By Brandon HENSLEY
The rains came in the early hours of Saturday morning, and although clouds covered the rest of the day, it could not dampen the spirit of those who turned out for Crescenta Valley’s annual Arbor Day ceremony.
Held at Two Strike Memorial Park from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., the County of Los Angeles, CV Town Council and L.A. County Department of Parks and Recreation hosted the event intended to celebrate the environment.
Just don’t tell that to Mother Nature. The last two years have been a challenge to hold the event; last year nonstop winds wreaked havoc, and last week there were the rains to be concerned about.
“Usually you’re perspiring, it’s about 100 degrees. You’re getting sunburn,” L.A. County Supervisor Mike Antonovich said to the crowd about Arbor Day. “This year it rains. Only in California.”
Booths from CERT (Community Emergency Response Team), CV High School Prom Plus and Boy Scouts & Girl Scouts of America surrounded the park’s basketball court. Raffle prizes included oak trees and Kings hockey tickets, and the CV High Jazz Band and St. James/Holy Redeemer elementary school choir entertained the crowd.
The theme for the day was “Recycle-Replant-Regrow,” but it was a particular club that grabbed most of the attention. The La Crescenta Woman’s Club was commemorated for being in its 100th year of existence.
Co-president Genny Bundick accepted several certificates from Antonovich, Congessman David Drier and the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department.
Town Council and Woman’s Club member Danette Erickson spoke to the crowd about the history of the club and was grateful for the recognition. A pink trumpet tree will be planted in front of the CVHS library in honor of the club.
“One hundred years later, it is most fitting that a tree will be planted to honor the wonderful, dedicated women who have given so generously of their time to assist in the advancement and general welfare of the community at our own CV High School,” she said.
Antonovich couldn’t help but poke fun at Erickson’s expense.
“Time goes by so fast but the Town Council’s [been around] for 22 years,” he said. “Over two decades, and it seems just like a couple years ago that Danette was in high school.”
Stuart Byles, vice president of the Historical Society of the Crescenta Valley, spoke about the history of Arbor Day. It dates back to Nebraska, 1872, and was started when J. Sterling Morton and his wife moved from the east coast to Nebraska. Morton missed the lush trees of his home, and so 1 million trees were planted on the first Arbor Day in that state.
“And if you’ve been to eastern Nebraska, it’s vastly different than western Nebraska,” Byles said.
Today, countries such as Australia, Korea and Japan celebrate Arbor Day in some way or another. April 30 is national Arbor Day in the U.S.
“One good idea promoted tirelessly by an individual can truly make a difference,” Byles said.
“Today we symbolically plant a tree of unity as a reminder to the community that we will grow together and live in a harmonious way,” said Antonovich.
The same way of living much like the Woman’s Club has promoted for 100 years.
“Whenever one of us hears of a good cause we all support that cause as best we can,” Erickson said.
It just makes it a lot easier when Mother Nature allows them to.