City celebrates Arbor Day with tree dedication at Ellis Arts Academy

Friday, April 27, students at Ellis Arts Academy joined Ald. Ann Thompson-Kelly as she celebrated Arbor Day with the dedication of a Morgan maple tree on the grounds of Ellis Arts Academy.

Ald. Thompson-Kelly, long an advocate for her west-side ward, took great pleasure in spending a few moments with the Ellis students. “This is a great school! Donating this tree is a small way of saying thank you to the facility and staff that work so hard here every day,” she exclaimed.

In addition to dedicating the tree, Ald. Thompson-Kelly congratulated the City of Rockford for its recognition as a “Tree City USA” award recipient. This award is from the National Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the National Association of State Foresters and the USDA Forest Service, and is the leading community forestry recognition program in the U.S. It is in recognition of the City’s commitment to its community forest. 2006 marks the 18th year that Rockford has received this award.

While Mayor Larry Morrissey could not attend the ceremony, he offered his congratulations during Monday’s city council meeting. “They say the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second-best time to plant a tree is today. We must work to bring the trees back to the Forest City,” he said as he recognized the distinction with a proclamation.

The City’s Public Works Department, Forestry Division, chose the Morgan maple for its tendency to grow quickly, adapt well to Midwestern winters, and provide a color with its red canopy.

from the May 2-8, 2007, issue

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