Historic Forest welcomes 4 new saplings

  • Published
  • By Wayne Crenshaw
  • 78th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Robins' Historic Forest grew by four trees Tuesday.

The Historic Forest planting is an annual tradition that started here in 1994. Trees are planted each year in recognition of Arbor Day, which is today, and Earth Day, which was Wednesday.

The trees are paid for by donors who also pay for a plaque that is put in the ground in the front of each tree, dedicating the tree to lost loved ones, coworkers and other groups and individuals.

The trees all come with some historical significance. Of the trees planted Tuesday, one was an offspring of a maple on the Mount Vernon plantation of George Washington. An ash sapling came from a tree that grows in the yard of the boyhood home of Dwight Eisenhower, and a hackberry came from an old parent tree on Virginia's Berkeley Plantation, the site of the first Thanksgiving.

The fourth tree came from Marcie the Marvelous Tree, a California sycamore planted in 1987 by California third-graders. The tree inspired the students to form "Tree Musketeers," the nation's first environmental group run entirely by children.

Col. Debra Bean, 78th Air Base Wing vice commander, said planting a tree is an "act of faith."

"When you plant a tree you are expressing faith in future, because most of us, when we plant a tree, won't be here to see that hope realized because trees grow very slowly," she told the group of about 70 people gathered for the ceremony. "When you plant a tree you are believing that your hope will be realized even if you aren't around to see it."

Colonel Bean also accepted a plaque from the Georgia Forestry Commission in recognition of Robins' participation in the Tree City USA program.

The trees do not have to be memorials, said Becky McCoy, chief of the environmental division. One of the trees planted Tuesday was in recognition of Ken Hansen of the Georgia Forestry Commission, who is not only alive and well but was sitting in the audience.

Another was dedicated to Alpha Company of the 1-32 Infantry in the Army's 10th Mountain Division in recognition of the unit's heroism in Afghanistan. One tree was planted in honor of the Tree Musketeers, and another was a memorial, planted in honor of Milton Dow Hall, a Korean War veteran and a sheet metal worker at Robins. He died in 2007.

Bob Sargent, natural resources manager at Robins, said 104 trees have been planted in the Historic Forest to date. The original forest is in front of Bldg. 215, and for the past 10 years the trees have been planted by the Robins Parade Field.

A tree with the plaque cost about $150. Anyone interested in sponsoring a tree for next year's ceremony can call the environmental division at 327-8104 in March 2010.