Roanoke County, Virginia (April 27, 2018) – Students at Back Creek Elementary School observed Arbor Day today with student presentations, poetry, and a ceremonial tree planting. This event will help Roanoke County retain its Tree City USA designation by the Arbor Day Foundation, honoring the County’s commitment to effective urban forest management. Roanoke County has held the title for 20 consecutive years, and is currently one of only three counties in Virginia to hold the designation.
During the event Joseph P. McNamara of the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors read a proclamation recognizing April 27 as National Arbor Day in Roanoke County. Remarks were also made by Michael A. Wray of the Roanoke County School Board. Students shared poems about the value of trees. Finally, Virginia Department of Forestry spokesman Dennis McCarthy introduced special guest Smokey Bear.
“We’re blessed in Roanoke County to be surrounded by abundant natural beauty,” said McNamara. “Arbor Day and our Tree City USA designation reinforce the commitment to environmental stewardship in our community while setting a positive example for the next generation.”
Wray agreed, stressing the important role of environmental education in Roanoke County Public Schools. “We want our youth to grow up recognizing the importance of our trees and woodlands so they’re more inclined to take an active role in enjoying and preserving nature as adults.”
This year’s event was administered by the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission whose leadership made it possible for five trees to be planted at Back Creek Elementary School through a Virginia Trees for Clean Water matching grant from the Virginia Department of Forestry. The Arbor Day Observance was one of four requirements for the Tree City USA designation, including; a tree-care ordinance, a tree board, an annual community forestry budget of at least $2 per capita, and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.
Additional pictures and video from Roanoke County’s Arbor Day event are available on request. More information on the Tree City USA program is available at arborday.org/TreeCityUSA.