MT. VERNON — The Parks and Recreation Department is planning for large crowds at its annual Arbor Day Celebration.
"In past years, we've had 1,000 to 1,500 people attending," said Parks and Facilities Director George Bryant. "We encourage people to come out that day, rain or shine."
The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Veterans Park on April 27, Bryant told the City Council during its meeting Monday.
"It's a great start to our year and the Family Adventure Series," Bryant said. "Last year we gave away 160 magnolia trees, and 2,000 tree seedlings."
Activities planned for the day include a petting zoo, tree climbing adventure, sling shot range, arts and crafts, a recycling station, the Ameren IP Preserved Tree giveaway and a recycling station.
From 10 a.m. to noon there will be activities and booths, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. free hot dogs and soda, from noon to 12:30 the Arbor Day ceremony; and from 12:30 to 1 p.m. activities and booths.
Bryant also told the council the city has been chosen to receive another Tree City USA award.
"Myself and Matt Fauss, the city public works director, attended the Tree City USA conference," Bryant said. "There was a workshop on trees and ice storms. Some of the information we gleaned from that will be extremely helpful as we look at trees on city property and on right of ways."
Bryant said many years ago, the city had completed a tree survey. The highest number of trees on city property were silver maple trees, which have poor structure, and are highly susceptible to ice damage. The next three highest trees were red maples, sugar maples and American sweet gum. Bryant said the maples, while nice trees, also have a problem with breakage and damage in an ice storm and sweet gum trees are not desirable due to the fruit and the shallow root structure which can break sidewalks.