Jeramey Jannene
Friday Photos

Arbor Day Edition

Mayor, MPS Superintendent, 4th graders plant 32 trees at Ohio Playfield.

By - Apr 26th, 2019 04:43 pm
Mayor Tom Barrett asks questions of students from Zablocki Community School. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Mayor Tom Barrett asks questions of students from Zablocki Community School. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

We depart from our normally-scheduled series of construction photos to look at the city’s feel-good tree planting effort.

Friday morning Mayor Tom Barrett and Milwaukee Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Keith P. Posley joined with fourth-grade students from Zablocki Community School and members of the city’s Forestry Services Division to plant 32 trees at the Ohio Playfield.

The city also received a 40th-anniversary award from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources for being a Tree City, the second longest streak in the state (Sheboygan has Milwaukee beat by one year). One of the standards to qualify is spending $2 per capita on forestry services. Milwaukee spends $28.91 according to DNR regional director Joe Liebau. The city’s 2019 budget includes $13.9 million for the forestry division’s operation.

The event was part of Arbor Day an international holiday celebrating trees. The day is held on the last Friday of April in the United States.

“Urban forestry is something that doesn’t get talked about much in Wisconsin, but it’s something that’s so important because so many kids only interact with trees in their community,” said Liebau. The city owns approximately 200,000 trees spread across its streets, city-owned parks and other city properties.

“Planting a tree is a statement about our future,” said Barrett before quizzing the students on why trees are important.

“Did you hear those wonderful answers from our brilliant scholars?” asked Posley after the students provided answers ranging from simple concepts like shade to complex answers involving the ecosystem.

Each of the students was given a sapling, but not before they could sing two songs to the cameras. The first was a rendition of John Denver‘s “Plant a Tree for Your Tomorrow.” The latter was a remix of the incredibly popular song “Baby Shark” with lyrics about trees.

The trees replace 32 Ash trees that were removed to combat the spread of the invasive and devastating Emerald Ash Borer. In an attempt to avoid having to undergo a wholesale clearance in the future, the replacement trees come from a mix of different species. Seeking tree diversity is part of the city’s standard operating practice now as a result of a number of devastating diseases and bugs that target specific types of trees.

The city-owned park occupies a full block bordered by W. Ohio Ave., S. 9th Pl., W. Holt Ave. and S. 10th St. in the city’s Morgandale neighborhood.

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