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Arbor Day celebrated in city Friday

Times Observer photo by Josh Cotton Department of Public Works Director Mike Holtz speaks during Friday’s Arbor Day observance near Wetmore Park

Warren is now a Tree City USA for 33 years running.

That designation highlighted an Arbor Day observance held on Friday along Market Street near Wetmore Park.

“Our city does a tremendous job maintaining our urban forest,” Josie Gerarde, Street Landscape Committee chair, said.

The 33rd straight Tree City USA designation aligns with the 33 year history of Arbor Day Celebrations as well as the creation of the Street Landscape Committee.

Gerarde highlighted the service of Sherry Johnson, a committee member who has been on the committee since that founding.

Times Observer photo by Josh Cotton This year’s Arbor Day tree is an “Autumn Blaze” variety of maple. The hybrid was first created in 1922.

Priscilla Breese with the Garden Club said the Club has been part of the Arbor Day tradition in Warren since 1981. She said the observance allows an opportunity to “celebrate the role of trees in our lives” and that it would be a “mistake” to assume the value of trees is just aesthetic.

Mayor Maurice Cashman presented an annual proclamation for the celebration, which pointed out the beauty that trees add to the community as well as the effect on property values that they bring.

Department of Public Works Director Mike Holtz highlighted how the city has had multiple mayors and councils over that period that have maintained investment in the city’s trees.

Cornplanter District Forester Cecile Stelter formally presented the Tree City USA designation, highlighting that the city has “effectively and wisely” maintained its trees. She said that with the challenges of 2020 that people appreciate their natural resources more at this time.

She said the city’s 33 year designation is one of the longest streaks in this corner of the state.

Gerarde said the tree is an “acer fremanii.”

“It’s a maple tree,” she added. The variety is called “autumn blaze” and will be red in the fall. She called it a “beautiful addition to our trees.”

Street Landscape committee member Paula Bogart said this hybrid variety was created in 1922 and will grow to almost 55 feet high with a canopy 40 feet wide.

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