Historic Forest ceremony honors five, celebrates Arbor Day

  • Published
  • By Wayne Crenshaw
  • 78 ABW/PA
It's never too late to celebrate Arbor Day.

Although in Georgia Arbor Day is recognized in February, at Robins it is in conjunction with the annual Historic Forest tree planting ceremony in April.

National Arbor Day is today, but Georgia celebrates it earlier because it is better to plant trees in cool weather. However, Bob Sargent, natural resources manager, said trees can be planted in April at the Historic Forest ceremony because an irrigation system is immediately installed.

The Historic Forest ceremony was April 22, which also happened to be Earth Day. Five trees were planted in honor of former Robins' employees and a well-known fighter pilot.

Trees were planted in memory of Team Robins members Kim Baker, Elaine Knott and Jay Locke. A tree was also planted in memory of Col. John Boyd, a pioneering Air Force fighter pilot, and a tree was planted in honor of Joy and Ulysses Bernard. Ulysses worked for more than 50 years at Robins before retiring this year.

The tree planted for the Bernards served a dual purpose. It also represents one of 40 trees being planted by the Air Force Real Property Agency to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day.

Also during the ceremony, Troy Clymer of the Georgia Forestry Commission presented the Tree City USA Award and Tree City Growth Award to recognize Robins' commitment to planting and protecting trees. Col. David Southerland, 78th Air Base Wing vice commander, accepted the award on behalf of the base.

"I know the Robins community has worked hard to maintain its leadership in environmental excellence, and the beauty and scenery of this specific location is truly a testament to that," Southerland said.

The original Historic Forest started with the planting of two trees at Bldg. 215 in 1994. After the area became filled to capacity, the planting ceremony is now at the Parade Field. There are 111 trees in the two forests. It is called the Historic Forest because the trees are offspring of trees on properties once owned by or associated with famous Americans.

Plaques are placed by each tree commemorating the person being honored.