PARKERSBURG - The city of Parkersburg held its annual Arbor Day celebration Friday at Bicentennial Park.
In addition to recognizing the largest and unique trees in the city, Parkersburg and Parkersburg Tree Commission Chairman Turner Sharp were honored.
Parkersburg has been recognized as a Tree City U.S. city for 14 years. The city has had 10 consecutive years of growth.
Turner Sharp, Robert Hannah and Rick Eager display the Tree City U.S. flag for Parkersburg. Parkersburg has been recognized as Tree City U.S. city for 14 years. The city has had 10 consecutive years of growth and was recognized as a Sterling Tree City U.S., the first such city in West Virginia. (Photo by Jody Murphy)
Because of that hallmark, Parkersburg was recognized as a Sterling Tree City U.S., the first such city in West Virginia, according to State Forester Robert Hannah.
Hannah also recognized Turner Sharp, chairman of the Parkersburg Tree Commission, for his efforts with Big Tree contest. He presented Sharp the Gold Leaf Award.
The West Virginia Masonic Home was the first-place winner of this year's Big Tree contest with a black oak that measured almost 14 feet in circumference. The Pat Minnite Co. was the second-place winner for a yellow poplar. Third place went Doug and Peggy Hall with an American beech.
Tom and Lisa McCarthy, the city of Parkersburg and Minnite also were recognized for trees.
Sharp also recognized John Provost who has a Lia's Oak in his yard. Sharp said he believes the tree is the only one in the area, although he will contact a botanist to confirm the identity of the tree.
The celebration was moderated by municipal Planning Director Rick Eager. About 30 people attended, including several children from the Little People Place decry.
Eager said the goal is to educate people about trees and the need for them for sustainability.
He said the average city has about 27 percent covered by trees. Forty percent of Parkersburg is covered by trees, he said.
The city planted more than 200 trees last year on public and private property. City officials spend $7,500 annual for tree planting and other related projects, Eager said.
Eager announced the city will plant 21 trees around Fort Neal Park later this year. Officials also distributed 500 tree seedlings Friday.
The 30-minute celebration included a recycling presentation, presentation of colors by the Parkersburg High School naval cadet program and musical performance by the Parkersburg South High School Jazz Band.