Norwalk took a step toward maintaining its Tree City USA status with its annual Arbor Day celebration Friday at Fox Run Elementary School. Festivities included recognizing children who won the Arbor Day poster contest, planting a tree and handing out chocolate chip cookies and seedlings to the children in attendance.
Each year, the celebration is held at a different elementary school. Since this is the seventh year, almost every school has had a visit from city officials and others to mark the occasion, according to Paul Sotnik, an engineer with the Norwalk Department of Public Works.
This year, Doug Emmerthal, program leader for the Department of Environmental Protections Division of Forestry, and David Tracy, president of the Norwalk Tree Alliance, also addressed the children to declare the importance of Arbor Day.
Poster contest winners were kindergartner Logan Schlegel, first-grader Nicaella Deronvil, second-grader Donald Defala, third-grader Katherine Thompson, fourth- grader Jessica Pia and fifth-grader Dontae King.
Norwalk has earned the national recognition of being a Tree City USA community for seven years. Tree City USA communities must have a tree board or department, a tree care ordinance, a comprehensive community forestry program with annual expenditures of at least $2 per capita, and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.
The city has also received a Tree City USA Growth Award for demonstrating progress in its community forestry program. The Growth Award honors environmental improvement and higher levels of tree care in Tree City USA communities.
The Tree City USA program is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the National Association of State Foresters and the USDA Forest Service.
Upcoming on the city's agenda to celebrate trees is the Norwalk-Wilton Tree Festival, set for Saturday, May 21, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Cranbury Park, rain or shine. The day is free-of-charge food, beverages and parking included It is family oriented and packed with exhibits, activities and entertainment to promote ecology and demonstrate the value of trees as a natural resource that enhance the quality of life in our communities. Door prizes are distributed at regular intervals over the course of the festival, which is sponsored by the Norwalk Tree Alliance, Norwalk Tree Advisory Committee, Wilton Garden Club and Wilton Tree Committee.
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