City celebrates Arbor Day at Chason Park

Published 6:11 pm Friday, February 17, 2017

A rare Torreya tree was planted by City of Bainbridge workers at the base of the stairs in Chason Park on Friday morning in celebration of Arbor Day.

The tree, commonly known as the Florida nutmeg, is a rare and endangered tree of the yew family. It is an evergreen tree that typically grows along bluffs and ravines along the east bank of the Apalachicola River in the Florida Panhandle. It can reach heights of 30-40 feet.

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The ceremony began with a welcome from Phil Long, Mayor pro tem of the City. Amanda Glover, director of the Downtown Development Authority, spoke briefly about Bainbridge having been designated a Tree City for 20-25 years, and the importance of maintaining that designation. An ongoing Planting for the Future Campaign, whereby citizens can contribute to purchase trees, will help replace downed older trees, as many of them are over 200 years old. She described it as a way of expressing the vitality of the City. Since the campaign began there have been 14 legacy oaks planted. This particular tree was donated by Clayton Penhalegon.

As the City workers lifted the tree into the ground, the Rev. Dr. Karl Kling, Pastor of First Presbyterian Church, gave a history of the species of the tree being planted. He  referenced the many Biblical mentions of trees in creation and spoke of the many benefits that come from trees; how they produce oxygen, bear fruit and nuts for food, and produce materials from which many of our homes, furniture and other products are made. A prayer of thanks and blessing was then pronounced.

City Manager Chris Hobby read a proclamation from Mayor Edward Reynolds, designating February 17 as Arbor Day in Bainbridge and Rodney Heard, Chief Ranger of the Georgia Forestry Commission presented a Tree City USA Flag to the City. That flag will be flying in Willis Park for a week.