Florida Arbor Day Celebration in Crestview this Friday, January 20th

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

by Larry Williams

Crestview, FL — In celebration of Florida’s Arbor Day, free tree seedlings will be given away on Friday, January 20, 9 am to 1 pm or until trees are gone. This event will be held at the John McMahon Environmental Center located at 132 Butler Avenue in Crestview.

This event is sponsored by the Florida Forest Service (FFS), the University of Florida IFAS Extension Okaloosa County and Master Gardener Volunteers. The FFS will provide free tree seedlings, all in one-gallon containers. Tree seedings will include dahoon holly, river birch, mayhaw, live oak and shumard oak. One tree per family will be provided to the first fifty families. Unfortunately, the number of trees available is limited.

Large, old sycamore tree

A tree planting demonstration will take place just before the tree give a way. Master Gardener Volunteers will be on hand to answer questions.

The McMahon Environmental Center is named after the late state forester who founded the facility. John McMahon passed away in 2015. He served as a Florida forester for 30 years. He loved nature and spent much time teaching children and adults about trees, wildlife and nature at the center. The center includes more than 2 acres with more than 100 native Florida trees, most of which were planted by McMahon.

Arbor Day was originally founded in Nebraska on April 10, 1872 as a tree-planting day. Every state recognizes Arbor Day but because of

differences in climate, each state selects its own date to fit the best planting time for trees. Florida’s Arbor Day is the third Friday in January.

National Arbor Day is celebrated the fourth Friday in April. Florida foresters and other tree experts take advantage of the cooler time of year. Planting trees now allows young trees to become established before hot weather arrives.

Directions to the John McMahon Environmental Center:

At the intersection of Hwy 85 and 90 in the center of Crestview, go west on 90. Drive one tenth mile and turn right on Mapoles Street (between First Baptist Church and Burger King). Drive three tenths mile to second stop sign, cross First Avenue. You’ll see a forestry tower ahead. Continue on Mapoles after crossing First Avenue for another two tenths mile and turn left at forestry tower into the John McMahon Environmental Center at corner of Mapoles Street and Butler Avenue.

For more information on this event, contact Maria Wilson, Senior Forester with FFS for Okaloosa County. Maria’s work cell phone number is (850) 686-6683.

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