Home News Local News Roswellites become tree huggers for Arbor Day

Roswellites become tree huggers for Arbor Day

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One small tree for the zoo, hundreds of trees for the city.

City of Roswell arborist Ruben Esquivel, kneeling, and Keep Roswell Beautiful volunteers with Leprino Foods Co. gather by the tree planted Saturday morning at Spring River Park & Zoo during the annual Arbor Day event. (Submitted Photo)

The 2019 Arbor Day celebration at the Spring River Park & Zoo Saturday morning included the planting of a tree near the northeast entrance and the giveaway of up to two seedlings to each person at the event.

Roswell is a Tree City USA community, one of 3,400 in the nation and 10 in New Mexico, as determined by the Arbor Day Foundation, and is the “only city (in New Mexico) awarded this certification for 29 years,” as Mayor Dennis Kintigh noted in his proclamation address.

Holding an annual event is one of the requirements of the Tree City designation. Other criteria are an annual financial contribution to urban forestry of at least $2 per resident, ordinances related to tree care, and people or departments designated with the responsibility of caring for trees.

The local event was sponsored by the city of Roswell, the zoo and the Keep Roswell Beautiful organization. It is part of Arbor Day celebrations nationwide that encourage communities to plant trees, which reduce energy costs, capture air pollutants, prevent stormwater drain-off, provide wildlife habitats and beautify their surroundings.

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Discussions about tree care were given by retired New Mexico urban forester George Duda, and information booths were set up by master gardeners and the Chaves County Extension Service Office, zoo representatives, city of Roswell staff and youth science-related organizations. A visit by Smokey Bear was also on the agenda.

The city received a grant from the Arbor Day Foundation toward the purchase of 1,200 seedlings, according to city Public Affairs Director Juanita Jennings. Ruben Esquivel, city arborist and superintendent of South Park Cemetery, said that four species of trees and three types of bushes were donated. He estimated that about half had been given away Saturday. Whatever remained after the event, he said, would be given to people at future events or otherwise distributed in the city.