Mason Arbor Day Honoree search has begun

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By Madelyn Scroggie
The Mason Times

Mason, Mich. – Imagine the Mason courthouse square treeless.

Elaine Ferris, Mason Tree Commission liaison, has donated a tree through the Mason 150 Heritage Tree program, initiated last year for the Sesquicentennial year.

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The Mason courthouse square covered with landscape thanks to all those in the community that contribute to the ecology.

It will be planted this spring, either by the courthouse to replace one that has fallen,  or in the new section of the cemetery to provide shade for future visitors.

“I’m hoping for a hackberry,” said Ferris, “which is a tall, vase-shaped tree much like an elm but at least so far, resistant to most diseases and insect infestations.  Plus being long-lived it should last about 120 years.”

Ferris said she looks forward to providing trees to the community for years to come.

In addition to Ferris’s contribution, another tree will be added to the Mason community on April 29 for this year’s Arbor Day celebration.

Mason has been part of the national Tree City for a number of years. Starting in 1991, during the last week of April, the city honors a citizen who has made positive contributions to Mason’s ecology.

“There is a ceremony in Mason on Arbor Day,” said Mary Grace, executive assistant to the city administrator, “in which the honoree is presented with a proclamation outlining her/his contributions to ecology in general, promoting and preserving trees in particular.”

Nominations from community members for this year’s honoree are currently being considered.

“We look for someone who has been working to beautify the city, or educate in plant-related matters, as an honoree,” Ferris said.

Citizens who are looking to nominate someone should submit a letter of nomination to Chris Hampton. The envelope should be marked “Arbor Day Nomination” and be sent to Mason City Hall, Mason Tree Commission, 201 W Ash Street, Mason MI 48854.

All nominees must have a Mason mailing address. Nominations for the 2016 award are due March 18.

“In choosing a nominee, the emphasis is placed on selecting an individual who has made a significant contribution to the enhancement of the ecology in the City of Mason or the Mason area,” said Grace.

Last year’s honoree was Dennis O’Brien who was the parks supervisor for 30 years.  His tree is located just inside the gates of the cemetery in Mason, on the right.

Other trees are planted in Laylin Park, Raynor Park and at the Pink School.  The one at the Pink School honors one of the founders of the Mason Sycamore Garden Club.

Announcements will go out with the name of this year’s recipient in early April. They will get to pick the type of tree to be planted and with advice from the parks department.

Mayor Pro Tem and council liaison to the Mason Planning Commission Marlon Brown thinks the Arbor Day recognition is a great tradition because it allows the city to honor an individual who has made significant contributions to the community in the field of ecology.

“The tradition of planting a tree in honor of that individual contributes to the beautification and sustainability of Mason,” said Brown. “In a tangible way, Arbor Day raises awareness about the natural environment in which we live and allows us to preserve it for generations to come.”

“I think one of the main ways this impacts the city is to point out how important trees are in enhancing our lives,” Ferris said. “Besides helping us breathe, of course, they to make it beautiful in many seasons. “

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