Arlington Heights ready for 40th Arbor Day celebration

This year marks four decades of the Arlington Heights Park District’s annual Arbor Day Celebration.

And during much of that time, the tree plantings central to the event have been at parks near schools to help educate children on the importance of trees to the environment.

In that spirit, park district officials announced entries are now being accepted for their annual tree drawing contest.

With the theme “Planting Seeds of Inspiration,” Arlington Heights students in preschool through sixth grade can create their best cherry blossom tree on a drawing contest sheet that can be downloaded from the park district website,

Winners in three age categories — pre K-grade 1, grades 2-4 and grades 5-6 — will be announced at the Friday, April 26, event at Rand-Berkley Park, 1 W. Waverly Road. Refreshments will be served at 9:30 a.m. and the ceremony begins at 10 a.m.

The young artists, who will get $25 gift certificates for park district programs, will be judged on creativity, originality, composition and relevancy to the Arbor Day theme, officials say. Students can use media including watercolor, pens, crayons and markers.

Entries are accepted at the Pioneer Community Center, Camelot Community Center or Arlington Ridge Center by April 12.

Park district and village officials will host the Arbor Day festivities, which will include a tree planting and special performance by students from the Chicago Futabakai Japanese School, which is located next to Rand-Berkley Park.

The nation’s first Arbor Day took place on April 10, 1872 — the brainchild of Julius Sterling Morton, a Nebraska journalist and politician who worked to improve agricultural techniques.

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