Palm Beach Daily News
January 16, 2020
Garden Club of Palm Beach, town officials and schools hold annual tree planting in Bradley Park
Bradley Park was buzzing with excitement as schoolchildren wearing gloves and construction hats gathered to plant a tree in celebration of Arbor Day.
Some could hardly contain their enthusiasm and started putting dirt in the hole before the event began. Kids and dirt — no one seemed surprised by their actions.
Students from Palm Beach Public School, Palm Beach Day Academy, Rosarian Academy and The Greene School participated in the ceremony. This was the first year of participation for The Greene School students.
Mayor Gail Coniglio (whose grandson Frank Coniglio, a second-grader at Rosarian, participated), Town Council members Margaret Zeidman and Bobbie Lindsay, parents, grandparents and Garden Club of Palm Beach members also took part in the event, which has been held annually since 1999.
Students planted a pigeon plum tree (Coccoloba diversifolia), which is native to South Florida and got its name because pigeons are attracted to its fruit, which ripens in late summer and fall.
Students were given a certificate of recognition from the town acknowledging their participation in the event and were allowed to bring their special gear home for use in their gardens.
Second-grader Vespa McDonald, standing next to Rosarian Academy’s Assistant Principal Keller Lanaban, was excited to bring that gear home.
“My mom got a lime tree for her birthday and she planted it outside our house. I like to help her get the fruit and take care of the tree,” McDonald said.
Jennifer Lazzara and Veronica Bauer, the Garden Club co-chairmen for the event, and Susan Harris, the Society of the Four Arts Children’s Library librarian, visited each school prior to the holiday and spoke with the children about Arbor Day and the importance of trees.
“We wanted to make children, and subsequently parents, aware of native trees in Florida like the pigeon plum that do not require the use of harmful pesticides or too much maintenance,” Bauer said.
Lazzara added, “It’s important that children from our schools take part. It helps give ownership and hope that one day they will bring their kids and grandchildren to Bradley Park and remember contributing to the environment. Kids need to be aware of how their actions can change the world.”
In Florida, Arbor Day is held on the third Friday in January while the observance of National Arbor Day is celebrated on the last Friday in April.