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Celebrate Arbor Day
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The City of Covington mayor and council, the Newton County Board of Commissioners and the City of Covington Tree Preservation Board will host an Arbor Day Celebration from 11 a.m. to noon Friday.

The celebration will be held on Clark Street at the entrance of the park along the creek flowing behind Bethlehem Baptist Church.

Debbie Dial, zoning administrator for Covington and tree board secretary, said the Georgia Forestry Commission's theme this Arbor Day is "Connecting and Collaborating with Others."

Tree Board Chair Loy Summers and member Marshall Ginn will present three Tree Steward Awards.

"You have to at least meet the intent of the tree ordinance," Dial said, "and do some things that are, community-wise, environmentally friendly."

This year's institutional winner is Newton Federal Bank whose employees conserved and replanted trees on its lot.

"They didn't have to do that, so we felt they deserved it," Dial said.

The industrial award this year will go to C.R. Bard for their tree conservation during remodeling.

Clark's Grove designers will receive the residential award this year.

"Clark's Grove has put in more street trees than some of the other residential subdivisions in town," Dial said, "so we are recognizing them for their efforts to restore the canopy cover."

Before lunch is served at The Center for Community Planning and Preservation, Keep Covington/Newton Beautiful Executive Director Connie Waller will replace a tree planted in memory of long-time KCNB member Maude Grimes.

"Over the last five years we have been planting trees through our Keep Covington/Newton Beautiful Board to honor people in the community," Waller said.

Grimes was a KCNB board member into her 90s. The tree originally planted in her memory died for no apparent reason, possibly the drought according to Waller, last year.

"She was a wonderful member of the board and had been a friend and supporter for years," Waller said. "She truly wanted to bring the community together to take care of our environment."

She was also a member of Bethlehem Baptist Church, so Waller said it is poignant that the tree will be visible from the church.

The city of Oxford will celebrate Arbor Day starting at 10 a.m. Saturday at the city's new pocket park located on George Street between Wesley and Asbury Streets.

Beryl Budd, urban forester with the Georgia Forestry Commission, and Dan Bauer of Bartlett's Tree Service will offer an educational program on tree pruning, planting native species and control of invasive plants.

Attendees will also receive a tree seedling.

Palmer-Stone Elementary fifth grade students who participated in the Arbor Day poster contest will be recognized at the ceremony and receive seedlings as well.

Oxford Mayor Jerry Roseberry will receive the annual Tree City USA award for the city's 10th year in the program.

This year, the Arbor Day Foundation is offering 10 Eastern redbud trees to Georgians who join and send a $10 donation to the organization.

"Redbuds will add lasting beauty to homes across Georgia," said John Rosenow, chief executive of ADF, in a press release. "They will also add to the proud heritage of Georgia's 112 Tree City USA communities.

"Fore more than 30 years, Tree City USA has supported community forestry across Georgia, and planting these lovely redbuds will add to this important tree-planting tradition."

The 6- to 12-inch seedlings will be shipped postpaid between March 1 and May 31 with planting instructions, and are guaranteed to grow or be replaced free of charge.

Members also receive a subscription to the foundation's bimonthly publication "Arbor Day" as well as "The Tree Book" with information about tree planting and care.

To become a member and receive 10 redbud seedlings, send $10 to Ten Free Eastern Redbud Trees, Arbor Day Foundation, 100 Arbor Avenue, Nebraska City, Neb. 68410 by Feb. 29 or visit


Covington's Arbor Day sponsors are City of Covington mayor and council, Newton County Board of Commissioners, Covington Tree Preservation Board, Georgia Forestry Commission, Trees Covington, Keep Covington/Newton Beautiful, Main Street Covington, Covington Service Guild and Rep. Doug Holt.

Oxford's Arbor Day celebration is sponsored by the City of Oxford Trees, Parks and Recreation Board.