Thursday, March 27, 2008
Arbor Day program honors contributors
By SUE WATSON
Last week’s Arbor Day celebration at Montrose Arboretum took the unusual step of planting a redbud tree in front of the mansion in honor of Ruth Kloha, who has served as Arboretum chairman every year since the inception of the program.
Montrose Arboretum is in its 27th year of celebration. The arboretum is thought to be the oldest private one in Mississippi.
The guests at the event included Chris Mirante and the sixth grade class of Marshall Academy who sang patriotic music; VFW members Bill Janssen and “Sport” Boyd Moore; Janet Jolley, Mary Minor and Lemon Phelps with the county extension service; George Murphree and Jeff Ware with the Mississippi Forestry Association; R.C. Bownes, Roosevelt Galloway and Edwin Burton with the forestry association as tree planters; friends and family of the late A.Q. Greer and Sarah Doxey Greer; and Margaret Brown, Lauren Massey and Diane Greer (Garden Club president) with Marshall Academy. Some other guests included Jane Callicutt, Ann Callicutt, Carole and Charlie Elliott (daughter and grandson of the Klohas), John and Rick Kloha, Susanne Campbell, Gene and Martha Ruth Leonard, Anna Greer and Lockie York.
Rev. Milton Boyd, pastor of First United Methodist Church, read poems by St. Francis of Assisi and Milton Bahay appropriate to the observance and appreciation of nature.
“Dear Lord, may we have the great spirit of these two men today,” he prayed.
Public outreach forester Jeff Ware spoke to children about the importance of observing Arbor Day and learning from nature.
“Spring is upon us,” he said. “You think about spring and you think of new life. One green leaf appears each day and one dries up. Trees with only one green leaf have no ambition.
“We all have dreams and bumps in the road (of life). We encourage children to keep on, get in the game, and not give up (on life).”
He said Mississippians are truly blessed to have the largest number of tree farms than any other state and the trees that adorn the state’s recreation spots and parks.
Forestry pumps millions into the state economy each year, he said.
Greer reminded the school children to remember the day.
“All of you are from this area,” she said. “I hope you will drive by (when grown), look at all the trees and remember what you did here.”
Each year trees are planted in the arboretum on Arbor Day in memory of someone who was a member of the Holly Springs Garden Club or who contributed to preservation of trees.
This year, in addition to the Kloha redbud, a Japanese Maple was planted in memory of the late A.Q. Greer by his wife Sarah.
A white dogwood, given by Sarah Greer, was planted in honor of Diane Carver Greer - garden club president from 1998-99 and 2007-08.
A water oak was given in memory of Ruth Bitzer Francisco and a bald cypress in memory of Rita Binion Cochran, co-founders of the 1936 Pilgrimage.
A loblolly pine was planted in memory of the late U.S. Sen. Wall Doxey Sr., author of the 1937 bill to distribute trees.
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