Tree planted in Lenahan’s memory
Although the weather wasn't accommodating, local residents celebrated Arbor Day on Friday by planting a memorial tree and recognizing contributions of area businesses.
The Ton-ganoxie tree board dedicated a tree in VFW Park in memory of Jean Lenahan, who died last December. Lenahan, a member of the tree board, also was a member of the TLC club and the Good Shepherd Thrift Shop and Food bank's board of directors in Tonganoxie.
Lenahan's memorial tree is a prairie fire crabapple that is expected to grow to 20 feet in height.
Velda Roberts, who chairs the tree board, said she thought it was important to dedicate the tree to Lenahan's memory.
"It's just a way of recognizing what Jean, as an individual, has done," Roberts said.
Lenahan's widower, John Lenahan, also talked about his late wife's contributions.
"She helped plant a lot of trees around town when she was alive," Lenahan said.
The ceremony also included the presentation of recognition plaques to Thorne's Tree Service Inc. and Peruvian Connection Inc., both of Tonganoxie. The two businesses contributed 45 trees in the Elm Park subdivision west of U.S. Highway 24-40 in Tonganoxie as part of the March 2001 Tornado Recovery Project. Peruvian Connection helped with the library beautification project as well.
Roberts said the tree services' contributions through labor and finances have been important.
"It's terrific because work they do in removing trees, you can't do yourself," Roberts said. "You have to have a professional."
District forester Elspeth Pevear, Valley Falls, was scheduled to speak at the Arbor Day activities, but did not attend because of illness.
Kansas has usually not observed Arbor Day on the national date, but this year marked a change. The state now observes the holiday on the national date the fourth Friday in April.
Tonganoxie has celebrated Arbor Day for four years, and the tree board was established through a city ordinance in May 1999. Past Arbor Day trees have been planted at VFW Park, the Leavenworth County Fairgrounds and on the Tonganoxie Elementary School grounds, 304 Shawnee.
In 2000, the board led the planting of 36 trees at Chieftain Park. Last year, 63 trees were planted in the Elm Park subdivision, with another 13 trees planted in various areas in the fall.
Roberts said the board has had great assistance from the city's public works department in watering the trees. And donations from Thorne's and Peruvian, along with grant money from the city, have helped finance tree board activities.
Other board members are Russell Reed, Dennis Bixby, Shirley Tice and Carol Slawson.
Friday's tree was the first one planted by the board this year. The board also plans to plant a tree at Genesis Christian Academy, 204 Washington.
Planting trees is important for the community, Roberts said.
"They are a source of oxygen," Roberts said. "We need to be more conscious of the role they have in our environment."