Lynchburg celebrates nature’s bounty with tree planting and tree education

Among the many local celebrations and festivities of Lynchburg, the annual Arbor Day gathering honors God’s nature with the planting of trees and other traditions. This year, Lynchburg celebrated Arbor Day Saturday, April 15. 

According to Nicholas Meyer, an arborist who helped organize the Arbor Day celebration, the first Arbor Day in the United States was held in Nebraska 151 years ago. On that day, volunteers planted about 1,000,000 trees. This influenced the creation of the Arbor Day Foundation in the year 1972. Later, in 1976, the foundation helped form Tree City USA, which is a program that encourages cities to care for and preserve urban forests, and according to Meyer, this is Lynchburg’s 41st year being a part of Tree City USA.

“One of the four requirements for becoming part of Tree City USA is to host an Arbor Day celebration,” Meyer said. “The mayor of Lynchburg has proclaimed Arbor Day on various days for the past 41 years.”

There is no set day for the annual Arbor Day. National Arbor Day is April 28, but the Arbor Day Foundation allows each locality to decide what day and time of year it’s best to plant trees. The goal of Arbor Day is to encourage the community to help maintain the health and well-being of the trees in each city.

A self-governing group of volunteers, the Lynchburg Tree Stewards, promotes the protection and care for the well-being of the forests in the Lynchburg area. Founded in 1995, it helps establish young city trees as well as bring awareness to trees and the benefits they add to the community. 

“(On Arbor Day), we have people come out and learn about planting trees and the important roles that trees play in our community,” Meyer said. “The membership right now stands at about 40 people who come out once a month to prune city trees along the streets.”

The tree stewards seek to encourage the citizens of Lynchburg and engage them in learning about caring for trees, as well as educate the community on the need for trees and how to care for them. Meyer explained that something he runs into as an arborist is that there are people in the community who are unaware of the benefits that trees provide, so being able to educate others helps more people plant trees and keep them healthy.

“Arbor Day is the main time of the year where the tree stewards come together and try to engage the public and teach about the benefits of trees,” Meyer said.

Volunteers with the Lynchburg Tree Stewards, whether they volunteer for just one year or more, help take care of the city’s trees. The group meets on the fourth Tuesday of every month and has a tree steward training program. 

“We just finished a training program (this past year), and it was six Saturday mornings that we got together and had different professors and industry professionals come and teach about trees, from establishment to pruning, as well as disease and pest identification,” Meyer said. “A whole bunch of things to learn about.”

Anyone can call the Lynchburg Tree Stewards if they notice anything wrong with a specific tree, such as if it appears to be sick. This allows the tree stewards to take care of whatever may be wrong with the tree.

If you are interested in volunteering for CSER or for fun, visit their website or email Nicholas Meyer at 

Pickard is a feature reporter for the Liberty Champion

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