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City of Cumming recognized as Tree City, holds Arbor Day celebration
Arbor Day
Photo courtesy of the City of Cumming.

The City of Cumming celebrated Arbor Day on Friday, Feb. 19. This year’s event looked a little different with masks and social distancing in place, but the safety precautions were not what made it memorable. 

The City of Cumming revealed that it qualifies as a Tree City during its Arbor Day celebration, honoring the city’s hard work to “maintain the small-town charm yet stay relevant and vibrant.” 

Jennifer Archer, Cumming City Center property manager, said the city had to meet four requirements to become a Tree City, as upheld by Tree City USA. The standards are having a tree board or department, having a tree ordinance, having a Community Forestry Program with an annual budget of at least $2 per capita and having an Arbor Day Observance and Proclamation every year. 

 “This [Tree City] title allows us to help the general public and community become more educated on the things we do,” Archer said.

Archer said the City of Cumming began working to attain the title more than a year ago, forming partnerships with organizations such as Keep Forsyth County Beautiful, the Georgia Forestry Commission and the UGA Extension. 

Arbor Day
Photo courtesy of the City of Cumming.

“These partnerships brought many people together with common interests and goals,” Archer said. “These human connections made it about so much more than trees.”

Archer that city officials hope to generate future community involvement at its green events like Rivers Alive, the Great FOCO Clean Up and the annual Arbor Day celebration.

“Our goal is to instill a sense of pride in the fact that trees are a part of what makes Cumming such a beautiful place to live, work and play,” Archer said. “Tree Cities set an example and raise the bar for other cities and residents.”

This year’s Arbor Day celebration brought out 85 residents to plant trees and take home free saplings to plant. A coffee truck was on hand to help warm peoples’ hands as they celebrated.

“The turnout for this year’s Arbor Day celebration was amazing despite the cold weather; we estimate that we had about 85 people, many of those families with children,” Archer said. “We hope to see that turnout increase with each year.”

This year, the City of Cumming also incorporated an art contest to go along with the Arbor Day observance. The contest allowed all students to showcase trees in artwork in any medium: paint, pencil or photography. 

Arbor Day
Photo courtesy of the City of Cumming.

There were 33 submissions from local students, and the City of Cumming Youth Council members helped select the winners at the event. 

The winners were fourth-grader Anay Rajankar from Big Creek Elementary, eighth-grader Clara Miller and 10th-grader Chariah Miller, who are both homeschooled.

In the future, the City of Cumming is planning to hold its next Arbor Day celebration at the Cumming City Center. The city center will have an amphitheater and green space with streams, wetlands, a pond and about 696 native trees planted throughout. 

Arbor Day
Photo courtesy of the City of Cumming.