HANSON — Serenaded by a 1933 recording of Joyce Kilmer’s 1913 poem “Trees” — set to Oscar Rasbach’s music and sung by Donald Novis — Hanson officials, senior center and library staff as well as members of Green Hanson shoveled soil at the base of a Kousa dogwood tree planted at the Senior Center on Friday, April 28.
The planting celebrated Arbor Day and was the final step the town needed to take to be declared a “Tree City, USA.” The original Florida dogwood, planted some 25 years ago by nursery owner Les Wyman had succumbed to damage or blight a few years ago. The more hardy Japanese dogwood, with white-to-pink blossoms, was donated to the town by National Grid through Community Relations spokesman Joe Cardle and Arborist Luke Fiske, according to Town Administrator Michael McCue who has orchestrated the town’s quest to be named a Tree City, by the national Arbor Day Association.
A certain amount in annual municipal budgets, a yearly ceremony and bylaws governing care of trees in town are required for the designation. McCue said he plans to keep up with the tradition.
Wyman was introduced by Senior Center Director Mary Collins, who had asked him about what he knew about the old tree.
“He quietly listened to my whole story and the gave me that little twinkle in his eye and said, ‘I should know the type of tree it is, because I’m the one that planted it,’” Collins said.
He recalled promising that the original tree would last forever.
“Hopefully this tree will outlast all of us, because it should,” he said of the new tree, and pledged to water the tree if he finds it dry during the first year, when it requires a bucket of water once a week to establish itself and thrive.
“Plant trees,” he said. “It’s a great hobby and it’s something to enjoy for many, many years.”
The Hanson Highway Department cleared out the old stump and planted the new tree, reserving some soil for the ceremony.
“Welcome to the first of what I hope is many, many Arbor Day celebrations here in the town of Hanson,” McCue said as birds sang on a warm day from other trees. Behind him were Selectmen Chairman James McGahan, Selectmen Bruce Young and Bill Scott and state Rep. Josh Cutler, D-Duxbury — who had also attended events at senior centers in Duxbury and Pembroke throughout the day.
Cutler quoted an Asian proverb, “The best day to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The next best day is today,” as he spoke briefly. “As we stand here in front of the senior center/library, an inter-generational home, it’s a very appropriate place and setting to have this tree that will provide shade for our future generations,” he added.
Cutler also presented a state flag that had been flown at the State House to commemorate the day.
Scott presented a proclamation from the Board of Selectmen, which noted Arbor Day’s beginnings in 1872 by the Nebraska Board of Agriculture.
“Trees can help prevent erosion of our precious topsoil by wind and water, cut heating and cooling costs, moderate the temperature, clean the air, produce life-giving oxygen and provide habitat for wildlife,” Scott read. “Trees in our town increase property values, enhance the economic vitality of the business areas and beautify our community.”
The proclamation urges residents to work toward protecting trees and woodlands and to plant trees to “gladden the heart, and promote the wellbeing of future generations.”