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Tree City USA status feted at Hidahl
Trees make for a better Ceres.

Hidahl Elementary School students helped the city of Ceres celebrate the benefit of trees as well as the city of Ceres garnering - for the 18th time - the title of Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation.

City officials mixed with teachers, students and school district officials on Thursday for the annual Arbor Day ceremony. 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.

The students patiently sat through a reading of the city Arbor Day proclamation by Councilman Guillermo Ochoa as well as a recitation of the benefits of trees. They grew excited when recreation department coordinator Traci Dayton-Farris noted that cookies and juice would be served at the end of the ceremony. Those were doled out by members of the Ceres Garden Club.

The city takes care of over 15,000 street trees and park trees.

Ceres has met the four criteria to be dubbed Tree City USA. The city must have:

• A tree board or department that plants and maintains trees;

• An annual Arbor Day observance;

• A tree care ordinance;

• A program that allocates at least $2 per resident for the care of city trees.

Prior to the ceremony, the K-6 students were asked to be a part of an Arbor Day poster contest. Winners of the contest, themed "Trees are Terrific and Energy Wise," were announced at the ceremony.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, students were selected to help city parks workers plant two red oak trees on a patch of green on the playground.

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.