Although Wendell and Zebulon celebrated their town’s trees last month, Knightdale is not to be left behind in the leafy festivities.
More than 40 Knightdale Parks and Recreation track-out students assisted in ceremoniously planting a new canopy tree at Knightdale Station Park to celebrate the town’s re-certification as Tree City USA April 17.
Run by the National Arbor Day Foundation Tree City USA recognition is granted to municipalities that meet the requirements, including an established tree board or department, a tree-care ordinance, an annual community forestry budget of at least $2 per capita and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.
According to the foundation, these communities often have cleaner air, improved storm water management, energy savings, and an increase in commercial activity and property values as a result.
Knightdale Mayor Russell Killen and N.C. Forest Service official Randolph Harrison, or “Ranger Radar” as his pint-sized audience called him, helped Knightdale celebrate its 14th year recognized by the foundation.
Gathered under the park’s shelters, he taught the students a brief lesson about the importance of trees, which prevent erosion, provide shade and release oxygen, and concluded with leading the students in a chant of “trees are great!”
Each child who attended the brief celebration was gifted a small pine sapling and participated in an art contest related to Harrison’s talk.
Harrison also applauded Knightdale officials for their continued commitment to maintaining healthy trees.
The tree planting follows months of planning by the town's tree board, a function of the Land Use Review Board, that resulted in the creation of an infill street tree plan.
It also included the planting of 34 Trident maple trees along the Knightdale Boulevard and Interstate I-540 intersection. They will eventually grow to be about 20 to 25 feet tall.
The street tree program emphasizes the development services department's focus on implementing a comprehensive forestry strategy to complement the Knightdale Public Works Department's work maintaining Knightdale's urban trees.
Arbor Day, nationally celebrated on the last Friday in April, can be celebrated by a municipality at any time when planting trees is appropriate. The observance provides an opportunity to celebrate urban forestry and civic commitment to trees as part of healthy urban environments.
Wendell has been nationally recognized for 32 years and Zebulon 11 years.