By Martha Jacob
The Ripley Tree Committee was organized when the Village of Ripley was designated a Tree City USA about 10 years ago.
Since that time, each year, the committee, along with the Village of Ripley holds an Arbor Day celebration which includes a tree planting.
Chair of the Tree Committee Tim Wilson met with 2nd graders and 4th graders from Ripley-Union-Lewis-Huntington Elementary School, and students from St. Michaels School, in the middle of the Maplewood Cemetery in Ripley in front of the Veterans Memorial to take part in a tree planting on April 29.
“A couple years ago this cemetery lost an old sugar maple tree that was over 100 years old which stood right in front of the monument,” Wilson told the kids that had organized in front of the monument. “A storm went through and took the old tree down.
“For over 142 years, there has been an annual Arbor Day celebration all around the country, with speeches and tree plantings just like this one. “I’d like to remind you all about how important trees are in all our lives.”
Wilson told the kids that trees are responsible for giving mankind oxygen, shelter, food, beauty and shade.
“I’m a history buff,” he continued, “The first Arbor Day was in 1874. Ripley was a very young town in 1874, only about 58 years old. In 1874 the civil war had been over for about 10 years, then in 1885, 10 years later, this beautiful monument was put up to honor all veterans.
“This is an important part of our history. This huge stump here, of an old sugar maple tree, could have been planted around the very first Arbor Day celebration, more than 100 years ago. It provided shade and beauty for everyone around.”
Wilson also reminded the students that trees don’t live forever, “So today, as we honor this old tree that was here on the very first Arbor Day, we start over, by planting another maple wood tree, here at the Maplewood Cemetery. Our hope is that this new tree will have a long life providing beauty, shade and comfort.