Westfield a recipient of Growth Award, hosts 10th tree giveaway

Jim and Becky Shaw pick up saplings from a previous Westfield tree giveaway. (File photo by Anna Skinner)

By Anna Skinner

For the 10th straight year, hundreds of free tree saplings will be available for Westfield residents to take home on Arbor Day.

This year, Rep. Donna Schaibley donated 100 saplings to the parks department, so 600 trees will be available instead of the usual 500.

The tree giveaway will begin at 9 a.m. April 22 at Asa Bales Park in Shelter 1. Attendees are encouraged to park at the high school. Trees are first come, first serve, and for the first 30 minutes will be limited to three saplings per family.

Parks director Melody Jones said the city does its best to plant trees throughout the area, but the ability to have residents pick up trees to plant on private property is a bonus.

“To be able to do that on private property is a benefit to everybody because of all the attributes trees bring to the community,” she said.

The Westfield Kiwanis Club also will be volunteering with the parks department to plant trees along 169th Street on Arbor Day.

“Trees are important for the community,” Communications Director Erin Murphy said. “Anytime the city does a project or has a development that comes in, it’s important that the trees that need to be torn down are always replanted. It’s a very important initiative for administration and council, and this is a very specific way for the community to (become involved in) that.”

This is the sixth year Westfield has received the Growth Award from the Arbor Day Foundation. The award is given to cities which have increased planting efforts throught tye years. Last year, Westfield completed mitigation with regional detention and planted thousands of trees at Raymond Worth Park.

Jones encourages residents to arrive at the beginning of the tree giveaway because trees go quickly. Planting instructions are provided with each tree, and detailed descriptions of the five varieties are available at enjoywestfieldevents.com.