It could not have been a more appropriate February morning for Arbor Day in Lilburn, a designated Tree City USA community.
Mother Nature was wide awake Saturday. The sun was bright, the skies a dark blue and at one point a couple of hawks soared and called out overhead.
More than 100 residents took in the city’s annual celebration, which included a nature walk down the Camp Creek Greenway Trail, kids-oriented activities and the planting of a lacebark elm tree in honor of Salem Missionary Baptist Church.
The planting of a tree is “a source of joy and continual renewal,” Lilburn Mayor Diana Preston said during a proclamation of Arbor Day and recognition of Salem Missionary’s impact on the area.
A ceramic plaque was placed at the foot of the elm planted in the meadow area adjacent to the trail. Dozens of members of the 175-year-old church, including pastor Dr. Richard B. Haynes, attended the ceremony.
“We are proud of being a part of Lilburn,” Haynes said. “I want you to know that we want to be an active part of this community.”
After a guided walk on the trail led by arborist Jesse Milton, attendees gathered around the planting of the lacebark elm, the fourth elm to be planted in the meadow, a flat field area ringed by a walking trail. Cub scouts from Pack 504 who carried shovels down the trail helped with the planting.
Organizers hope that one day, elms will shade the area.
“The meadow was once a landfill,” said Mandy McManus, a Lilburn Woman’s Club member and one of the event’s organizers. “It needed trees, so this is what we started. This could go on for more than our lifetime.”