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Arbor Day rain check

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PUSH: Parks Department superintendent Steve Yoder helps keep a tree upright as they unload a truck of eight trees on Friday around noon.
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Planting: Harrell & Kline Insurance & Investments agentRich Beaver, Huntington director of operations Annette Carol, United Way CEOKyle Metzger and Huntington volunteer coordinator Andrew Rensberger all work together to dig a hole large enough to fit a maple sapling.
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DIRECT:TrophyCenter Plus owner Joe Santa directs Rotary Club presidentCynthia Krumanaker as they try to push the tree into the hole they dug in Evergreen Park.

by Andrew Maciejewski - amaciejewski@h-ponline.com

Although April 26 was officially Arbor Day, poor weather prevented the city of Huntington from effectively participating in the national event like it has for the past 24 years.

City workers and volunteers from the Huntington County Rotary Club decided to swap 40 degree and monsoon-like weather in the last week of April for a beautiful sunny and 75 degree day on Friday to add to the more than 140 trees planted across Huntington last year, according to Parks Department reports.

Parks Department Superintendent Steve Yoder said the event was rescheduled not just because it wasn’t a pleasant day to be outside – there was a reason behind it.

“Rain is obviously good, but too much rain can kill a tree,” Yoder said. “We had to wait until it evaporated and the saturation level went down. Now this is perfect weather for the trees to live.”

If you don’t wait or unexpected rainfall begins to accumulate too quickly, the tree can also shift in the soil, says Yoder, which will cause extra work or a funny looking tree.

“Sometimes you have a tree that begin to grow crooked, and then it’s too late,” he said. “We have several out on Business 24 that we have to get out there and get staked up because of all the rain we had this spring.”

Yoder said the Boys and Girls Club of Huntington County usually participates, but the group had to reschedule at the last minute. Yoder said this isn’t the only time of year the city plants trees, and he said they are already working on planning an event with the club to get the younger generation engaged.

“It is not only teaching them that it’s important to plant the trees but that it’s important to give back to your community,” Yoder said. “They will see ownership in these trees which will hopefully be here for a hundred years. In 20 years, they can bring their kids out here and say, ‘Hey, I planted those,’ and – pun intended – you’re planting a seed in these kids. With generations to come, we’re hoping they’ll continue to do so.”

Many Huntington residents may remember the field where the Rotary Club and Huntington city officials planted trees Friday as a former baseball diamond that Yoder said was under utilized.

“We tore out all of the light poles. We tore out the fence,” he said. “Now, we’re going to try and get some trees out here. That’s the goal: to have beautiful trees everywhere. Throughout the city, in all of the city parks, in all of the right of ways, anywhere that we can plant trees, we are going to plant them.”

For anyone who couldn’t make the event or didn’t participate in Arbor Day due to the inclement weather, Yoder said it’s not too late to plant a tree in your yard to join the movement.

“It’s a great family event.

“If you ever want to help out in any way, reach out to Andrew Rensberger. If you want to know what kind of trees you’re planting, get with Sharon Lampkin –she’s our program director, but she’s also our tree liaison,” Yoder said.

Rensberger can be contacted by emailing andrew.rensberger@huntington.in.us. Lampkin can be contacted by emailing sharon.lampkin@huntington.in.us.