Autumn arrives and we relive past Arbor Days

Highway & Thomas 10-31-16
Highway & Thomas 10-31-16

tree-city-logo1Arbor Day falls on the last Friday of April every year.

Riverton earned its Tree City designation over 27 years ago on Arbor Day, April 28, 1989, as the result of efforts by some dedicated tree huggers.

Then Shade Tree Commission Member Nancy Washington explained why.

To get the circumference, of course, for the tree census.

Commission Chair Mr. Barry Emens and his fellow commissioners had previously measured each one of them and noted their condition as part of the task of applying to the Arbor Day Foundation for the Tree City title.

In marking the occasion that day, Mr. Emens addressed a group of k-5th grade Riverton School students on the Christ Episcopal Church lawn.

Mr. Emens enthusiastically listed some benefits of trees:

  • Trees give us a good feeling inside.
  • They keep the noise down.
  • They keep your parents’ fuel bills down.
  • They increase property values.

The kids cheered when Emens announced they would each get a white pine seedling.

Music teacher Naomi Horn directed students in singing “Arbor Day, Sweet Arbor Day” to the tune of “O Christmas Tree.”

Raise your hand, kids, if you witnessed an Arbor Day tree planting. Or maybe you planted one of those tree seedlings.

One of our town’s trees has even been to outer space.

Well, at least its seed was in space.

Space Shuttle White Pine plaque, 2018
Space Shuttle White Pine tree, 2018

During another Arbor Day assembly in 2011, the borough received a white pine grown from seeds flown aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia in 1997. Riverton’s new tree was on display in a planter in the school gymnasium before being planted in Riverton Memorial Park along the edge of the Pompeston Creek.

According to the Board’s current Tree Census, Riverton Borough has 2474 trees lining the streets & parks; that’s almost as many trees as its people population of 2,772 (2013). Over the years, Emens and company have succeeded in making Riverton home to a staggering 151 diverse tree species!

Show some love and give thanks for our own Tree City and the members of Riverton’s Shade Tree Board, still vigorously chaired by Barry Emens for over 30 years, by taking a photo and posting it to FB or Instagram, or send in an attachment to

Did you know the creation of Riverton’s Shade Tree Commission followed the presentation of an illustrated lecture (probably in 1908) at the Porch Club? See a description of the Porch Club’s early years in this July 1911 issue of Suburban Life, and about that 1908 lecture in this excerpt from Jersey City’s Evening Journal, May 4, 1908, p5.

The Philadelphia Inquirer, April 29, 1989, pB3
Added 10-13-16: A great friend of the HSR, Gary Weart, contributes over 30 autumn pix, but you need to visit Facebook to see them.