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City celebrates Arbor Day with planting
• New tree planted in Marie Neal Park
Arbor Day Ceres 2022
A Coastal Oak was planted last Thursday in Marie Neel Park next to Sam Vaughn Elementary School in east Ceres for an Arbor Day celebration. Holding shovels are Ceres Unified School District Supt. Denise Wickham and Ceres Mayor Javier Lopez and his wife, Estefania Lopez. In the back are Acting Public Works Director Sam Royal, Economic Development Manager Anthony Sims, Recreation Manager Joey Chavez and an unidentified city parks worker. - photo by Jeff Benziger

A new Coastal Oak tree will be about 30 feet tall 20 years from now, offering shade to future generations in Marie Neel Park, after its planting last week in a low-key observance of Arbor Day.

On Thursday morning Ceres Mayor Javier Lopez and Ceres Unified School District Supt. Denise Wickham helped plant the tree for a short ceremony. The mayor read a proclamation declaring Arbor Day in Ceres.

Ceres has met the four points of criteria to be dubbed Tree City USA:

• 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.

Trees help cleanse the air by intercepting airborne particles, reducing heat, and absorbing such pollutants as carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide. Trees remove this air pollution by lowering air temperature, through respiration, and by retaining particulates.

During the first Arbor Day observance in 1872, a million trees were planted in Nebraska.

City officials commented that they would like to plan next year’s Arbor Day observance at a school campus as was the tradition before 2017.