281 tree planting marks Arbor DayLocal residents celebrated Arbor Day Saturday by planting a harvest gold crabapple tree in the median bordering the newly reconstructed area of U.S. Highway 281 in south Jamestown.
Local residents celebrated Arbor Day Saturday by planting a harvest gold crabapple tree in the median bordering the newly reconstructed area of U.S. Highway 281 in south Jamestown.
City Forester Vern Quam said at this Arbor Day gathering he was highlighting the planting along the medians on U.S. Highway 281 from about 17th Street Southwest to Country Club Road in south Jamestown. About 380 trees and some shrubs were planted along the corridor using a $125,000 North Dakota Department of Transportation Enhancement grant.
The trees are the major portion of the planned plantings to soften the stark concrete intensity of the roadway corridor as well as adding interest to the curving multi-use path. The corridor fronts a business district, which includes the Buffalo Mall and Quality Inn, where the Arbor Day ceremony was held.
“We’ll add shrubs and ground cover as we go along,” Quam said.
The dozen people who participated in the Arbor Day celebration included Ben Kubischta, NDDOT Transportation Enhancement Program manager. He said he had oversight responsibility for the Highway 281 enhancement grant and was pleased to participate in the Saturday’s celebration.
Kubischta told the gathering that he likens adding trees and shrubs to a roadway with turning a house into a home. He said it isn’t a home until there are pictures on the wall and knickknacks on the tables. And while people need good roads, they take more pride in the trees in their community.
“It’s trees that make your community a home,” he said. “The 281 planting is a good project in making this area more like a home.”
This year is also the 30th anniversary of Jamestown being recognized as a Tree City USA community. Quam said Mandan was the first city in the state to get the designation. However, Jamestown was among the top four to be named a Tree City. To be one, he said, a community must have a shade tree committee, spend a certain amount on trees each year, have an ordinance addressing trees in the community and holding an Arbor Day ceremony such as Saturday’s.
Dutch elm disease is still destroying elms in Jamestown but Quam said it didn’t take such a high toll this year.
“We only lost 128 trees this year. We were down about 50,” he said.
Arbor Day is traditionally celebrated in May and Quam said that’s still true in the city’s schools. However, Quam said he deliberately added the fall celebration as that’s the best time to plant trees.
“And it’s a little less busy a season,” he said.
The 28 types included in the 380 trees planted for the mile or so of 281 median were carefully considered for the area, Quam said. The Harvest Gold Crabapple, for example, was chosen because it doesn’t impede visibility, it is adaptable to conditions and it adds color and fruit for wildlife.
“The gold-colored fruit hangs on the tree over the winter for birds to eat,” he said.
The trees and planned shrubbery will add multi-season color and interest, he said, from the conifers to the maples, lindens and dogwoods.
“It’s about the right tree in the right place,” he said.
Also this year, an Eagle Scout project resulted in about 400 trees planted by the Boy Scouts as a living snow fence for the Jamestown Wastewater Treatment Plant. Quam said no other big planting projects occurred in Jamestown, “just some replacement trees in the parks.”
This year’s Johnny Appleseed Award went to Tom Olson, a retired Jamestown High School biology teacher. During his 29 years teaching, Quam said, Olson required his sophomore students to make a leaf collection of trees, shrubs and grasses. And it is still part of the biology curriculum. Olson is also a member of the city’s Shade Tree Committee.
Olson has several acres of trees, especially different types of lindens, he raises as nursery stock. His lindens enhance the Roosevelt Elementary School area, Quam said, as well as other spots in the community and the state. Most have been donated.
“He’s also involved with creating a nature area at the high school,” Quam said. “He’s trying to get some things going up there.”
Sun reporter Toni Pirkl can be reached at (701) 952-8453 or by e-mail at email@example.com