Students, teachers, parents, officials from the Wisconsin DNR, politicians, and Green industry professionals were on hand at the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison for the Arbor Day Celebration. The events included greetings from Genny Fannucchi, Dick Rideout, and Secretary Matthew J. Frank of the DNR, Representative Mark Honadel, Kathy Swingen of The Bruce Company, Chief State Forester Paul DeLong, and Author Sheila Terman Cohen. Bucky Badger and Smokey Bear made appearances, too.
A large Red Oak was planted in Capitol Park to commemorate the day, thanks to The Bruce Company. Kathy Swingen of The Bruce Company organized the tree planting on behalf of the Wisconsin Nursery Association (WNA), in conjunction with the Wisconsin DNR’s Division of Forestry.
A ceremony to recognize the winners of the two Arbor Day contests was also part of the Arbor Day festivities. Congratulations to this year’s winners. More than 1,400 fourth graders across the state participated in the writing contest contemplating the topic, “Why Plant Trees?”. The essay of Sydney Donath, Farmington Elementary School in Kewaskum won First place, Arabesha Garcia of James Madison Elementary in Sheboygan was named First runner-up, and Jonah Robert Kahl, Turtle Lake Elementary, Turtle Lake was named Second runner-up.
Posters from over 1,900 fifth graders illustrating the topic, “Trees are Terrific…and Energy Wise!” were entered this year as well. The First place winner is Jake Helfenbein of Deerfield Elementary in Oak Creek, with Jillian Ybanez of St. Maria Goretti School of Madison named First runner-up, and Maggie Gallenberg of Spring Valley Elementary School, Antigo named Second runner-up.
Each winner receives a U.S. Savings Bond, courtesy of The Wisconsin Arborist Association. Also, thanks to WNA members from all over Wisconsin who donated trees and planting work, a tree is planted at the student’s school or at a site in their community. WNA wishes to thank members Johnson’s Nursery, Menomonee Falls, Johnson’s Gardens, Cedarburg, McKay Nursery, Waterloo, Northwoods Nursery, Rhinelander, Paul Swartz Nursery, Burlington and St. Croix Tree Service, Roberts for their generosity.