Neighborhood Legacy Takes Root

taking root(Reprinted from “A Walk in the Park” Magaine, June 2016

The mission of the Terrace Park Historical Society is to preserve the treasures of our past. At the same time, we have to recognize a legacy in the making. In celebration of Earth Day, the children of Terrace Park Elementary created neighborhood treasures that will become a part of our community heritage.

A love of trees has been passed on for generations in Terrace Park. Our town is recognized by the National Arbor Day Foundation as a Tree City USA, one of 242 such communities in Ohio. Terrace Park has owned this distinction for the past thirty years thanks to a community-wide commitment to the tree canopy. The Terrace Park Urban Forestry initiative began in the late 1890s with the planting of 1600 trees and continues today with a computerized inventory maintained by the Village. This database includes location, species, size and condition of over 2,500 different types of trees.

Given our history with trees, it is no wonder that Earth Day is a big deal at our school. Chaired for the second year in a row by Emily Parker and Jocelyn Davis, Earth Day is celebrated for an entire week and is filled with fun, hands on activities that give the kids a real education on the part they play in protecting the environment and keeping the neighborhood beautiful.

This year, the Earth Day Committee partnered with the Ohio Valley Forestry Fellowship and the Taking Root 2020 campaign, a group dedicated to reforestation in the Cincinnati region. Cincinnati is home to nine native Ash trees, which will inevitably be destroyed by the Emerald Ash Borer. This insect is expected to destroy Ash trees, leading to a devastating loss of our tree canopy—up to 40% in some areas.

For years, the Terrace Park Garden Club has given a tree to every first grader on Arbor Day. Emily, Jocelyn and the committee jumped at the chance to work with the Taking Root campaign, which gave a tree to each child at the school, plus an additional 60 more trees to be planted throughout the neighborhood.

“We’ve had a real opportunity to teach the kids the importance of trees,” explained Emily. “Loss of our tree canopy has a real impact on our entire system. I love that the kids have had a great way to get their hands dirty and really get involved in a meaningful project.”

A dedicated group of volunteers helped bag and distribute the 350 trees intended for our school project. The Earth Day Committee proclaimed that each child was a Tree Caretaker and encouraged them to plant their trees as part of a school-wide contest. Over 130 trees were planted, thanks to TPE kids. Mrs. Maria Child’s second grade class had the most children participate, and they won a very special award for their dedication and hard work—a legacy tree on school grounds.

Several new trees had recently been planted at the school, thanks to donations from the PTO and the Davis Family. One of the trees will now be commemorated with a plaque dedicated to Mrs. Child’s class. Each child in the classroom worked to create unique stepping stones to surround the tree and to celebrate their special contribution to our neighborhood ecosystem.

“This is a tradition that we hope to continue for years,” said Jocelyn. “We hope that kids come back to the school to look at how their tree has grown.”

To learn more and to participate in the Taking Root 2020 campaign, please visitwww.takingroot.info. To learn more about what it means to be a Tree City USA, please visit www.arborday.org/programs/treecityusa/. For more information about trees in Terrace Park, thanks to Village Arborist Mark Castator, please visit http://terracepark.org/government/departments/urban-forestry/.