May 23, 2017 - By Alejandra Silva, Staff WriterThe City of Riverton combines festivities annually for Arbor Day and Armed Forces Day.
Riverton celebrated the shade of trees and the service of veterans in a combined Arbor Day and Armed Forces Day event Saturday at Veterans Memorial Park behind City Hall.
Riverton Mayor Lars Baker read his Arbor Day proclamation for the city and gave a history of Arbor Day to attending veterans, Riverton Tree Board members, families and other community members.
Arbor Day is more than planting trees, he said, the act of which unrolls a list of benefits, including the cutting of heating and cooling costs for homes, the creation of habitats for wildlife, and an increase in property values in neighborhoods.
"Wherever they are planted, they bring a real joy to the community," Baker added.
He also noted the efforts made locally to beautify the city since the tree board was formed on May 15, 2001.
Soon after the board was formed, Riverton became a Tree City USA. With that title, the Arbor Day Foundation provides the city with a platform needed to manage and expand trees in public spaces.
Communities must meet four standards to be a Tree City USA: maintain a tree board or department, have a community tree ordinance, spend at least $2 per capita on urban forestry and celebrate Arbor Day.
"People have worked very hard over the years to make our city really beautiful," Baker said. "I urge citizens to plant trees."
Public works director Kyle Butterfield presented speaker Josh Shroyer of the Wyoming State Forestry Division, who administered Riverton's Tree City Award.
On Saturday, Riverton hosted its 16th annual Arbor Day celebration, meaning it has received the award 16 times already.
Shroyer noted it was also the seventh year Riverton received the "Growth" award.
"That's going above and beyond," he said.
Barb Yates, a member of the local garden club and a former tree board member, also addressed the crowd. Her words elaborated on the act of gardening and the pleasure it can bring to people. She also touched on the first Arbor Day set forth by John Rosenow in 1972 in Nebraska.
Roughly a million trees were planted to celebrate that first Arbor Day.
Yates also mentioned the trees in Riverton, including the more than 100 trees planted by the tree board since the group's inception.
Paul Morency listed past and ongoing projects with the tree board as well.
Butterfield took a moment to highlight the changes being made at the Veterans Park by the leading veterans committee, including new flag poles and concrete stars.
"On a day like today it's a good way to recognize our veterans," he said.
Yates asked the crowd not to forget honoring veterans.
"Give glory to those who have served in the past and are serving today," she said. "Today is about honoring those who lost their lives as well, because it's a continuation of service, and those who died honoring it."
The event was accompanied by songs from the St. Margaret's Catholic Church children's choir, led by Pat LeMasters.
The celebration ended with the recognition of Riverton students who were winners of the tree board's poster contest. Tree board members Gregg Schaub and Kim Johnson handed out a free weeping birch tree for each student and a gift bag.
The winners from different schools were: kindergarten, Joseph Toye, Kamryn Brost and Brody Taylor; first grade, Braden Brost and Garret Thrasher; second grade, Cameron Vincent and Katelyn Acres; third grade, Fiona Fraser and Jordan Timbana; fourth grade, Shelby Kisling and Alexis Peden; and fifth grade, Storm Blackburn and Tymberlee Stanley.
The Tree Board also did a tree seedling giveaway.
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