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Volunteers add trees to AJ State Park

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By Jenny Hartley

There may be even more reason to celebrate Arbor Day in Lancaster County, as trees come down in the Panhandle to make room for homes, shopping malls and medical offices.

But trees are safe at Andrew Jackson State Park, where an Arbor Day celebration was held Dec. 7.

Members of various Lancaster County garden clubs planted blueberry bushes and apple trees in the orchard at the park in honor of the day.

Van Wyck resident Jane Massey, a member of the Friends of Andrew Jackson State Park, told a crowd at the celebration that Arbor Day was first celebrated in 1872. More than 1 million trees were planted on that first Arbor Day.

Arbor Day is celebrated on various dates around the country, based on ideal planting conditions.

In South Carolina, it’s celebrated on the first Friday in December because plants are dormant, there’s adequate rainfall and tree roots suffer less from the shock of transplanting, Massey said.

“The first Friday in December is a time not only to celebrate Arbor Day in South Carolina, but also to think about the benefits planted trees can provide our homes, schools and institutions, our cities and towns, and of course, our forests,” she said. “For every single tree we plant on Arbor Day, millions more must be planted in South Carolina’s forest to keep up with the country’s need for wood and wood products.”

Massey talked about the benefits of trees, which include:

u Aesthetic beauty

u Reducing air pollution. One acre of forest absorbs 6 tons of carbon dioxide and puts out 4 tons of oxygen. This is enough to meet the annual needs of 18 people.

u Provide 30,000 jobs to South Carolina and more than 5,000 wood, paper and chemical products

Massey also shared a quote from Arbor Day founder J. Sterling Morton, who said while other most holidays focus on the past, Arbor Day focuses on the future.

“Each generation takes the Earth as trustees,” Massey said, quoting Morton. “We ought to bequeath to posterity as many forests and orchards as we have exhausted and consumed.”

The Catawba chapter of the Daughters of the America Revolution, Friends of Andrew Jackson State Park, Green Gardeners club, Leaf and Petal garden club, Master Gardeners of Lancaster, the Lancaster Garden Club and the Ann White and Lancaster chapters of the United Daughters of the Confederacy participated in the ceremony.

Contact senior reporter Jenny Hartley at jhartley@thelancasternews.com or at (803) 283-1151