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Arbor Day celebrated at community garden site
City ceremony marks 22nd year as Tree City USA
Ceres resident Carrie Arnold of the UC Cooperative Extension office (right) and Shella Joiner dig a hole for one of three peach trees at the Ceres Community Garden site during the April 18 Arbor Day celebration. - photo by JEFF BENZIGER/Courier photo

The planting of three peach trees on the grounds of the soon-to-be community garden marked the city's annual Arbor Day Celebration on Wednesday afternoon.

The city staged the observation with Mayor Chris Vierra reading a proclamation celebrating April 18 as Arbor Day in the city of Ceres. He first read a 1978 poem about tree planting written by Gary Schneider titled "Golden Dream."

"Trees provide shelter for us and for the birds and wildlife and give us shade and conserve our soil," said Mayor Vierra. "We harvest fruit from trees and at the same time enjoy their beauty."

Last year the observance was held in Whitmore Park but prior to that the celebration was rotated around to different school campuses.

"We're proud of the fact that we've been a Tree City USA for 22 years," said Traci Farris, Recreation Supervisor for the city of Ceres.

The event was held at the future Ceres Community Garden at the southeast corner of Fifth and Lawrence streets to draw attention to it. The planting of the peach trees marked the first planting in the garden, which will also be seeded to grow vegetables for those interested in volunteering at the site.

Lot owner Shane Parson is making his 6,500-square-foot lot available for the community to grow produce like corn, green beans, carrots, turnips, okra and tomatoes under a community coalition of private and public groups. The garden is being organized by CivicSpark, a Governor's Initiative AmeriCorps program dedicated to building capacity for local governments to address water management issues.

According to Kathleen Falk of CivicSpark, the irrigation lines were to be installed last week. Parson is seeking donations of materials for raised beds and pavers. Areas will be designated for composting and worm habitats.

Those who work in the garden will be the ones who get to share in the vegetables from the garden, although some will be distributed through organizations which are feed others in the community. Volunteers would be needed to help organize volunteers as well as a ground manager to help water and maintain weeds and someone to track donations. Persons interested in the project may email or check out the Ceres Community Garden Facebook page.

The event also gave the city Recreation Department a chance to explain the quest to bring art projects to Ceres parks through the Peace Pole project. The art club students of Mrs. Munoz at Mae Hensley Junior High School decorated with peaceful messages and art.
"It's as simple as planting a pole in your garden, in your communities, with something nice on it just to remind people to be gracious, to believe there is a lot of good out there," said Cambria Pollinger, supervisor with the Recreation Department.