OSAWATOMIE – Gov. Laura Kelly completed a less-celebrated but notable task when she visited Osawatomie on Oct. 7 to take part in the Flint Hills Trail ribbon-cutting ceremony.
While people started milling about after the ribbon-cutting, Gov. Kelly and Mayor Mark Govea used golden shovels to symbolically toss some earth around the base of a recently planted Autumn Brilliance Apple Serviceberry tree on the north side of the trailhead.
The governor’s gesture, although perhaps unnoticed by some, was part of the city of Osawatomie’s Arbor Day observance.
The tree, and its counterpart flanking the other side of the trail, were recently planted by the city’s electric utility crew.
Before the ribbon-cutting, City Clerk Tammy Seamands and Library Director Elizabeth Trigg stood behind a table, handing out information about Arbor Day and some seedlings.
Arbor Day, which is normally celebrated on the last Friday in April, came a little late this year.
“We decided to celebrate Arbor Day in October this year because of COVID-19,” Seamands said.
Fifty seedlings were given away.
“This year we passed out 25 Redbud seedlings and 25 Southwestern White Pine seedlings,” Seamands said. “The Autumn Brilliance Apple Serviceberry trees (planted near the trail’s arched gateway) produce a white bloom in the spring, berries that are safe for the wildlife to eat and then the leaves turn red in the fall.”
The City Council also passed an Arbor Day proclamation, and Seamands forwarded Arbor Day poster contest material to schools.
“The library did a story hour on Thursday, Oct. 8, about trees and they offered a take-and-make craft decorating a fall tree,” Seamands said.
Osawatomie has been a Tree City USA since the mid-2000s.
“We were first recognized in 2005 as a Tree City USA Community, so this will mark our 16th year,” Seamands said.