More than 400 fourth graders from across Billings gathered at Centennial Park on Thursday to celebrate Arbor Day with Billings Parks and Recreation.
The day's activites were complete with the planting of the ceremonial Arbor Day tree, a Autumn Splendor Horse Chestnut.
With the event taking place on May 4th, Star Wars characters were in attendance to say "May the 4th be with you."
When it was time to name the ceremonial tree, voting based on the volume of student screams put the name "Leia" at the top, beating out "Grogu" and "Vader".
During the ceremony, Billings was also designated a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation. The recognition marks the City's 40th consecutive year.
Deputy Mayor Mike Boyett stands by the 2023 Arbor Day ceremonial tree while holding a Tree City USA plaque, Students also had a chance to visit environmental education booths and help with tree plantings throughout the day.
and standing next to Jake Milliron, the community outreach and engagement coordinator for Billings Parks and Recreation.
Our parks are home to over 10,000 trees. The Parks and Recreation Department understands the many benefits that trees provide to our park users and community as a whole. From providing shade to storm water management, urban temperature regulation to increasing property values, trees have a larger impact on our everyday lives than we often recognize. Throughout the year, our forestry staff expect to plant more than 200 young trees across city parks.
In Nebraska in 1872, J Sterling Morton proposed the idea of a day to plant trees, “Arbor Day”. On that day, prizes were offered for the county that could plant the most trees properly. One million trees were said to have been planted on that first Arbor Day. By 1882, states all across the country were celebrating Arbor Day. In 2014, Billings Parks and Recreation was recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation as having one of the best Arbor Day Celebrations in the country!