By Frank Lewis
Several people gathered for the reading of a proclamation honoring Arbor Day by Portsmouth Mayor Steve Sturgill on the Roy Rogers Esplanade in downtown Portsmouth Tuesday.
Sturgill said that in 1872, J. Sterling Morton proposed to the Nebraska Board of Agriculture that a special day be set aside for the planting of trees, which eventually led to the establishment of Arbor Day.
“Whereas trees can reduce the erosion of our precious topsoil by wind and water; cut heat and cooling costs; moderate the temperature; clean the air; produce life-giving oxygen and produce habitat for wildlife,” Sturgill read from the Arbor Day Proclamation. “Trees are a renewable resource giving us paper, wood for our homes, fuel for our fires and countless other wood products.”
The proclamation continued that trees, wherever they are planted, are a source of joy and spiritual renewal.
“Now, therefore, I, Steve Sturgill, mayor of the city of Portsmouth, do hereby proclaim April 22, 2014, as Arbor Day in the city of Portsmouth,” Sturgill said. “And I urge all citizens to celebrate Arbor Day and to support efforts to protect our trees and woodlands. And further, I urge all citizens to plant trees to gladden the heart and to promote the well-being of this and future generations.”
Vice Mayor Kevin W. Johnson walked across the street to inspect the buds on recently planted trees on the Gallia Street side of the PNC Bank building.
“These were mature trees at one point, and, if I remember correctly, the one at the far end was hit by a car and I don’t know what happened to this other one,” Johnson said. “But all that existed here were stumps and that has been since I moved here in 2002. So when we finally got the Tree Commission up and running our very first project was Chillicothe Street and part of Gallia as you see here, and these two were the priority for Gallia.”
In addition to Sturgill and Johnson, several people including Bill Beaumont from the City Service Department, Sarah Surina and Sue Burke of Main Street Portsmouth, Daily Times outdoor columnist Dudley Wooten, Lisa Gibson and City Clerk Diana Ratliff attended the ceremony.
Frank Lewis can be reached at 740-353-3101, Ext. 252, or on Twitter @FrankLewispdt.