SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. >> After being designated a Tree City USA, the city of Saratoga Springs celebrated at Division Street Elementary School Friday afternoon.
“We couldn’t think of a better time to celebrate this designation than on Arbor Day itself. There’s not a better group to celebrate with than our friends at Division Street School,” Mayor Meg Kelly said to a group of second-grade students.
Initially, the plan was to plant a tree on Walnut Street by the West Side Recreational Fields next to Division Street Elementary School, but the rain forced the ceremony to the school’s patio.
Department of Public Works Commissioner Anthony “Skip” Scirocco explained how Saratoga Springs joined over 3,400 communities nationwide last July as a Tree City USA.
Saratoga Springs became a Tree City USA by maintaining a tree board or department, having a community tree ordinance, spending at least $2 per capita on urban forestry and celebrating Arbor Day.
Scirocco, along with city employee Steve Lashomb, showed the children how trees are planted and how to take care of trees.
“Hopefully they learned a little bit and walked away with some good knowledge of the benefits of the urban forest,” Scirocco said.
Kelly said the city has made a commitment to protecting and preserving the city’s urban forest.
“We know that trees serve as habitats for our animal friends like birds or squirrels, and I’m sure you know, as second-graders, other animals that live in these trees,” said Kelly. “Trees also benefit our community, providing a healthy environment and a peaceful setting for our city to enjoy.”
Scirocco said the tree would be planted either later Friday or Saturday. He told the students to look out for the tree as it grows and as the children grow.