The winners in Gainesville's annual Arbor Day Art & Essay Contests have been announced as well as plans for this year's Arbor Day celebration.
The event will be held February 16 at the Atlanta Botanical Garden Gainesville, coordinated by the Greater Hall Chamber and sponsored by the Hall County Master Gardeners, Keep Hall Beautiful and Georgia Power. Festivities will include student contest recognition and a joint city/county proclamation with Tree City USA recognition.
There were more than 100 entries in the art and essay contests, according to a chamber of commerce news release. This year's topic was “I Speak for the Trees.”
*3rd Grade Art Award Recipients
1st Place: Erik Fuentes, Enota Elementary
Runner Up: Leilani Moreno, McEver Arts Academy
Runner Up: Makaylah Terveen, Sardis Enrichment School
*5th Grade Essay Award Recipients
1st Place: Evelyn Crow, Riverbend Elementary (A copy of her essay is posted below.)
Runner Up: Emily Hudson, Riverbend Elementary
Runner Up: McKennah Korab, Spout Springs School of Enrichment
For information on Arbor Day or other Greater Hall Chamber Community Development programs, including Agribuisness programs and Business & Residential Beautification Awards, contact Robin Halstead, Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce, 770-532-6206 x 101. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
By: Evelyn M. Crow
My name is Evelyn and I speak for the trees. Georgia has many trees, like me, and I’m a Black Willow. The Black Willow is special because if a branch breaks off and is then planted, it will grow into a second Black Willow. Black Willows help us in many ways, including turning Co2 into oxygen, when we us their wood to make things, and when they are just trees in our backyards.
In order to live, plants, including Black Willows, need Co2 (carbon dioxide). In photosynthesis, plants use energy from the sun to convert Co2 and water into oxygen and sugar. Then they use the sugar as food, and release the oxygen into the air. Since humans need oxygen, this is beneficial. We breathe oxygen, and we breathe out Co2. Without plants, there could be no life on Earth.
Co2 can affect weather, too. Co2 absorbs heat that is sent to Earth by the sun. This insulates Earth, and keeps it warm enough for life. If there were no trees to turn Co2 into oxygen, then scientists believe that the Co2 in the air will cause Earth’s temperature to rise, causing unpredictable events.
Black Willows are also useful to make woven baskets from freshly cut willow shoots, and we use larger branches and saplings for bark-on, wicker-like furniture, but there are no more uses, too, like medicine. The Black Willow has an inner and outer bark, and each has different concentrations or compounds, which can make them better for certain ailments. In fact, tea from Black Willow bark helps with stiff joints and rheumatic pains. When brewed into tea, the bark produces marked antipyretic (fever reducing) and analgesic (pain killing) effects. The ancient Greeks knew this! Although we can make many things from trees, for every one we cut down, we need to plant another one.
Black Willows help us in many ways, even when we just leave them alone. This willow is one of the first plants to provide honey bees with nectar and pollen after winter, and if there is a forest fire, the Black Willow will just start growing again in the first place it was again. It also grows along streams and keeps soil from washing away. Plus this tree is useful for animals, such as elk and beaver, who browse on willow leaves in the summer and willow twigs in winter. Domestic grazing animals also browse in willow thickets.
These willows are amazing, and they help us a lot. They give us oxygen to breathe, give us their wood, and help us when they’re just a tree. If this is all one tree can do, then what about every tree? They’re all important. I’m Evelyn, and I hope we can protect every tree, and plant another when we cut one down.
-USDA Plants: Black Willow Plant Guide
-Black Willow Plant Fact Sheet
-Plants Need Co2 to Live. So is More of it a Good Thing? Climate Control