Children scrambled with their hands in dirt to help Newcastle Arborist Travis Peterson fill the hole around the recently planted Ginkgo biloba last Thursday morning. The annual tree planting is part of the city’s Arbor Day celebration, which celebrates the city’s effort to stay green and its prominent on the state’s Tree City list.
Arbor Day was officially enacted as a national holiday on April 10, 1872, when J. Sterling Morton proposed a day be set aside for tree planting in Nebraska City, Nebraska. Since then, it is celebrated throughout the country on April 27, though that date varies in Newcastle, which plans its event a week later for the sake of weather.
After Mayor Deb Piana read the official declaration, attendees signed it and it was buried in a time capsule with the tree. This year, former Tree Board members Bob Hartley and Carol Nicholls were also honored for their work over the years on the board. Then, the dozens of children on hand from the Children’s Center got busy helping Peterson and Tree Board members get the new tree in the ground, as they labored under the chill of the cool, sunny morning.