The annual Arbor Day celebration is approaching and Mason, a Tree City U.S.A., is preparing.
The Arbor Day Foundation is a national program that helps plant trees in cities all over the country. Mason is one of those cities, and to celebrate the occasion, the Mason Cemetery Board and Tree Commission dedicates a tree to an honoree.
Residents nominate people, and many times the honoree is involved in horticulture or has helped the community. Elaine Ferris, city council member and member of the tree commission, said there are usually one to six nominations. Due to COVID, there was no celebration allowed in 2020, but this year Mason is hoping to get back to the typical ceremony.
Before COVID, the honoree would bring family and friends, and they would be joined by the city council, city staff, mayor and the chairs of the tree commission and cemetery board. There is a presentation given around the tree that is planted in honor of the nominee.
“Trees are planted based on the honoree’s choice. However, about two years ago, we had a tree assessment done of all the city of Mason’s trees and what potential areas could use more trees,” said City Council Member Sarah Jarvis, who oversees the Arbor Day celebration. “Therefore, we will be most likely asking the honoree what their preference would be, but also taking into account that we don’t overpopulate areas that already have a significant number of trees.”
Since there was no celebration last year, the most recent honoree is Douglas Klein, executive director of the Mason Area Chamber of Commerce from 2005-2019, who was given the honor in 2019. He was very familiar with the Arbor Day celebration and was frequently asked if he had any nominations.
“The city honored me by planting a tree of my choice in a city property of my choosing. I chose a Kentucky Coffee tree. I said during the ceremonial planting and plaque presentation that I chose that tree because my oldest grandson was born in Kentucky, my wife loved coffee and that it was being planted in Griffin Park because my youngest grandson was named after the park,” Klein said.
Arbor Day is on April 30 this year. The tree commission and cemetery board are accepting nominations until March 15, and will choose the nominee on March 22. It has not yet been decided whether the celebration will be in-person outdoors or virtually.