Arbor Day tree planting ceremony at Phoenix's oldest cemeteries

Posted on by az100

April 30, 2010

Co-chair Charles E Jones headed the first Centennial Tree Project Planting Ceremony on Arbor Day, Friday, April 30, 2010. The 30 minute ceremony beginning at 8:30am was held at the Pioneer & Military Memorial Park between 13th and 15th Avenues on Madison Street in Phoenix. In the absence of Co-chair Governor Jan Brewer, Arizona State Forester—Vicki Christiansen—rose to the occasion and spoke in her behalf. Christiansen reminded us of the first Arbor Day in 1872 held in Nebraska and the famous words of Julius Sterling Morton: “Arbor Day is not like other holidays. Each of those reposes on the past, while Arbor Day proposes for the future.”

Other guest speakers were PCA President Dean Isaac, Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett, and Phoenix Councilman Michael Johnson. Johnson proclaimed that the cemetery represents the past, we are the present, and the trees will become the future.

In collaboration with the Pioneers’ Cemetery Association, the City of Phoenix, and the Arizona Centennial Commission, forty Cathedral Live Oak trees will be planted in the cemetery during the upcoming months to commemorate National Arbor Day and our upcoming Arizona Centennial in 2012.

The first five trees, which will hit off the project, were planted in the south end of the Pioneer & Military Memorial Park Cemeteries on a perfect Arbor Day morning in Phoenix. Comprised of seven cemeteries in use from 1884 through 1914, the Pioneer & Military Memorial Park is the final resting place of many of Arizona’s founding fathers, early pioneer families, and military personnel. Burials include Darell Duppa, King Woolsey, Tom Graham, and Jacob Waltz. Other gravesites include territorial governors, legislators, sheriffs, mayors, Arizona Rangers, Buffalo Soldiers and more.

The trees will enhance the beauty of the cemetery. Photographs from the past show lush trees and plant life amongst the graves before the cemetery fell into despair in 1914. Through the efforts of the volunteers of the Pioneers’ Cemetery Association, the grounds are clean and weeded once again. The Pioneer’s Cemetery Association offers FREE open house at the cemetery in the winter, spring and fall months. Twice a year, the group hosts a Historic Cemetery Walk for a small fee to raise funds for various cemetery projects.

The Centennial Tree planting ceremony was attended by 30 guests and local Arizona dignitaries. Light refreshments were served.

Pioneer & Military Memorial Park
1317 W Jefferson Street
Phoenix, AZ 85008

For more info
Debe Branning
All photos by Debe Branning

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