The town of Patrick had its second Arbor Day Celebration on Friday, Dec. 5 at the Patrick Recreation Building. The celebration featured a "Youth Day Presentation" coordinated by Sue Watford, Mae Esther Fields and Joseph Campbell.
The Youth Day Presentation began with a welcome from Patrick Mayor Rosa L. Millsaps Privette, who also introduced the special guests - S.C. House of Representatives Denny Neilson and Mary Beth Freeman.
Joseph Campbell gave the invocation and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Natasha Weatherford read Patrick's Arbor Day Proclamation. Opening remarks were made by Patrick Beautification Commission members Mae Esther Fields, chairperson; Desseree McLain, vice-chair; and Lexie Campbell, secretary-recorder.
Ronnie Harper, Patrician Weatherford, Natasha Weatherford and Bridget Villerta presented the Notable Quotes and the Youth Arbor Day Presentation, "Celebrating Trees Around Patrick."
Their program outlined the benefits of trees: "Trees can benefit urban environments by modifying local climates and saving energy. By properly placing trees around buildings, air conditioning costs can be reduced by as much as 30 percent. Trees are effective in reducing air pollution by trapping both solid and gaseous substances from the air and converting some of these gases into oxygen for us to breathe. Noise pollution can be reduced by trees and other vegetation by planting buffers or islands of trees to absorb unpleasant sounds. Trees help protect soil and water quality by reducing the impact of raindrops, resulting in less runoff and erosion. Tree roots help stabilize soils by holding soil particles together and thus supporting other vegetation. Additionally, trees benefit us by improving our quality of life, increasing property values, improving wildlife habitat and adding beauty to our towns and cities."
During November, the arboricultural consulting firm of Taylor & Knowles, Inc. of Columbia was contracted by the town to complete a tree inventory and management plan for the trees along the streets. An inventory of all the existing shade trees and planting spaces were plotted on a map, and a street tree management plan was prepared for identifying and prioritizing tree pruning, maintenance, removals and planting activities.
Privette applied for a grant from the S.C. Forestry Commission that would fund the tree inventory and management plan. Patrick received an Urban & Community Forestry Grant, which provided $5,300 with a 50 percent in-kind local match.
The tree inventory map identified 773 trees and planting spaces. It also noted the largest tree on town property and tagged it "Patrick's Champion Tree." A framed picture of Patrick's Champion Tree was unveiled at the Arbor Day Celebration.
Patrick's Champion Tree, a willow oak with a diameter of 48 inches, is located in the 300 block of Polson Street.
Also at the Arbor Day event, those who sponsored a dogwood tree in the "Sponsor A Tree 2003" program were recognized. Brian Davis, assistant forester, Sand Hills State Forestry Commission of Patrick, made the closing remarks about the importance and benefits of trees. He also provided free tree booklets, pencils, bumper stickers, tree seedlings and posters.
A reception was held afterwards, and refreshments were served.