in our cities and towns, and they also provide environmental and economic benefits."

Arbor Day first was established in 1872 by J. Sterling Morton. Morton moved from Detroit to Nebraska in the mid-1800s, and when he arrived in Nebraska began planting trees, plants and shrubs on his property.

Morton, who was a journalist, became editor of Nebraska's first newspaper, and through the medium was able to spread agriculture information.

In 1872, Morton proposed to the Nebraska Board of Agriculture that a day be set aside for the planting of trees.

Now Arbor Day is celebrated throughout the country.

The most popular trees in the Geneva Lake area are Arborvitae, American; Spruce, Colorado Blue; Spruce, Norway Pine, White; and Boxwood Korean, according to the national Arbor Day Web site.

For more information on Arbor Day, including purchasing trees and information about trees, visit the National Arbor Day Web site at www.arborday.org.