The 2017 Community Arbour Day celebration recognized three people with a memorial tree planting ceremony in Fort Langley. Members of council also replanted the Wilson Memorial Tree (pictured). Langley Times file photo

Township celebrates 16th annual Community Arbour Day

Trees will be planted in memory of Bays Blackhall, Iris Mooney, Hugh Davis and others on April 22

A tradition of honouring trees and everything they contribute to people and the planet continues to grow within the Township of Langley.

On Sunday, April 22, the Township is hosting its 16th annual Community Arbour Day event, to celebrate Earth Day.

Trees are regarded as the symbol of life and tree planting festivals have been held throughout history. The idea to hold an annual observance celebrating trees and promoting their planting and care originated in Nebraska, with pioneer and nature lover Julius Sterling Morton. The editor of the state’s first newspaper, he encouraged others to fill the once bare area with trees to provide shade, keep soil in place, and to use as fuel and building material.

In 1872, the State Board of Agriculture accepted Morton’s resolution to “to set aside one day to plant trees, both forest and fruit,” and the first Arbour Day was set for April 10. In 1885, it became a legal holiday and April 22, Morton’s birthday, was selected as the day when it would be permanently observed.

Over the years, the seed of enthusiasm for trees that was planted in Nebraska spread throughout the United States and around the world. Now, nations from Australia to Yemen set aside a day every April to plant trees and recognize their value.

READ MORE: Three recognized at Arbour Day ceremony in Langley

Community Arbour Day takes place in a different community each year, and the 2018 event will be held at Aldergrove’s Philip Jackman Park, at 32 Avenue and 271 Street. Presented in celebration of Earth Day, the family-friendly event will run from 1 to 3 p.m. and include interactive displays, activities, arts, crafts and rope climbing. Bags of compost will also be available for guests to take home and use in their own yards or gardens.

The event is free and registration is not required.

“Community Arbour Day is a very popular tradition in the Township of Langley. We look forward to highlighting the importance of trees and the many ways they contribute to the environment and the wellbeing of the community,” said Township of Langley Mayor Jack Froese. “Not only is it a lot of fun, it is a great opportunity for children and members of the public to learn how to be good environmental stewards and to take care of our valuable trees and greenspaces.”

Every Arbour Day, Township council plants several trees to honour members of the public who have passed away and left lasting legacies within the community. This year, commemorative trees will be planted for:

· Leonard Foss – Dedicated firefighter

· Bays Blackhall – Community advocate

· Edna McLeod – Community pioneer

· Iris Mooney – Dedicated maternity nurse and community volunteer

· Hugh Davis – Community pioneer

· Dave Eastick – Dedicated member of the Aldergrove Legion

· Inge Violet – Co-founder, Domaine de Chaberton Estate Winery

· Fenn and Mary Williams – Community pioneers

· Lindsay (Rhys) Griffiths – Dedicated community volunteer and environmental advocate

· Richard (Dick) Bunbury – Dedicated community volunteer and environmental advocate

For more information, visit tol.ca/arbourday.

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