On May 9, 2013, special dignitaries, students, parents, school staff, trustees, union group representatives and district administration came together to celebrate Arbor Day 2013.
Arbor Day originated in the United States in 1872 and was celebrated with the planting of more than a million trees in Nebraska. It has now grown to an event that is observed throughout the world as more and more countries are realizing the importance of planting trees and sharing a common vision of greener communities.
Calgary's first Arbor Day was on May 8, 1905. On that day, Mayor Emerson and nine City Aldermen planted 10 trees in Victoria Park. Arbor Day is the longest running civic greening project in Calgary and to date, annual Arbor Day celebrations in Calgary have distributed an estimated 400,000-tree seedlings to Grade 1 students. On each Arbor Day, the City of Calgary distributes thousands of tree seedlings that are generously donated, to all Calgary and area Grade 1 students to take home and plant.
Each year a different Calgary elementary school is awarded the honour of hosting the Calgary Arbor Day ceremony. This year, the district was pleased to be hosting the event at Corpus Christi School.
Celebrations were separated into two ceremonies: the formal ceremony, which took place in the school gym, and the outdoor tree-planting ceremony. The formal part of the ceremony featured student performances from several classes, the grades 4-6 handbell choir and the division 2 drummers. There were also greetings brought by special guests, Board Chair Mary Martin, the Honourable Kyle Fawcett (MLA, Calgary-Klein), His Worship Naheed Nenshi (Mayor, City of Calgary) along with Ward 4 Alderman Gael MacLeod and Gerard Fournier (President, For Trees Company Ltd.).
As part of the outdoor tree-planting ceremony, the official Arbor Day tree was planted outside the school entrance, blessed by Corpus Christi parish priest Raul Ranola and watered by a fire truck from the nearby fire station. The official Arbor Day tree was a large white spruce tree generously donated by 5 Star Trees. Arbor Day 2013 was made possible by partners Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development, the City of Calgary, Calgary Board of Education, Calgary Catholic School District, Landscape Alberta Nursery Trades Association, and For Trees Company. Other donors and sponsors included Standard General Inc, 5 Star Trees Ltd., Blue Grass Nursery and Garden Centre and Thorncliffe Safeway.
The intent of celebrating Arbor Day with our students is to teach them the importance of taking care of the environment and help them gain an appreciation of nature and trees. It is never too early to teach our young ones the importance of taking care of the earth now in order to provide future generations a sustainable and beautiful world in which to live.