Arbor Day

By Mary Ann Inman


CLINTON – The Clinton Community gathered at Clinton Elementary School on April 30. Master of Ceremonies Art Bushue (also Village Trustee and Chairman of the Clinton Forestry Board) welcomed everyone and thanked them for attending.

Bushue said, “Arbor Day was founded by J. Sterling Morton, a Nebraskan Horticulturalist, in 1872 for the purpose of promoting the planting and caring of trees to the public. This Year marks the 144th year of Arbor Day. Clinton’s early foresters organized in April, 1999.”

Bushue added, “Prior to my involvement, like most of us, I was relatively naïve and disinterested in the value of trees. There were just too many other competing priorities in my life. After gaining experience, I became convinced.”

Next Clinton American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars presented the colors followed by the introduction of Clinton Student of Honor 2016, Isaiah Baker. He is a student with 3.5 GPA and actively volunteers in school and community activities. Baker was selected to lead the Pledge of Allegiance based on outstanding performance. Milton Thompson followed by reading a poem to commemorate trees.

Then Village Interim Administrator/Police Chief Dave Hooker greeted attendees and talked about the value of the Foresters in Clinton and their accomplishments. He commended Art Bushue for his leadership and read a Village Proclamation signed by Village President Connie Tracy declaring April 30 Clinton’s 2016 Arbor Day.

State Representative Amy Loudenbeck followed by citing some interesting statistics about trees in Wisconsin such as our State is home to 900.000 Christmas trees. She added that state tree populations are growing especially in Brown County.

Senator Stephen Nass spoke about his experience planting trees along his 500 foot driveway to eventually help avoid drifting snow.. He has learned to plant diverse varieties so if species diseases arrive not all trees are wiped out.

Then Brian Wahl, WDNR-Urban Forestry Regional Coordinator presented the value of trees asking if the crowd experiences stress followed by the health benefits of trees. He noted trees provide carbon dioxide for photosynthesis, provide beauty, break strong winds, offer homes for birds, give us shade, provide great hiding places  for ‘hide and seek’ and more.

Wahl then presented three awards: Tree City USA Award, Growth Award, and the pinnacle Sterling Award to Village Forestry Chairman Art Bushue and the Clinton Forestry Committee, Roger Johnson (DPW), and Wayne Heglund.

Barb Bushue read a winning poetry entry by Georgia K. Hallmark because the entrant was unable to attend. The well-thought out poem described trees as friends. Forestry Chairman Art Bushue will mail Hallmark a check to for $25 for her entry.

Principals Heidi Simms and Ben Simmons presented awards to poster contest winners.  First, second, and third place winners are selected each year from the elementary and middle schools.

During the closing Bushue expressed appreciation to all present and restated the multiple challenges brought on by deadly Emerald Ash Borer. He noted sadly that Clinton will lose many trees in the coming years. Choices were made to treat Ash trees or pay for removal of trees after they die.

Forester Bushue recognized all of the dignitaries for speaking, The School District for the use of the elementary school gym and lastly paid tribute to Wayne Heglund and DPW Director Roger Johnson for serving on the Forestry Committee.

The colors were retired by our veterans and the well-organized educational celebration closed. Afterwards many citizens stayed to thank participants, speakers and the children who submitted beautiful posters.