Follansbee celebrates Arbor Day

FOLLANSBEE – Pupils and staff at Follansbee Middle School and members of the city’s tree committee carried on a long-time tradition Friday when they gathered to plant a tree in observance of Arbor Day.

Fifth graders Matthew Krise, Rylee Pierce and Lily Glover added a Kousa dogwood to the several planted around the softball field by the school in earlier years.

They are among many that have been planted at Arbor Day observances held over the years at the ball field, Follansbee Park and just outside the school and organized by the school’s staff, the city’s volunteer tree committee and mayor.

Such gatherings have helped the city to earn the Tree City USA designation from the National Arbor Day Foundation.

Bob Hannah, urban forestry coordinator for the West Virginia Division of Forestery, noted it’s the 19th year the city has received the honor and it is one of 15 West Virginia municipalities to receive it.

The honor is presented to cities with a tree board or department, an ordinance and budget for the care of trees on city property and a yearly observance of Arbor Day.

Hannah presented a Tree City USA banner to Mayor David Velegol Jr. and Nina Meca and Jim Mirasola, both members of the city’s volunteer tree committee and former council members.

On hand for the occasion were fifth-graders from the school, who each received a sapling to take home and plant.

Also participating was the school’s marching band, which performed the national anthem under the direction of director T.L. Williams. Pupil Treston Sawson led the Pledge of Allegiance.

(Scott can be contacted at wscott@heraldstaronline.com.)