EDITORIAL: Becoming green again
Let’s plant more trees.
Kudos are due the City of Clinton, and its planting partners, Clinton Canopy and the Agriculture Department of Clinton High School, for putting trees and plants all over the place. The latest adventure was in Clinton Mill Park, right beside Calvary Baptist Church, in one of the neediest parts of our city. The still-visible textile mill smokestack is a visual reminder here that our economic base is still recovering.
That could be said, also, for our canopy. As trees and giant limbs began to fall a couple years ago, City leaders knew a planting campaign would be needed. They were joined by a spirited group of local volunteers who took on the project. City Council each year proclaims Arbor Day, and the plantings timed for that day have moved around the city. Also, Presbyterian College has taken on an aggressive campaign of identifying its weak trees and getting them down. Still, it seems on most heavy-wind days, some limb is likely to come down and smash one or more cars on campus.
It is a never-ending struggle - keeping up with trees fallen, or likely to fall. Even so, replacing the trees is important. Mayor Bob McLean said, “The City of Clinton is proud to be a sponsor of this annual Arbor Day Celebration. Among the many attributes that constitute the community in which we all want to live is the beauty that is gained with sustaining a healthy and vibrant tree canopy. We can all be proud of our city as it is the first city in the state to earn all three designations that show our dedication to the most renewable resource ... trees.”
The mayor made these and other remarks at the Nov. 3 Arbor Day Observance in Clinton Mill Park. At this event, the city honored Clinton Canopy leader Susan Galloway as recipient of the 2017 Arbor Day Service Award.
Galloway asked her fellow Clinton Canopy members to stand, sharing her honor, but they deferred. You couldn’t miss them in their green shirts.
For Galloway, Friday’s honor carried over to Monday.
She spoke at the Clinton City Council meeting in support of a renewed effort to spark life into Clinton’s parks. She said Clinton Canopy stands ready to plan and execute landscaping at the parks, but she added something else.
Galloway challenged the city to engage its citizens, in the parks whenever possible, about what the people want to see in a public space. Some have playgrounds, some don’t have the space. Some have trees, some are plots of earth more suitable for herbs and flowers. All can be places of reflection and family fun.
“Our parks have become a hot topic of discussion. Mayor McLean wrote a column about parks in The Clinton Chronicle. The city observed Arbor Day in Clinton Mill Park. The message has really hit home,” Galloway said. “I would challenge the city to engage the community. Volunteer citizens can come together and make things happen.”
It’s probably too early to see this happening, but keep an eye out in the coming years for growing Clinton trees. A new Town Oak was planted at The Depot uptown, and it is starting to flourish. Trees were planted in the triangle in front of the Legion Hut, near Clinton Middle School - these will become a beautiful gateway into Clinton. Five Nutall Oaks were planted Nov. 2, 2017, in Clinton Mill Park. In the coming years, these will grow and their leaves in the fall will become bright red. All the leaves will fall at once - this is very important for maintenance crews to have a one-shot clean-up. McLean said, “I need a couple of these trees to replace some of mine that drop leaves all winter and have surface roots that damage my lawn and driveway!”
Hey, we say, whatever works. Our City stands to have a great legacy if we can embrace The Giving Tree, nurturing and growing our precious resources.