Ansbach celebrates Arbor Day with CYS children

Story by Bianca Sowders

ANSBACH, Germany (May 3, 2021) – Across the United States, Arbor Day is celebrated to highlight the importance of trees to our survival and to encourage individuals and groups to plant more trees.

U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach has observed Arbor Day since 2015. Since then the garrison has planted 20 trees in locations like the Katterbach Elementary School, around Soldier Lake and next to the Fire Training Center on Urlas. In 2016, Ansbach city and garrison representatives planted three trees near the Brücken-Center mall downtown Ansbach with the assistance of German and American schoolchildren.

On April 30, Ansbach military community children assisted Col. Karen Hobart, garrison commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. Eric Bohannon at the Child & Youth Services (CYS) playground planting five more trees.

These trees, two Hainbuchen (European hornbeam), two Hopfen-Buchen (European hop-hornbeam) and one Eisenholzbaum (Persian ironwood), were specifically chosen for being native to Europe, climate resilient, drought tolerant and limited in height, as not to impair airfield activity.

While talking to the children, Hobart discussed the importance of trees with her young audience. Some of them proved to be quite knowledgeable about the importance of trees for their environment. Others were more interested in the garrison commander and making sure she knew their parents.

“It is fun to engage with the youngest members of our community and find out what is important to them,” Hobart said. “I usually only talk to their parents, so this gives me a whole new perspective.”

Before the children were released to start digging and shoveling under the watchful eye of the garrison’s chief arborist, Roland Krug, Hobart asked them the question of the day: “When is the best time to plant a tree?” The answer was “20 years ago.” The follow-up question “When is the next-best time to plant a tree?” was answered by the group almost in unison with a resounding “Today!”

About Arbor Day: The idea of Arbor Day began with Julius Sterling Morton, a newspaper editor and politician in Nebraska, who felt strongly about the need for trees and advocated a planting initiative, which resulted in the first Arbor Day on April 10, 1872. It was estimated that more than 1 million trees were planted in Nebraska on the first Arbor Day.

Today U.S. National Arbor Day is celebrated in all 50 states, usually on the last Friday in April; many other countries around the world have embraced the idea and observe their own version of Arbor Day.

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