ROANOKE COUNTY, VA (April 28, 2017) – Students at Green Valley Elementary School observed Arbor Day today with student presentations, music, and a ceremonial tree planting. This event will help Roanoke County retain its Tree City USA designation by the Arbor Day Foundation, honoring the County’s commitment to effective urban forest management. Roanoke County has held the title for 19 consecutive years, and is currently one of only three counties in Virginia to hold the designation.
During the event Joe McNamara of the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors read a proclamation recognizing April 28 as National Arbor Day in Roanoke County. Remarks were also made by Mike Wray of the Roanoke County School Board. Students shared songs and poems about the value of trees. Finally, Virginia Department of Forestry spokesman Johnathan Vest introduced special guest Smokey Bear.
“We’re blessed in Roanoke County to be surrounded by abundant natural beauty,” said McNamara. “Arbor Day and our Tree City USA designation reinforce the commitment to environmental stewardship in our community while setting a positive example for the next generation.”
Wray agreed, stressing the important role of environmental education in Roanoke County Public Schools. “We want our youth to grow up recognizing the importance of our trees and woodlands so they’re more inclined to take an active role in enjoying and preserving nature as adults.”
This year’s event was administered by the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission whose leadership made it possible for ten new trees to be planted at Green Valley through a $1200 Virginia Trees for Clean Water matching grant from the Virginia Department of Forestry. The Arbor Day Observance was one of four requirements for the Tree City USA designation, including; a tree-care ordinance, a tree board, an annual community forestry budget of at least $2 per capita, and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.
Additional pictures and video from Roanoke County’s Arbor Day event are available on request. More information on the Tree City USA program is available at arborday.org/TreeCityUSA.