Allan Thain

Arbour Day event planned for Sunday

Event will take place in Fort Langley Community Park, and will also showcase new community gardens.

They provide us with shade, improve the quality of the air we breathe, and create a serene sense of beauty.

Trees are a huge asset to the environment and the community we live in, and each spring, the Township of Langley celebrates the important role they play by hosting Community Arbour Day. This year, the educational event will be held in a new location, showcase a new Community Garden, and feature the talents of local students.

Fort Langley Community Park at the corner of St. Andrews Avenue and Nash Street will be the site of the 2014 Community Arbour Day event, which runs from 1 to 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 27. The free, family-oriented celebration is held at a different park in a different neighbourhood each year, and this is the first time it has taken place in Fort Langley.

“This is an ideal location for this year’s event,” said Township Manager of Parks Design and Development Al Neufeld, noting the park is adjacent to Langley Fine Arts School. “Not only will the public have a chance to explore the newly created Fort Langley Community Garden, they will be treated to musical entertainment from Fine Arts students. It’s a combination that will make for a really enjoyable afternoon.”

Last year, a group of students in the Langley Fine Arts School Green Team partnered with other volunteers, community groups, businesses, and the Township of Langley to create a new community garden in the park. The group built and now maintains 60 boxes, which give members of the public a chance to grow their own organic vegetables and flowers.

The garden will be officially opened during the Arbour Day celebration, and guests are invited to tour the facility and help by planting small fruit shrubs such as blueberries and huckleberries or annual flowering plants like lavender. Langley Fine Arts School students will also be on hand to meet visitors and assist with planting in the garden, and the LFAS jazz band will greet people with music and perform a concert in the park’s band shelter after the opening ceremony.

Guests can take bucket rides, enjoy interactive displays and activities, and speak to master gardeners and arbourists, including Richard Hallman, who will offer advice on fruit trees. Composting techniques can be observed, face painting will be offered, and visitors can take away a free bag of compost.

A special presentation will be made to Green Team leader Devon Azevedo, who spearheaded the idea for the garden. As well, fruit trees will be planted by members of Langley Township council to commemorate members of the community who passed away the previous year, but left a lasting legacy.

This year, trees will be planted in honour of:

– Alexander (Sandy) Wakeling, Director of Communications for Langley School District 35;

– Allan Thain, the man who brought Shakespeare to Langley;

– Sgt. Pierre Lemaitre, RCMP;

– Ruth Erickson, Township of Langley pioneer;

-Beverly Gold, children’s entertainer Mr. Flowers;

– Brad Reid, Township of Langley pioneer and farmer in certified organic chicken farming;

–  Willard Ball, Township of Langley businessman and resident;

– Norman Sherritt, honourary Township of Langley pioneer;

–  Austin Kingsborough, Township of Langley student;

– Brendan Wilson, Township of Langley student;

– Mildie Berry, Township of Langley pioneer and farmer;

– William (Bill) Bettles, former Township of Langley Parks and Recreation Commissioner; and

–  Jack Worrell, Township of Langley pioneer.

Funding that will be used to buy plants and conduct site preparation work for Arbour Day has been made available through a $4,000 grant provided by Tree Canada’s Edible Trees Program, and its sponsors Silk, Loblaw, and Telus.

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