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'Trees are terrific:' Arbor Day marked at history center

POSTED: February 27, 2008 5:02 a.m.

Forest Ranger Phillip Anderson presents this year's new Championship Trees, including this white oak which is located behind the Clermont Post Office. He introduced the trees at the Arbor Day Program at the Northeast Georgia History Center on Friday morning.

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GAINESVILLE — Arbor Day got an official nod from two governmental bodies Friday and area students picked up awards for their drawings of trees.

Area government, forestry and business leaders gathered at the Northeast Georgia History Center at Brenau University to recognize Arbor Day.

Gainesville Mayor Myrtle Figueras and Hall County Commissioner Deborah Mack read a proclamation recognizing Arbor Day by the Gainesville City Council and Hall County Board of Commissioners.

Also, the Georgia Forestry Commission recognized winners of its annual Arbor Day poster contest, with students asked to draw using the theme "Trees are terrific inside and out."

The first-place award, carrying a $250 prize, went to Laila Hasnain of Mount Vernon Elementary School in North Hall.

The runners-up, Javy Euyoque of Myers Elementary School in southeast Hall, and Oscar Contreras of McEver Elementary School in West Hall, received $100.

The forestry group planted a tree Wednesday at Mount Vernon and Thursday at McEver and is planning a similar ritual at Myers on Tuesday.

Thursday at McEver, Doug Andrews, chief forest ranger with the Georgia Forestry Commission’s Banks-Hall County Unit, dug the hole for the tree before the class arrived, then showed students how to remove the tree from its planter and place it in the ground.

Students helped pitch dirt in the hole and level the tree near McEver’s front parking lot.

Andrews then placed a bag around the base of the tree that, when filled with water, slowly releases moisture into the soil. Students finished the job by helping throw mulch around the 6-foot tree.

Also at Friday’s celebration, six new Hall County Champion Trees were honored.

They are a 26-foot eastern redbud and 26-foot flowering dogwood at Lanier Technical College in Oakwood, 20-foot paper mulberry at Lester Radiator Sales and Service, a 16-foot Burford holly at Gainesville State College in Oakwood, and a 38-foot Japanese magnolia owned by Tom Reins.

Reins’ tree also is a state champion.

The largest tree, owned by Rick Gailey and near the U.S. post office in Clermont, is a white oak that is 241 inches in circumference, 98 feet tall and has a 129-foot crown spread.

Champion Trees is a program through the Georgia Forestry Commission designed to find the largest trees in the county for recognition.


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