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Greenfield residents turn out in force for Arbor Day plantings

Greenfield Firefighter Melissa Janson and Jon Wittenburg, 7, help plant a tree during an Arbor Day activity at Brookside Meadow Park that was sponsored by the Greenfield Beautification Committee on May 2.

Greenfield Firefighter Melissa Janson and Jon Wittenburg, 7, help plant a tree during an Arbor Day activity at Brookside Meadow Park that was sponsored by the Greenfield Beautification Committee on May 2. Photo By C.T. Kruger

May 6, 2014

The Arbor Day project happens every year in Greenfield, but it never fails to make city forester Dennis Fermenich proud.

Most communities plant one ceremonial tree and everybody goes home, he said. But in Greenfield, the community turns out to make their hometown more beautiful by planting dozens of trees, he said.

"In Greenfield, we plant parks, we make a difference in the community from that day forward," Fermenich said.

Greenfield has eight children's play parks all over town and all were planted full with trees by volunteers at Arbor Days through the years, he said.

This was one of those years when about 100 volunteers nestled 24 trees into new homes near the play area in Brookside Meadows Park at Meadow Lane and Root River Parkway.

Last year, the community planted 34 trees in the Konkel Park addition, he said.

Planting trees in parks and boulevards knits a sense of community, Fermenich said.

"I never had an Arbor Day that a parent didn't say their son or daughter comes home from college and wants to be driven past their tree," he said.

And support for the effort comes from all over from little kids to octogenarians and volunteers from the Fire and Police Departments, he said.

"To me, it doesn't get any better than that," he said.

All the efforts have resulted in not only a greener Greenfield, but in the community being named a Tree City USA for the 20th year. The city also received its 19th National Arbor Day growth award, the only city in Wisconsin to have won it 19 times, he said.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources gives the growth award to communities that go above and beyond the requirements for earning the Tree City USA distinction.

Those something extras don't need to cost money, either, Fermenich said. Last year's award was for the city requiring those building homes to plant a tree sometime within the first year, he said.

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