Ceres city officials celebrated Arbor Day with a special tree planting ceremony at Smyrna Park on Tuesday, May 11.
The city Recreation Department staff and Public Work employees presided over the planting of an ornamental pear tree at the Presidents Grove along a Smyrna Park walkway in tribute of the nation’s new president, Joseph R. Biden Jr.
The “Let Freedom Ring” presidential grove was dedicated in June 2012.
The Ceres Garden Club, through the leadership of the late Shirley Davis, raised $6,000 to fund the “Let Freedom Ring” grove in the west half of the park. Each tree has been assigned a president’s name and years of service on a small in-ground granite marker.
At the April 26 Ceres City Council meeting, Ceres Mayor Javier Lopez issued a proclamation declaring April 30 as Arbor Day in Ceres.
The city used to hold Arbor Day tree planting ceremonies at the various Ceres schools but in recent years ceremonies have been held in city parks in a low-key celebration.
Arbor Day started in 1872 in Nebraska, resulting in the planting of more than a million trees in that state.
The city takes care of over 15,000 street trees and park trees.
Ceres has maintained its status as a “Tree City USA” by meeting the four points of criteria:
• Have a tree board or department that plants and maintains trees;
• Host an annual Arbor Day observance;
• Adopt and enforce a tree care ordinance;
• Budget a program that allocates at least $2 per resident for the care of city trees.
Officials with the city stressed that trees contribute to the quality of life in Ceres by helping cool and beautify properties, help clean air and place oxygen into the atmosphere, control erosion and raise property values.