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Fairmont prepares for Arbor Day

FAIRMONT — The city of Fairmont is gearing up for Arbor Day on April 30. Fairmont knows the importance of Arbor Day as the city has been a part of Tree City USA for 30 years.

Tree City USA founded in 1976 is a nationwide program that includes 3400 communities. To be a part of Tree City USA there are four standards a city must follow. The first standard is there is a tree board or department. Standard two is that there is a tree care ordinance in the city which includes taking care of trees and planting trees. Standard three is that there is a community forestry program with an annual budget of at least $2 per capita. Standard four is that there is an Arbor Day proclamation and observance.

City forester Chad Striemer described that Arbor Day is very important as it promotes and gives people knowledge to protect trees, plant trees, and keep trees around for future generations to come. Park & Street Departments Supervisor Nick Lardy looks at it as a learning and teaching experience to everybody about trees, how to plant trees, what trees do for the community, and said it was a good program.

Striemer said that he shoots for a variety of trees he plants during the year. Some trees are destroyed by deer or vandalism rather than by natural causes. Other things that can cause a death of a tree include diseases and extreme weather such as a polar vortex.

Arbor Day is always on the last Friday of every April and the city hosts an Arbor Day celebration. This year’s celebration includes planting 10 thunderchild crabapple trees into the park and taking out nine ash trees. Streimer said they shoot for 25 new trees every year and that the cost of each tree ranges from $80-$125.

“They’re beat up pretty bad,” Striemer said. “A result from a storm a couple years ago branches are all twisted, laying up on top and things are falling all the time. There’s a lot of traffic in that area so that is not a good scenario.”

Fairmont’s Arbor Day celebration includes a welcome and introduction by Striemer. Mayor Deb Foster then does the Arbor Day Proclamation. In past years a class will perform a short program and then there will be a tree planting by Streimer and that class. This year’s will be held on Friday, April 30 at Memory Park.

Lardy added that the existing trees need to be kept up with maintenance such as tree trimming. Lardy hears sometimes that they’ll take a tree down and the person would say “it should have been taken down 15 years ago.” Lardy went on to say that when that’s done a new tree is being robbed and there could have been a newly 15-year grown tree.

Streimer then added that if you have a problem tree try to do what you can to remove that tree so it doesn’t spread to other trees.

“We don’t want to go backward,” Striemer said. “We want to plant more than we remove and it never seems to happen that way, unfortunately.”

Striemer said that the overall message he wanted to send to the community is to be a steward to your land. Examples of that are planting trees, helping get more trees out there, taking care of trees, pruning trees, help support the programs and education.

“There’s a lot of things that trees do,” Striemer said. “They provide us with air and things we breathe and that’s a huge thing.”

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