I think that I shall never see
a poem as lovely as a tree.
Trees, by Joyce Kilmer
I don’t know if the lyric, old-fashioned poem by Joyce Kilmer is still taught in elementary schools on Arbor Day as it once was, but the theme of the poem still has value. Besides being lovely to look at, trees provide oxygen for breathing, homes for wildlife, sap for maple syrup, and eventually decompose into rich soil for new trees. In honor of Arbor Day, April 29, 2016, and the upcoming 100th Anniversary of Cleveland Metroparks, 100 employees will trek out to Acacia Reservation this year and plant one hundred trees. When we do this we follow in the footsteps of generations of Cleveland Metroparks employees and volunteers who have been planting trees in our reservations since the 1920s.
The old fairways of Acacia Golf Course will one day become a life-giving woodland.
When the original park board began acquiring land for the newly created Cleveland Metropolitan Park District in 1917, much of the land had been cleared for agricultural use. In order to reforest these areas nurseries were established in Brecksville and Rocky River Reservations. (Read more about the Cedar Point Nursery in Rocky River Reservation in the October 6, 2014 post by Kathy Schmidt at http://www.clevelandmetroparks.com/Main/Roots-Revealed-Blog/148.aspx#.VwKAMHpqHCs)
Brecksville Nursery, circa 1920s
The work of reforestation of land cleared for farming, or as in the case of Acacia, golfing, continues to this day. Throughout our history the work of reforestation has been done by various departments including Landscape and Forestry. Today this work falls under our Natural Resources Division. But volunteers have been, and continue to be, an important part of the process. And, as this headlines from the Cleveland Plain Dealer, April 6, 1953, illustrates the number of trees planted by volunteers is impressive!
I pulled several photos from our archives that show just a few of the many volunteers
who have helped to make our Emerald Necklace green.
The Natural Science Club goes over plans for tree planting spots
in the South Chagrin Arboretum in 1953
West Tech students planting trees in Big Creek Reservation in 1954
Arbor Day 1976
Save the date! April 28 2017 If you would like to be a part of this long tradition of tree planting in the parks, there will be opportunities to do just that as we celebrate Arbor Day (April 28, 2017) during our anniversary year. Watch for details in the Emerald Necklace and on our social media as we get closer to that date.
AND, just for fun, check out this YouTube clipping from the old Little Rascal movies, and celebrate Arbor Day 1930s style with Alfalfa and the gang.