Rolesville and Wake Forest Mark Arbor Day with Planting and Festivities

— Lisa Brown • • April 2017

Arbor DayNational Arbor Day is celebrated on the last Friday in April, and in keeping with past observances, Rolesville and Wake Forest each will mark the occasion.

Wake Forest’s activities will include an expo with a tree seedling giveaway, and Rolesville with observe the occasion with a proclamation and the planting of a tree.

The first American Arbor Day was in 1872, and the observance remains firmly rooted not only in American towns and cities but across the globe. The intent, as it was from the start, is to raise awareness of the importance and the vital role trees play in the environment.

Arbor Day in Wake Forest again will be celebrated with an expo in Joyner Park. The expo will begin at 11 a.m. with the tree seedling giveaway and will be followed by activities including crafts for kids, seminars, demonstrations and food trucks.

“We won’t have as many seedlings to give away this year because of Hurricane Matthew. The storm destroyed a lot of trees in Goldsboro, where they are brought in from. I was able to obtain seedlings from Bartlett Tree Experts and the Virginia Department of Forestry,” said Wake Forest’s Urban Forestry Coordinator, Jennifer Rall, who is responsible for planning, developing and managing the town’s urban forestry program, including planting, removal and maintenance of trees on public property and rights-of-way.

The Arbor Day Expo will also include members from the Urban Forestry Board, who will recruit more members to join.

“We are always looking for volunteers to be Tree Stewards,” Rall said.

Rolesville Town Planner Kevin Lewis said that every spring for the past three years, a tree has been planted to celebrate Arbor Day. The trees are planted in the Main Street Park along the path.

“Mayor (Frank) Eagles will make a proclamation at the commissioners’ meeting at the end of April declaring the observation of Arbor Day in the town,” Lewis said.

Each of the towns carries the designation “Tree City USA” granted by the National Arbor Day Foundation. To be considered, a town or city must have a tree board, a tree care ordinance in place, a forestry program with an annual budget of at least $2 per capita, and an Arbor Day observation and proclamation.

Mindy Hidenfelter worked in urban forestry prior to moving to Wake Forest in 2014, started as a Tree Steward and is now leads the Urban Forestry Board.

“The Tree Steward program is very important to the town, and volunteers will learn how to plant, prune, and mulch,” Hidenfelter said.

For Wake Forest, this is the 38th year being a Tree City USA. Mayor Vivian Jones will make a presentation at the end of the expo to honor the occasion.

Rolesville applied for its first Tree City USA designation in 2015 and has received the distinction since. The town does not have plans for a larger celebration this year.

“The budget doesn’t allow for it yet, but hopefully in the future we will see that,” Lewis said.