Chelsea’s Arbor Day celebration set for Feb. 28

By EMILY SPARACINO / Staff Writer

CHELSEA – Hundreds of trees will be free for the taking at the city of Chelsea’s 16th annual Arbor Day Celebration on Feb. 28.

Chelsea's 2015 Arbor Day celebration will be held Feb. 28 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Chelsea Recreational Park. (Contributed)

Chelsea’s 2015 Arbor Day celebration will be held Feb. 28 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Chelsea Recreational Park. (Contributed)

The celebration will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Chelsea Recreational Park off Shelby County 39 in Chelsea.

“This will be our 16th year,” Chelsea Mayor Earl Niven said. “It’s just a fun event.”

Niven said Chelsea’s involvement in Arbor Day festivities came after former Chelsea City Councilwoman Earlene Isbell suggested the city establish a tree commission and apply to be a Tree City USA through the Arbor Day Foundation.

“There are different qualifications that you have to do in order to be a Tree City, and we meet those qualifications,” Niven said. “Each year, we select a project like at the baseball and softball fields. We have planted trees at Chelsea High School, Chelsea Middle School, and this past year, we planted a $10,000 tree assortment at Forest Oaks Elementary. That was our main project last year.”

According to the Arbor Day Foundation’s website, communities achieve Tree City USA status by meeting four core standards of sound urban forestry management, including maintaining a tree board or department, having a community tree ordinance, spending at least $2 per capita on urban forestry and celebrating Arbor Day.

Niven said Chelsea has always supported a “clean and green” approach.

Judy Cain with the Chelsea Tree Commission said various types of seedlings native to Alabama and the Southeast region will be available.

Types of seedlings the commission ordered this year include red maple, river birch, white dogwood and oak.

“When you become a Tree City through the Arbor Day Foundation, your city commits so much money per citizen to put forward the whole tree thing,” Cain said. “Part of that includes the Arbor Day celebration, part includes the planting of trees in different areas and making sure we’re protecting our environment.”

Drawings for container trees and other prizes such as hats, T-shirts and coloring books for children will be held every few minutes, Cain said.

In addition, refreshments and information about trees, planting and maintenance will be available at the family friendly event.

“It’s well attended,” Niven said. “(We) just welcome anyone who would love to come out.”