Columbia Parks and Rec passes out trees ahead of Arbor Day
COLUMBIA - Columbia Parks and Recreation and TreeKeepers, city volunteers who agree to help maintain trees, handed out hundreds of free trees at the Columbia Farmers' Market on Saturday morning.
The annual events coincides with Arbor Day, a nationwide celebration of trees held April 26 that dates back to the 1800s.
City of Columbia forester David Dittmer said the event promotes the benefits trees can bring to Columbia.
"It is important for us to recognize the importance of a healthy urban tree canopy in our city," Dittmer said. "It does a lot of beneficial things for cooling houses, creating habitats, providing food sources for wildlife and for humans."
This year, Parks and Recreation partnered with Columbia Water and Light and the Missouri Department of Conservation. Dittmer said he hopes the trees serve as a learning experience.
"We hope they take the tree home and plant it and maybe use it as a learning experience for their kids or as a way to increase the value of their property," Dittmer said.
Throughout the morning, Parks and Recreation passed out around 850 trees. Dittmer said there was already a line of people waiting to get a free tree before Parks and Rec and TreeKeepers started passing them out at 8 a.m.
"A lot of the flowering and fruit producing trees are the most popular. A lot of times people who live in urban areas don't have much space in their yard, so they are kind of restricted as to what they can plant," Dittmer said.
He said the fact that the department was able to give away so many trees speaks to the type of people who live in Columbia.
"They do care about nature and natural resources," Dittmer said. "It is just the quality of the town we live in."