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Arbor Day highlights role of trees in the community

City Arborist Joe Reinke talks trees with a class of preschoolers from the Jefferson DeFrees Family Center during an Arbor Day event on Friday on Market St.

Friday’s Arbor Day festivities downtown was highlighted by the presentation of the city’s recognition as a Tree City USA for the 34th consecutive year.

This year’s Arbor Day Tree was a Princeton American Elm and the tree — and gathering — were held in front of the Warren County Chamber of Business & Industry’s offices at 308 Market St.

Mayor Dave Wortman noted that the designation as a Tree City USA is “really a special event” and highlights how the trees in our community are an important part of our heritage.

He said that the “grandeur of the species” and their “care and maintenance” are “second to none.”

The 34 years as a Tree City USA is “just a fantastic accomplishment.”

Students from the Jefferson DeFrees Family Center display the flag that the City of Warren received for its 34th consecutive designation as a Tree City USA.

Cecile Stelter, district forester of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, added, though, that tree care in the city and that prioritization has gone on for many, many years before the designation.

“We are fortunate,” said Josie Gerardi, the Street Landscape Committee chair. Warren is “one of the most years enrolled in that in the state of Pennsylvania.”

Street Landscape Committee member Paula Bogart said that the American Elm can grow to 60 to 90 feet tall and that this variety of elm is resistant to Dutch Elm Disease that has wiped out much of the elm population.

The Princeton strand, she said, is named because it was initially propagated in 1922 and planted at Princeton University.

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