Planting trees on Arbor Day

Sun, 05/14/2017 - 8:45am

The following was sent in by Fred Nelson and Mary Sue Record, with a poem by Fran Migliaccio:

Although Arbor Day is officially the last Friday of April, the Block Island Gardeners celebrated it with the students of the Block Island School on Thursday, April 27. 

The tree that was selected this year is the River Birch (Betula nigra). One of the outstanding characteristics that make it distinctive from other trees is the bark. The bark color varies from dark brown to creamy pinkish-white and it appears to flake in tiny sheets. When it grows to maturity it can reach a height over 50 feet. Often times it will develop multiple stems that add another dimension to its attractiveness. It is hoped that each tree will grow into a mature tree to add shade and beauty to the environment.

The Gardeners have been providing this celebration for about 20 years in the hope that it might instill the value and beauty of trees in the environment to students. The poem by Fran Migliaccio, printed below, is a remembrance of a past Arbor Day.

River Birch

River Birch could be

name to a celebrity.

Better, in reality,

it is a tree.


No river flows here:

We will plant our tree beside

the spring-fed pond that defied

its bounds one year.


Plenty to drink there

for a shag-bark, sap-filled tree

hung with catkins above three

stout trunks: they’ll bear


thirty feet of height

or so in my life, I’d say,

but that speculation might

wait one more day.

—  Arbor Day, April 28, 2017