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updated: 4/28/2017 4:53 PM

On Arbor Day, Arlington Heights turns page on green pest

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  • From left, Arlington Heights Trustee John Scaletta, Mayor Tom Hayes, Olive-Mary Stitt Elementary School Ecology Club member Sara Cieply, Arlington Heights Park Board Commissioner Tim Gelinas, and Olive-Mary Stitt Ecology Club member Ryder Schuch shovel dirt during an Arbor Day tree planting ceremony Friday.

      From left, Arlington Heights Trustee John Scaletta, Mayor Tom Hayes, Olive-Mary Stitt Elementary School Ecology Club member Sara Cieply, Arlington Heights Park Board Commissioner Tim Gelinas, and Olive-Mary Stitt Ecology Club member Ryder Schuch shovel dirt during an Arbor Day tree planting ceremony Friday.
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

  • The Olive-Mary Stitt Elementary School Ecology Club performs a song Friday during the annual Arlington Heights village and park district Arbor Day tree planting ceremony.

      The Olive-Mary Stitt Elementary School Ecology Club performs a song Friday during the annual Arlington Heights village and park district Arbor Day tree planting ceremony.
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

 
 

A "little green bug" called the emerald ash borer wrecked havoc across the suburbs several years ago, Arlington Heights Village Forester Dru Sabatello observed, but the village has turned the corner.

So Friday -- Arbor Day -- was cause for celebration for Sabatello, his staff, and village and park district officials, who together planted a new tree in Greens Park -- representing one of some 12,000 new trees planted villagewide since the green pest struck in 2006.

"I love this day. It's a special day for the village forestry staff," Sabatello said.

And through a village-resident cost sharing program, some 2,500 ash trees treated with a chemical are also still standing.

The new tree planted in Greens Park, at Olive Street and Douglas Avenue, is a tulip tree -- a shade tree that blooms flowers similar to a tulip. Park board President Maryfran Leno recalled planting a tree in the park a decade ago after she saw a photo from a previous Arbor Day ceremony circulate this week on Facebook.

"It's so great we keep coming back and seeing the trees grow," Leno said.

The park district has been hosting an Arbor Day program for 33 years -- usually at a park near a school to help educate children on the importance of trees and environment, said Rick Hanetho, the park district's executive director.

Friday's tree planting ceremony also included a performance by third- through fifth-grade members of the Ecology Club at neighboring Olive-Mary Stitt Elementary, and awards were given to four students from Patton Elementary who won the park district's tree drawing contest.

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