Arbor Day events planned

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 12, 2003

Partnerships work.

Just look at what the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center and Spruce up Austin, Inc. are doing.

They are joining forces to celebrate Arbor Day, Saturday, April 26.

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But the partnerships don't end there.

Families and individuals, clubs and organizations, schools and churches, everyone can partner on Arbor Day.

The goal is to plant 65 trees at the Nature Center, raise money for the Preserving A Legacy land-acquisition project and create more awareness for the environment.

"This is an exciting amalgamation of resources," said Jerry Adwell, president of SUA, Inc.

"To be able to blend trees with the right plan for planting them and to have so many people involved all during Earth Day week and Arbor Day celebrations is really special," said Larry Dolphin, director and naturalist at the Nature Center.

Each year, SUA, Inc. holds an Arbor Day event to increase awareness of the environment and the importance of planting trees.

Other projects are undertaken throughout the year by volunteers who plant trees on public properties throughout Austin.

More than 200,000 trees were originally planted over a half-century ago by Jay C. Hormel, son of the founder of the Austin-based company that bears the family name. That occurred when the Nature Center was the Hormel estate.

When the property was given to the city of Austin, it became more than an arboretum. It became a giant outdoor classroom for children and others, a recreation center and a living, breathing monument to all things natural.

On April 26, the public will have the opportunity to plant trees to grow into future generations.

Registration will be held from 9 to 10 a.m. April 26 and rain or shine, the trees will be planted. Individuals and teams must call the Nature Center to register.

The walkathon portion of the events is the distance from the Interpretive Center building to the tree-planting site.

SUA, Inc. volunteers will guide the donors to the sites for the tree plantings and assist them. The minimum donation for a single oak tree is $50. Proceeds go to the Preserving A Legacy land acquisition project of the Friends of the Nature Center organization.

There will be raffle and other prize drawings throughout the morning.

"I think what's important about the Arbor Day tree plantings is that we will be planting trees that fit our land management plan," Dolphin said. "Oak, maples, white birch and, of course, sugar maples to replenish our annual sugar bush will all be part of the tree plantings.

"We lost 17 silver maples during the June 1998 windstorm and we will be able to replace those, too."

"Spruce Up Austin is very happy to participate in such a worthy effort at a place we all respect and enjoy throughout the year," Adwell said.

Dolphin also will have two historic trees to plant. A cottonwood tree from the Lewis and Clark expedition and a Johnny Appleseed tree -- the last known living tree planted by the legendary arborist -- are among the tree sprigs Dolphin is attempting to obtain for April 26's Nature Center project.

The Arbor Day events will climax a week-long celebration and awareness effort.

Other activities

The events begin April 22, when the Nature Center, a division of the Austin Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department, holds its volunteers and friends appreciation night called "A Celebration of Giving."

The events begins at 7 p.m. April 22 in Ruby Rupner Auditorium. RSVPs from the invited guests are due Saturday.

David Stokes, naturalist, educator and humorist, will entertain at the Earth Day event.

On Wednesday, April 23, SUA, Inc. will host a tree planting and pruning seminar featuring Brian Dolan.

The free seminar is open to the public and begins 7 p.m. April 23 in Ruby Rupner Auditorium.

There also will be refreshments and prize-drawings as well as Dolan's helpful information about trees, shrubs and landscaping.

On Friday, April 25, the SUA, Inc. organization will hold its own memorial tree planting ceremonies in Austin Bandshell Community Park.

Also April 25, the Nature Center will host a return visit from Karla Kinstler and Alice, a Great Horned owl.

It's a kickoff for the April 26 Arbor Day excitement at the nature Center.

Kinstler and Alice visited last September and were a hit with their audience. This time, the Nature Center staff hopes the audience will include more children. The Ruby Rupner Auditorium program begins at 7 p.m. April 25 and RSVPs are due April 24.

For more information or to pick up a donor registration form, call the Nature Center at 437-7519.

Lee Bonorden can be reached at 434-2232 or by e-mail at