Texans from across the state gathered today in the Oldest Town in Texas to celebrate the State Arbor Day and how trees can connect the past, present and future.

Today’s celebration, themed Leaving a Legacy, is a nod to the City of Nacogdoches celebrating its Tri-centennial this year. The town is believed to be 300 years old — far older than the state of Texas itself. As are some of the area trees, that serve as living witness to local history.

“I want to encourage us to continue the effort because 10 years from now, 100 years from now they will be celebrating the things they see from our efforts,” said Nacogdoches Mayor Roger Van Horn. “We owe the past to the future and we are just a byproduct from that.”

The community has deep roots in traditional forestry as the home of the Stephen F. Austin State University Lumberjacks and the Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture. But Nacogdoches, a Tree City USA, also values urban and community forestry and was recently named the Garden Capital of Texas by the state legislature.

“Today’s celebration reminds us that planting trees leaves a legacy for future generations while creating beautiful and sustainable communities today,” State Forester Tom Boggus said. “And we certainly see that as we stand on this beautiful and historic site.”

The celebration, hosted in the Historic Village of Millard’s Crossing, featured a ceremony, educational activities and giveaways. To commemorate this historical milestone, and to Leave a Legacy with trees, the Garden Capital of Texas Committee members planted 300 trees throughout the community, with the 300th tree ceremonially planted today. The tree is an offspring of the most famous of Texas Famous Trees – the Treaty Oak, and was donated by the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

It’s not too late to celebrate. Texas A&M Forest Service is making it easy for anyone, anywhere to participate in Arbor Day. We’ve provided tips online to help communities anywhere create a memorable Arbor Day, as well as educational activities for schools, groups and families to get outdoors and learn more about trees.

Please visit http://texasforestservice.tamu.edu/arborday/ for ideas on how to host an Arbor Day ceremony. Here you can also find instructions on how to properly plant a tree and activities about the benefits of trees, tree parts and how to identify a tree by its leaves or structure – plus so much more.

About Arbor Day

J. Sterling Morton established the first Arbor Day in the United States more than 140 years ago. Now, it is observed throughout the nation, and in Texas we have been observing this holiday for 127 years. The official Texas State Arbor Day celebration is held in a different host city each year on the first Friday in November.

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