Medina celebrates Arbor Day with kids helping to plant many trees

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 29 April 2023 at 8:44 am

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Sandy and Marcia Stornelli watch as 3-year-old granddaughter Alara throws shovels full of dirt on a tree being planted in front of their house. In the stroller is 8-month old Garrett.

MEDINA – The village of Medina celebrated its annual Arbor Day tree planting on Friday with a ceremony on Frank Street.

This is the 17th year for the Arbor Day celebration with students from Oak Orchard Elementary School and the 16th year since Medina was named a Tree City USA, said Mike Sidari, mayor of the village.

Students in second grade joined the third grade in taking part in the tree planting. The Glee Club also entertained the crowd with several songs, accompanied by their director Andrea Busch.

The second grade Glee Club from Oak Orchard Elementary School waits while Kathy Blackburn, far right, welcomes the crowd who gathered to watch the children help plant trees on Frank Street. Behind Blackburn is Eileen Banker, representing Assemblyman Steve Hawley, and Medina mayor Mike Sidari.

Busch’s father-in-law, Chris Busch, is a member of the Tree Board and the village forestry coordinator. It was Busch who researched what trees would be best to plant and in what kind of soil.

At one time, the village estimated there were 2,000 trees which needed to be replaced in the village and Boxwood Cemetery. That number is now down to about 1,000, Busch said.

Forty-five trees were taken down in the past year and 46 will be planted this year.

Kathy Blackburn, chair of the Tree Board, welcomed the crowd which filled the street and sidewalks in the vicinity of 127 Frank St.

“Trees are awesome,” Blackburn said. “They look great, they keep us cool and they help clean the air we breathe. When you are grown up, you can visit this spot and tell your children you helped plant these trees.”

Students from the second and third grade, along with parents, friends and neighbors filled the sidewalk and Frank Street for the annual tree planting in celebration of Arbor Day on Friday.

Many came to the ceremony to watch the tree planting, but others, like Diane Kujawa came to see the Glee Club. Kujawa’s grandson Eric Fox is a member of the Glee Club and she couldn’t miss that, she said.

Sidari explained Arbor Day was founded on April 10, 1872 by J. Serling Morton in Nebraska. An estimated one million trees were planted that day in Nebraska. Sidari urged residents to plant trees to beautify their village.

Eileen Banker, representing Assemblyman Steve Hawley, read a citation to the students and said Hawley wanted to thank the students for participating in the event.

Blackburn extended thanks to Medina’s DPW head, Jason Watts, for his department’s cooperation with the Tree Board.

After the ceremony, students took turns throwing dirt in the holes which the DPW had dug in advance and placed trees. Tiny shovels were provided for their use.

Among the students who got to help cover the trees were Paris Gordon, Emma Lilleby, K’Lyn Worrall and Oliver Pask.

This was the first time Oliver ever helped plant a tree and it was fun, he said.

Oliver Pask, a third-grader at Oak Orchard Elementary School, throws in the first shovel of dirt during the tree-planting ceremony on Frank Street Friday.

Second-grade teacher Mrs. Van DeGenachte said this was the first time the second grade had participated in the tree planning in many years, and they just loved it. Oak Orchard School principal Jennifer Stearns even bought ponchos for all the students, in case of rain, so they wouldn’t miss it, Van DeGenachte said.

The day was extra special for Sandy and Marcia Stornelli, who live at 131 Frank St. They were babysitting their grandchildren, Alara, 3, and Garrett Wolter, 8 months. Alara loved the little shovels and delighted in throwing dirt on the tree being planted in front of her grandparents’ house.

In addition to a Tree Board, a group of residents formed Releaf Medina Society, which acts as the fundraiser for the Tree Board, which is prevented by law in raising money.

Blackburn is chair of the Tree Board and members are Jake Hebdon, Lisa Tombari, Mary Lewis and Ginny Kropf.

Releaf Medina Society is chaired by Robert Sanderson. Blackburn, Hebdon and Tombari are also members of that group.

The second grade Glee Club performed for the crowd at the tree planting on Frank Street Friday, accompanied by their director Andrea Busch, left rear.