Fort Stewart Youth Center celebrates Arbor Day, plants trees
February 25, 2010
<b> FORT STEWART, Ga. </b>- The Fort Stewart Youth Center, with a little help from the Keep Liberty Beautiful organization, the Directorate of Public Works and the garrison command team, celebrated Arbor Day by planting two young trees outside the Fort Stewart Youth Center, Feb. 19. The trees, a crepe myrtle and Shumard oak, were donated to the youth center by Keep Liberty Beautiful.
According to spokeswoman, Sara Swida, Keep Liberty Beautiful, an education and volunteer action program dedicated to community improvement, has recently given away more than 150 trees. Keep Liberty Beautiful is as an affiliate of Keep America Beautiful.
Olivia A. Mickalonis, DPW landscape architect, started the ceremony with a brief history of Arbor Day, a holiday in which individuals and organizations are encouraged to plant trees. Mickalonis told everyone that Arbor Day was first celebrated in Nebraska in 1872.
She said Georgia first celebrated Arbor Day in 1890 and reminded students that the live oak tree is Georgia's state tree. The state's largest live oak tree - a 77-foot giant - is found in Waycross, although Thomasville claims its "Big Oak" is "the largest live oak east of the Mississippi" due to the 162-foot spread of its branches.
Mickalonis concluded her remarks by saying that all 50 states now observe Arbor Day, though during differing months of the year.
Her comments were followed by remarks by Col. Kevin Milton, Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield garrison commander, who reminded everyone that trees are necessary because they produce oxygen, reduce soil erosion, provide habitat for wildlife and lumber for our homes. And, he added, trees are beautiful.
Swida then officially donated the trees to the youth center.
A team of students, Stewart-Hunter garrison Command Sergeant Major James Ervin, and Bob McCarty, DPW Forestry Branch, planted the oak tree, while another team of students, Col. Milton, and T.J. Quarles, DPW Forestry Branch, planted the crepe myrtle.