Trio of trees planted at Moss+Wood Park to celebrate Arbor Day

Published 9:08 am Saturday, February 10, 2024

The City of LaGrange held its annual Arbor Day celebration on Friday by planting three trees at the city’s newest park, Moss & Wood Park.

Moss & Wood Park is located off of Brown Street and named after two LaGrange icons, the Rev. Otis Moss, Jr. and Dr. Benjamin T. Wood.

Planting trees has become an Arbor Day tradition for LaGrange. The city has observed Arbor Day for the past 24 years. Since then, LaGrange has been recognized as a Tree City USA for more than two decades.

City Arborist Jay Bartlett spoke of the importance of planting trees, especially to provide shade in locations like city parks.

“We all know that without trees we don’t have the shade that we need to protect us from the sun, but I can just go on and on about the importance of trees,” Bartlett said.

Bartlett said the City of LaGrange plants more than 100 trees each year.

Bartlett introduced the right-of-way crews that plant and maintain the trees in LaGrange.

“Without these guys that actually do the work, we would just burn up in the summertime,” Bartlett said. “Thank you all for the hard work that you guys do. They trim in the right-of-way, so they plant the trees and cut the trees, but they also protect the trees and try to keep them away from you on the road.”

More than 3,400 communities across the United States have committed to becoming a Tree City USA, which requires that they maintain a tree board and ordinance, spend at least $2 per capita on urban forests and recognize Arbor Day, said LaGrange Community Development Director Alton West.

The trees were once again sponsored by members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Theta Xi Omega Chapter, and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Theta Nu Lamda Chapter, who have provided the annual Arbor Day trees for several years.

LaTonya Young of Theta Xi Omega said sponsoring the trees is one of the sorority’s service projects to support the LaGrange community.

“We support the community in tree planting, shredding electronic recycling and promoting substantial agriculture through community gardens,” Young said. “There are many benefits to trees planted as was said before, like oxygen, improving water quality reducing erosion and climate control.”

After all of the speeches, city officials and tree board members gathered to ceremonially plant one of the trees outside the entrance of Moss & Wood Park.