The City of Greenfield will continue its Arbor Day tradition this weekend, a celebration that has been reviving public green spaces for 20 years.
In the course of two decades, the local observance of the date honoring tree planting and care has spruced up seven city parks, four public schools and multiple boulevards, according to Joan Stevens, director of the Greenfield Beautification Committee.
“We’re kind of transforming the city with our Arbor Day project,” Stevens said.
The Beautification Committee spearheads a collection each year from area businesses, schools, organizations and individuals for the planting of trees. This year’s effort brought $4,700 for the purchase of several species of trees, Stevens said.
The public is welcome to gather Saturday at 10 a.m., along with students, representatives from the Department of Natural Resources, state senators and county supervisors for a celebration of trees’ role in daily life. The ceremony will proceed from a tented area in the parking lot of Mount Carmel Nursing Home, 5700 W. Layton Ave.
“It’s a lovely program,” Stevens said.
The Division of Public Works dug holes Friday for 32 trees to be planted along the medians on South 60th Street from Layton Avenue to Cold Spring Road, according to DPW superintendent Dan Ewert. Cypresses, callery pears and honey locusts were chosen for the planting because of their hardiness and ability to tolerate salt and chemicals from the nearby road, Ewert said.
The ceremony and planting is an excellent way for citizens to participate in their community, according to Ewert.
“It really brings people from all walks of life together in the city, whether it be city employees or people from the schools,” Ewert said. “It’s also brought a lot of residents and businesses together.”
Three DPW employees will be on hand Saturday to assist the tree planting, stage mulch and set up traffic barriers. The Greenfield Police Department helps with redirecting traffic around the median areas for the public’s safety, Stevens said.
20th annual Clean-Up, Green-Up Day
This year is also the 20th anniversary of Greenfield’s Clean-Up, Green-Up Day, a collaborative effort to rid city parks and green spaces of litter. Stevens coordinates with schools, organizations and interested parties who will “de-litter” parks and green spaces in the city May 14. Around 2,000 people participate in the program each year, according to Stevens.
“It’s best to start children when they’re young to understand not to litter,” Stevens said. Children who participated in Clean-Up, Green-Up Day at its beginning are now old enough to impart that message on their own children, Stevens said.
Garbage bags and valuable coupons are provided for volunteers by the Keep Greater Milwaukee Beautiful, Inc., an environmental non-profit organization.
The clean-up effort gives the city’s Parks and Recreation Department staff an invaluable head-start on keeping public areas beautiful, according to director Scott Jaquish. City parks see less active use in the winter and harsh winter weather blows garbage around, which then gets trapped in nature, Jaquish said.
“The amount of volunteers that participate in that and the amount of man-hours it saves is tremendous,” Jaquish said. “It also helps those neighborhoods take ownership of those parks.”
City Hall flower planting
Further into spring, the Beautification Committee will plant flowers outside Greenfield City Hall at 9 a.m. June 4. The committee coordinates with the Parks Department to choose flowers to match the annual citywide color scheme and purchases seeds from a nursery in January.
Members of the committee including horticulturalists and master gardeners will be on hand to plant a 50-flat of flowers, as well as any volunteers who bring their own trowel and children accompanied by an adult, Stevens said.
For more information about the Arbor Day celebration, Clean-Up, Green-Up Day or the City Hall flower planting, contact the Greenfield Beautification Committee at 414-545-3381.