Hundreds Come Out for Arbor Day Celebrations in the Panhandle

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Many celebrations took place across the Panhandle on Friday in honor of the nationally recognized holiday, Arbor Day.

Florida has recognized this day every third Friday in January since 1886, and it’s a day that the Panama City Garden Club is very familiar with.

Panama City’s Leisure Service Director, Keith Baker, said that’s why every year they celebrate Arbor Day by planting a tree in honor of someone special.
    
“There’s always a past president that is memorialized or a family that is memorialized and in their honor we do that,” he said.

Nationally, Arbor Day isn’t celebrated until April, but because of a quicker blooming season, Baker said Florida celebrates before that.    
    
“Because we’re the Sunshine State obviously we thaw out quicker than our northern friends, so January typically initiates the growing season,” he said.

To encourage people to plant more trees, the Florida Forest Service gave away more than 200 free one-gallon potted trees in Bay County, and 300 in Jackson County.
    
“We gave them all out in the first hour, it was kind of amazing, when I pulled out there was a line of probably 100 people out here waiting to get those free trees planted in their yard,” Bay and Gulf County Senior Forester, Joe Vanderwerff, said.
    
The Florida Forest Service will be giving away more than 350 trees in Walton County Saturday, January 27 at the Annual Chautauqua Assembly starting at 8 A.M.

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