Randolph hosts Arbor Day celebration with city leaders
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Randolph students join city to celebrate Arbor Day and our ‘big, beautiful planet’


At Randolph Elementary School, the trees that line the neighborhood are symbolic -- making a perfect backdrop for the 21st annual Arbor Day celebration.

Principal Mike Daraskavich, during the recent event co-hosted by Randolph and the City of Livonia’s Tree Committee, said the school’s Leader In Me Seven Habits are displayed on a tree-shaped display for a reason.

 “The tree shows us that we need to have strong roots, that we know who we are and what we want to accomplish in life,” he said, noting the Seven Habits are posted on a large tree display at the school. “We act in a proactive way; we begin with the end in mind and put first things, first. When we do these things in life, we establish strong roots so that we can weather any storm.”

Trees provide a solid foundation, he added, and the trunk, branches and leaves represent the final four habits: thinking win-win; seek first to understand; synergize and sharpen the saw.

“These habits are for working with others. These are what people see in us. When we practice these habits, we can be productive in our school, as members of our family and we can be a productive part of society.”

The planting of three new trees on the Randolph school grounds is also symbolic, he noted.

“On this day, when we are celebrating planting three beautiful trees, we want to remember that, in front of us here, we have the leaders of tomorrow,” he said. “As we grow here, as students, to be the best people that we can be, and the best citizens and leaders, these trees will grow as well.”

The Arbor Day celebration, which occurs at a different school each year, first began in 1998, when former Mayor Jack Kirsksey and Bill Craig, who serves as the Tree Committee chairman, decided to turn Livonia into a Tree City, as designated by the Arbor Day Foundation.

Each year, the selected school receives an official Tree City flag and students are each given a tree sapling to take home to plant. Songs, artwork and plenty of special visitors round out the celebration.

Livonia Mayor Dennis Wright presented the flag to the school, while Tree Committee member John Covert led the program.

“Livonia is a wonderful place to live, not only because we are a Tree City, but also because a lot of people in our school system, our city and our state work very hard to provide us with a high quality of life,” said Covert.

To be a Tree City, Livonia must meet certain criteria, including having a Tree Committee, which meets regularly; an ordinance for tree care; a forestry program and an annual Arbor Day celebration. Tree City USA signs are also posted throughout the city.

It’s a wonderful time to come together, according to City Council President Laura Toy, who was among several local leaders on hand for the celebration.

“Livonia is a Tree City, and our young people obviously need to be informed about it,” said Toy. “Things like celebrating Arbor Day have been huge over the years.  We have to pay attention to our urban forest and what we do with trees that are dying off."

Livonia City Clerk Susan Nash said the students are the highlight of the event.

"I love Arbor Day. I love listening to the kids and seeing how hard they've worked to put this on,” she said. “I love hearing the excitement in their voices and seeing the smiles and enthusiasm on their faces."

Third grade student Christopher Shelton said, "The less trees we have, the less fresh air we have. We need clean air to live."

Classmate Sydni Davis agreed, saying, “"It's important because trees give us clean oxygen that we need to breathe."

And, fellow third-grader Selena Hoflores added, “"Trees do a lot of stuff for you. They give you wood, nuts, fruit and a lot of other stuff." 

The program, emceed by fourth graders Elizabeth Wilhelm and Lauren Svoboda,  featured students singing, “Big, Beautiful Planet,” with music teacher Eric Bottorff, who played along on a ukulele.

Bill Craig reflected on this tradition, saying, “The children get these lessons about their environment, and trees are an important subject. Arbor Day is a good day to support trees in our community; they surround us.”

City forestry staff assisted students in planting two tulip trees and one tri-color European beech tree.

“The sun shined on our event,” added Craig.
Arbor Day in Livonia

Arbor Day in Livonia

Kids planting trees

kids planting trees