ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- Hundreds attended Rochester Public Utilities 11th annual Arbor Day Celebration at Mayo Park on Friday. The free event also drew more than 1,000 students from local schools. Many came to learn about the importance of trees to our environment.
"Trees are such wonderful things because they give us all this shade and oxygen," said Lydia Bell, a student at Washington Elementary School. Bell was this year's overall Arbor Day Celebration Poster Contest Winner.
"I was so amazed," Bell said. "I felt like I had won the Grammy's or something. I was so astonished."
Mayor Ardell Brede was on hand to speak to the crowd about Arbor Day and to plant the first 10 trees in what he calls "The Mayor's Grove." It's a project the mayor began this past winter.
He plans to contribute hundreds of dollars worth of trees to the city and encourages his successors to do the same.
"I know these 5 or 10 trees doesn't constitute a grove," Brede said. "My plan is each year if I and future mayors give $500 or more to the city to buy trees, at the end of ten years, we would have 100 trees. Then, I think, we could call it a grove."
In an effort to make a more green society, Maier Tree & Lawn gave away hundreds of trees to visitors.
"We love trees," said Jim Kelly, Operations Manager at Maier Tree & Lawn. "They always need to be replaced after storms. Some of them just get old and die, so it's always nice to replace them and have them grow for future generations."
The annual event features live music, food, tree climbing events and tree planting.
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