Water-Related News

Sign Up For Arbor Day Planting At Circle B

Grab a shovel. It’s almost time for Florida Arbor Day.

Locally, Circle B Bar Reserve is hosting a family-oriented workday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Jan. 23.

The community event will involve planting 1,000 bald cypress trees at this popular 1,267-acre nature preserve on Lake Hancock.

Anyone who wants to participate should contact the desk at the nature center or call 863-668-4673 Ext. 205 to reserve a space to aid in planning for the event, which will include hot dogs and drinks following the work day.

Participants should dress appropriately and bring their own shovels and gloves.

Arbor Day has an interesting history.

It was first celebrated in Nebraska on April 10, 1874 in response to an effort by a man named J. Sterling Morton to alter the natural prairie habitat in that part of the United States to add more trees to provide windbreaks and to help to reduce soil erosion, according to a short history compiled by the Arbor Day Foundation.

It didn’t take long for the idea of spread around the country, combining a mixture of civic improvement and replacement of some of the forest canopy cleared in earlier settlement of the country.

Florida has celebrated Arbor Day since 1886.

The official observance is on the third Friday in January, which this year falls on Jan. 15, is the earliest date, which we share with Louisiana. Arbor Day observances in other states range from February to November.

In addition to observing Arbor Day, 165 Florida cities, including Lakeland, Winter Haven and Bartow in Polk County, have earned the Tree City USA designation. This program was begun in 1976 to recognize cities that have an urban forestry program that involves care and maintenance of its trees and observance of Arbor Day.

In Florida trees are considered valuable to provide shade, privacy and wildlife habitat as well as being an attractive addition to any landscape.

But before you plant a tree, do some research to make sure it’s the right tree for the location to avoid common problems such as damage to buildings or to underground or overhead utility lines.

For some tips on adding trees to your landscape, go to http://bit.ly/1SvcyLE or check with your local extension agent located at the Polk County Extension Office at 1702 U.S. 17 South Bartow, which has a knowledgeable and helpful staff. You can contact the office at 863-519-8677.