Marple Tree Commission

June 30, 2016

Celebrating Arbor Day 2016 at the Thomas Massey House











Thomas Massey House volunteers in colonial garb.


Members of the Marple Tree Commission, Thomas Massey House volunteers dressed in colonial garb, local residents, and Township officials, joined together on April 29 at the Thomas Massey House to celebrate Arbor Day with the planting of an American Yellowwood tree. Rich Paul, Thomas Massey House Vice Chair, welcomed the attendees and provided a brief history of this historic property.

Rich Paul Arbor Day 2016

Rich Paul welcoming attendees to the Thomas Massey House.

“This is the tenth year that Marple Township has celebrated Arbor Day,” said MTC Vice Chair, Diana Breen. “In order to mark this occasion, Marple Township is required to apply on a yearly basis to the Arbor Day Foundation for designation as a Tree City.”

The history of the Arbor Day was recounted in a proclamation read by commissioner John Lucas. First celebrated in Nebraska by J. Sterling Morton in 1872 when an estimated one million trees were planted, the national holiday, on the last Friday in April, is intended to encourage individuals to plant and care for trees.

Liz Ball Arbor Day 2016

Liz Ball reading “An Ancient Prayer of the Woods”.

The festivities also included a reading of “Ancient Prayer of the Woods” by Liz Ball, MTC Coordinator of Educational Programs, the presentation of the Tree City flag by Heather Kerr of the PA Department of Conservation and Resources, Bureau of Forestry, and last but not least, the planting of the Yellowwood tree by Rick Ray and Jim Elliott, MTC Co-Chairs.

Unlike all of the other Arbor Day trees planted by MTC, which were bare-root, this tree had a huge root ball that was wrapped in burlap and was in a wire cage. Rick emphasized the importance or removing both the cage and the burlap before lowering the tree into the ground.

Bill Adolph Arbor Day 2016

Bill Aldoph thanking Marple for its commitment to protecting trees.

As the tree was planted, Diana Breen described its characteristics. Native from North Carolina to Kentucky and Tennessee, the Yellowwood (Cladrastis kentukea) grows 30’ – 50’ high and wide. In spring, the tree produces a spectacular show of fragrant, creamy flowers in 8” – 14” long panicles that cascade like rain from the canopy. Fall color is yellow to golden brown.

The celebration closed with State Rep. Bill Adolph (R-165) congratulating Marple Township for its commitment to restoring its tree canopy. Mr. Adolph, who is retiring as Marple’s State Rep has faithfully attended Marple’s Arbor Day celebrations over the past ten years. His support will be missed.

Rick Ray and Jim Elliott Arbor Day 2016

At left: Rick Ray and Jim Elliott, MTC co-chairs, planting the tree as Diana Breen (in the background) describes the tree to the audience.

Marple Township’s 2016 Arbor Day Tree, American Yellowwood.

Marple Township’s 2016 Arbor Day Tree, American Yellowwood.

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