The importance of trees: Celebrating Arbor Day in Garden City

Meghan Flynn
Garden City Telegram
Jennie Barker Elementary School student Ximena Terrones, left, uses a shovel to place dirt in a hole surrounding a triumph elm tree held by John Klampa, Kansas Forest Service district forester, Friday outside the school.  The tree panting was part of the Garden City Arbor Day ceremony.  Terrones is this year’s local, district and state winner the Kansas Arbor Day poster contest.

A Triumph Elm tree was planted at Jennie Barker Elementary School Friday.

It was planted as part of Garden City's 2021 Arbor Day celebration, which also included the announcement of the top three Garden City winners of the annual Kansas Arbor Day Poster Contest.In addition to winning first place in the city, Terrones was also the first place winner for the district and the state.

Laina Romero of Bernadine Sitts Intermediate Center received third place, Vianey Cuevas-Meza also of Bernadine Sitts received second and Ximena Terrones of Jennie Barker received first place.

In addition to winning first place in the city, Terrones was also the first place winner for the district and the state. Terrones was shocked to be named the winner, but said it felt "good, really nice."

Ximena Terrones winning artwork from this year's Kansas Arbor Day poster contest.

She said she decided to participate in the contest because it's fun and came up with her winning design by thinking about a tree and all of the of it's processes and resources.

Misty Terrones is proud of her daughter.

"She's always been good at art ... I'm just very proud of my daughter," she said.

Holly Karhoff, a member of the Garden City Tree Board, gave a bit of background on Arbor Day at the celebration, which was first celebrated in 1872 in Nebraska, and said the purpose of planting a tree on the day is to show concern for future generations.

"The simple act of planting a tree represents a belief that the tree will grow ... become wood products, wildlife habitat, erosion control, shelter from wind and sun, beauty and inspiration for ourselves and our children," she said.

The national holiday was celebrated on April 22 for many years but is now celebrated on the last Friday in April, Karhoff said. All 50 states, Puerto Rico and some United States territories have all passed legislation adopting Arbor Day, and celebrate on the day appropriate for tree planting in their region.

Roy Cessna, mayor of Garden City, said it was great to see the students get involved in the poster contest and tree planting, something that effects the community.

"We've been a tree city for 43 years, then having them participate in a poster contest then we have state winners it seems like every year, or at least local winners, but having a state winner is really exciting to see," he said. "It really shows how to get involved with the environment and shows the kids how trees really do help the environment and our community as a whole."

John Klempa, district forester with the Kansas Forest Service, who sponsors the poster contest yearly, said he was glad to be in Garden City Friday as it's important to share with the youth the importance of trees at an early age.

"Around western Kansas people really appreciate their trees, but we want to start early so they have the appreciation early instead of waiting until they go to K-State or something like that," he said.