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2006 National Arbor Day Awards

Arbor Day Celebration Award

Celebration Award

City of Allen, TX

Each year, the city of Allen holds its Arbor Day celebration with Arbor Day founder J. Sterling Morton in mind. The city of Allen has held Arbor Day celebrations since 2001, and their celebrations have been highly beneficial for the natural areas of the city. The celebration in 2001 took place with 50 participants. Participation more than doubled for the 2nd annual celebration, in which 120 people were in attendance. This last year, 2005, the Arbor Day celebration included a tree exchange with the city of Lubbock, TX, a presentation of the Tree City USA Growth Award, and recognition of the winner of the Arbor Day poster contest. The celebration also honored the day by dedicating a live Oak tree and encouraging Arbor Day attendees to plant a tree. Allen, Texas, does an excellent job of getting the community involved. Along with encouraging everyone to plant trees, they also give out tree seedlings on Arbor Day.

Allen has made great strides in urban forestry development, planting more than 3000 tree seedlings and 4000, 3” trees for the development of parks and greenbelts. They consistently sponsor Boy and Girl Scout troops who volunteer their time to plant trees and flowers, and they believe that by continuing to have successful Arbor Day celebrations, tree planting and promoting tree education, they can ensure a healthy environment for future generations.

Nancy Racich, River Vale, NJ

Nancy Racich has taught third grade at Roberge Elementary School for the past 36 years, and she has taken on the challenge of planning the school’s Arbor Day celebration every year. Her sound dedication to the celebration of Arbor Day is evident in her event coordinating efforts. Her colleagues call her a gifted, caring, positive, and influential teacher.

Every year for Arbor Day, Mrs. Racich gets trees donated so that her third graders can each have a seedling tree to take home and plant, which adds up to about 80 trees each year. Also for her third graders, she finds an organization to donate a tree to the class. In 2005, the tree was a flowering pear tree. Alumni who have gone back to the school have shown such an interest in the trees that they have commented on how much their class and individual trees have grown. During the winter semester of 2004, her student teacher also helped in the celebration planning, and from that experience, saw how important an understanding of nature is for students. For the all school celebration, Mrs. Racich invites the local arborist to come as the school’s guest speaker to talk to the student body, and she organizes poetry readings, songs and the sharing of fun and important tree facts. Mrs. Nancy Racich cares about trees, and every year she shows her students her respect for the natural world, making an impression that lasts a lifetime.

C. Garrett Rappazzo, Castleton, NY

For Arbor Day 2005, Garrett Rappazzo, a 13 year old Boy Scout, planned, organized, and completed an Arbor Day celebration as a service project for Green Meadow Elementary School. Garrett decided to plant white pine trees around the school so as to help block out buildings that surround the playground and also to provide a boundary for the elementary students who play in the playground. With the assistance of his father, the school custodian and the school principal, Garrett was able to coordinate the school’s 2005 Arbor Day celebration.

On Arbor Day, Garrett met with the fifth graders at Green Meadow Elementary School and taught them about the benefits of trees. He then showed them how to properly plant a tree, after which the class helped to plant the 40 white pines Garrett had obtained for the class. After the planting, Garrett gave a presentation about the history of Arbor Day, and he presented a plaque to the school’s principal. He also gave certificates to each of the fifth grade students who participated on the tree planting day. Garrett plans to continue coordinating Arbor Day celebrations. In 2006, he hopes to include more events to honor the holiday such as a flag ceremony and possibly a recycling program.

This year’s winners are: