By: Jenn Schanz
St. Mary's students joined First Lady Sally Ganem in honoring the 141st Arbor Day, a holiday dedicated to the care and protection of trees.
They honored the holiday with a Green Mountain Maple, which they planted together.
The maple is a replacement to one of the original trees planted on the grounds in 1934. Disease, age, and storm damage have left only a few large oaks as the last survivors of the original planting.
"In Lincoln, this is our State Capitol and we're continuing the plan that had been originated for this, actually for this landscaping that had originally been developed, and every year they've been planting a tree in the same spot that a landscaper had developed," Ganem says.
Ganem is an honorary chair of the ReTree Nebraska Initiative.
In addition to raising awareness of the value of trees, Retree Nebraska wants to reverse the state's decline of trees, and plant 1 million new ones by 2017.
"Children are our future just as trees are as well too just because they'll be able to carry on the tradition and certainly value trees and plants in our nation," Ganem explains.
Reading a statement from the Governor, Ganem touched on the importance of future generations' involvement in protecting trees.
"I hereby urge all citizens and especially our youth, to join me in celebrating by planting trees to lift the spirit and bring joy to the heart," she said.
Just like this year's Arbor Day, many of the smaller trees on the Capitol's grounds were planted in celebration of Arbor Day over the past two decades.