Camden selected for Maine Arbor Day celebration

By Susan Mustapich | May 16, 2019
Courtesy of: Dave Jackson Camden's 24th Arbor Day was celebrated in the Library Amphitheatre in 2018. This year, the Maine state Arbor Day celebration will be held there May 20.

CAMDEN — This year's Maine Arbor Day celebration and award ceremony will take place May 20 in Camden to honor municipalities and community members throughout the state that are dedicated to planting and nurturing trees.

The event will be held at the Camden Public Library Amphitheatre, beginning with a reception at 1 p.m., followed by the program at 1:30. In case of rain, the celebration will take place inside the Library.

Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry officials, including Project Canopy Director Jan Ames Santerre, will present Tree City USA awards to Maine's 20 qualifying municipalities. Gov. Janet Mills has been invited to present this year's Frank Knight Excellence in Forestry award.

May 20 also marks Camden's official Arbor Day, proclaimed by the Select Board. Nancy Caudle-Johnson, Camden's Arbor Day and Tree  City USA coordinator, will recognize several representatives of the town's tree stewardship efforts at the event.

"I'm delighted that Project Canopy chose Camden for this year's celebration," said Caudle-Johnson. "The beautiful Camden Amphitheatre, with its wonderful trees, is the perfect location, and we are grateful to the Camden Public Library for offering it. It presents a unique opportunity to share our treasured treescapes with people from across Maine."

The state of Maine is donating a Prairie Dream paper birch, to be planted in the Amphitheatre. TREEKEEPERS LLC of Camden, owned by Caudle-Johnson and her husband, Douglas, is donating the planting.

The honor of hosting the statewide event comes as Camden celebrates its 25th Arbor Day, and in its 25th year as a Tree City USA.

Tree City USA flags will fly above the Town Office, at the Village Green and in Harbor Park, from May 19 to May 26, Maine's official Arbor Week. The timing of Arbor Day varies across the world, according to the tree-planting season. Maine's Arbor Week is celebrated the third full week of May.

Following the program, Amphitheatre and Harbor Park Director Dave Jackson and arborist Douglas N. Johnson will lead a guided walk through the library parks, noting historic details and unique trees. The terraced Amphitheatre was designed by noted landscape architect Fletcher Steele, while the adjacent Harbor Park and library grounds were designed by the Olmsted brothers. Mary Louise Curtis Bok hired the architects, purchased the properties and donated them to the town. The landscapes were constructed in the 1930s with local labor and planted with full-grown trees transported from the nearby countryside by oxcart.

Camden celebrated its first official Arbor Day in 1995, with the planting of two Callery pear trees on Washington Street across from the Town Offfice. At the time, around 240 street trees were financed by a grant from MBNA and planted throughout the village. In 1996, Camden was named a Tree City USA for 1995, becoming the eighth Maine municipality to quality for the program.

To qualify as a Tree City USA, a municipality must adopt a tree ordinance, establish a tree board, expend at least $2 per capita on its tree program, and proclaim and celebrate Arbor Day. The program was established in 1976 by the Arbor Day Foundation and is administered in cooperation with the Maine Forest Service Project Canopy.

Comments (1)
Posted by: Mary A McKeever | May 16, 2019 17:08

Kudos to Camden and is keeping Maine green.

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