A shining example of a city showing consistent environmental preservation lies somewhat hidden in mid-Missouri, and that tradition in Mexico was further extended last week.
Throughout Friday morning, organizers from both the Mexico Parks and Recreation Department and the Missouri Department of Conservation met at Robert S. Green Park in celebration of Arbor Day, a national observance of trees and their roles in daily life.
Those who celebrate Arbor Day plant trees all across towns nationwide, performing the act for the promotion of both the growing and care of trees. However, city organizers in Mexico on Friday took the deed a step further: in addition to the planting of both Yellowwood and Red Maple trees in the park, informational packets, tree seedlings and expert advice were given out for free for patrons in attendance.
Mexico Mayor Chris Miller was more than happy to promote a message of preservation with his attendance at the celebration, saying that events like Friday’s help the environment and beautification of his town.
“The people of Mexico are very interested in preserving our trees and our forestry,” Miller said. “Trees makes oxygen, they make shade, heating...they do more purposes than we realize, and the people of Mexico are excited to promote the message.”
Miller began the celebration -- after a brief welcome message from Director of Mexico Parks and Recreation Chad Shoemaker -- with an official proclamation of Apr. 6 as Arbor Day in Mexico, urging citizens to support efforts to care for trees and woodlands in the city.
“Trees in our city increase property values, enhance the economic vitality of business areas and beautify our community,” the proclamation stated. “I urge all citizens to plant trees to gladden the hearts and promote the well-being of present and future generations.”
Following the decree, Missouri Department of Conservation forester Angela George awarded Miller and the city of Mexico the Tree City USA award (given out by the National Arbor Day Foundation) with a commemorative flag and a road sign remarking the 39 years the city has been recognized by the foundation for their Arbor Day services.
The 39-year streak is officially the longest of any city in the entire state of Missouri.
“We observe Arbor Day so that we can give trees to people in town, so that they will continuously replace trees that are dying,” Miller said about the reason for why Mexico has a consistent track record for environmental-friendly policy. “We’re constantly improving our town’s looks and environmental health. It’s an ongoing project and a great success.”
Proper planting of two trees -- specifically, a Yellowwood and Red Maple -- then commenced after the award ceremony. Shoemaker, Miller and Missouri Department of Forestry employee Jay Eicher helped to plant the seedlings in the park, giving out advice to Mexico citizens for how to properly plant and take care of a growing tree.
The celebration ended with the city department of Parks and Recreation giving out free Arbor Day informational packets and tree seedlings to attendees, giving Mexico citizens the chance to put the advice learned on Friday to good use.
Though turnout was not heavy, Miller thought that any difference made with Friday’s events was a big.
“There’s not a lot of people here, but we’ll give out quite a few more trees before the event is over,” he said. “In the event of when they are here or not, it makes (citizens) think about Arbor Day, and the fact that you need to plant trees to keep Mexico beautiful and healthy.”