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Trees for the Tri-Cities

Alex Doty • Apr 30, 2016 at 7:00 AM

Grand Haven and Spring Lake did their part to help honor National Arbor Day on Friday, as both communities hosted tree planting ceremonies in the morning.

Grand Haven hosted its tree planting ceremony at the corner of Clinton and Fourth streets, behind the Ottawa County parking lot. Helping the city’s Department of Public Works crew was Angi Huntington’s fourth-grade class from Mary A. White Elementary School. 

Mayor Geri McCaleb said she enjoys how the planting event helps the students better understand the importance of trees.

“I’m glad we do this and I’m glad the kids get to participate,” she said. “It’s fun to watch them taking turns shoveling dirt.”

Recently named a “Tree City” for the 21st year, Grand Haven conducts annual tree plantings at different locations around town. This year’s tree is a little leaf linden.

McCaleb noted that she likes trees in town rather than a barren landscape.

“Trees are an amazing natural resource, and it’s a good thing that we have a lot of them,” she said.

See more photos from the celebrations here.

Fourth-grader Caleb Brugger was one of the Mary A. White students who helped plant the tree on Friday — a project he was glad to be a part of.

“It is fun and good for the community, and for downtown as well,” he said.

Brugger noted that Friday’s event was his second time planting a tree while in school — he also planted one as a third-grader — and said he didn’t mind being outside on a chilly spring day to help the environment.

Earlier Friday, the Village of Spring Lake hosted a tree planting at the village’s Central Park, near the fenced-in dog park. The village was recently named a “Tree City” by the Arbor Day Foundation for the 22nd year.

“Trees are a key element of the beauty that surrounds us here in the village, and we take it very seriously,” Village President Jim MacLachlan said. “We’ve dedicated significant resources to maintaining and growing our collection of trees.”

The village budgets between $15,000 and $20,000 each year for the care and maintenance of planting new trees.

“The lion’s share of that is now provided by donations from the Verplank family,” MacLachlan said. ”Vicky (Verplank) was a village president for a number of years, and also a member of council, and she spent most of her married life here in the village.“

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