The City of Grand Prairie will be hosting the official Arbor Day Celebration for the State of Texas this year on Friday at its Grand Central location. Grand Central is a 172-acre development west of State Highway 161 / President George Bush Turnpike between Arkansas Lane and Warrior Trail and is a perfect venue for a tree celebration.
A prestigious honor, Rhonda Aghamalian from BrandEra, Inc. who is a spokesperson for the Grand Prairie event, said the city was selected as the state’s official city this year through an application process with the Texas Forest Service. The application process involves being considered and accepted by a Texas Forest Service Committee and a different city is chosen each year to the be the official city.
With around 900 fourth graders and their teachers taking part in Friday’s event, there will also be VIP’s and the general public in attendance. Aghamalian said there will be a total of about 1,300 in attendance overall.
Even better, she added, “We have 1,300 Texas Red Oak Tree Seedlings to hand out to attendees.”
With guest speakers for the event as diverse as Dan Lambe, president of the National Arbor Day Foundation and Texas State Forrester Tom Boggus, who will serve as the emcee, the event will begin at 10:20 a.m.
Following the Arbor Day festivities, attendees can browse the informational booths for children and adults ranging from environmentally conscious vendors to area tree organizations. There will be 21 specifically for children and several Urban Forestry Councils in attendance, as well. These will include Cross Timbers Urban Forestry Council, Trinity Black Land Urban Forestry Council, International Society of Arboriculture Texas Chapter, Texas Urban Forestry Council, the Texas Forestry Association and Oncor who is a Tree Line USA through the National Arbor Day Foundation. A presentation by the Army Corps of Engineers, Keep Grand Prairie Beautiful and Grand Prairie Animal Services will also be available.
For entertainment, the Grammy-nominated music group Trout Fishing in America will perform the National Anthem as well as one additional song and will perform a song with the Grand Prairie High School Show Choir.
Grand Prairie places a strong emphasis on the importance of trees every day of the year and is a Tree City, USA as well as having a Living Memorial Forest Program. This program gives community members the opportunity to have a tree planted in memory or in honor of a loved one. The fee is $250 and includes the tree, the tree planting, guidance on the tree planting site selection, a plaque and lifetime maintenance.
Living Memorial Forest Program began in 2001 and to date, more than 100 trees have been planted.
Cleveland said, “All parks in the city are available for individuals to select to have a Memorial Tree Planted. We work with the individuals to select the perfect site for their Living Memorial Forest Tree.”
Overall, the Living Memorial Forest Program and the Tree City, USA designation is a few more ways people in the area are reminded of the importance of Arbor Day all year long.