About 50 eager Davidson Lands Conservancy (DLC) volunteers gathered on March 18 on the south end of Davidson’s Jackson Street to celebrate North Carolina’s Arbor Day. The mission: Plant 35 trees including southern magnolias, dogwoods, and Nuttall oaks, native species carefully selected for the site. The Town owns the planting site, located across Jackson Street from the police station.

Arbor Day originated in Nebraska by J. Sterling Morton in 1872 when an estimated one million trees were planted. N.C, Arbor Day, established in 1967, falls each year on the first Friday following March 15, a good time of year for planting trees locally.

Davidson Mayor Rusty Knox welcomed the crowd with thoughtful reminders of the origins and purpose of Arbor Day, the importance of trees in our community, and the Town of Davidson’s strong commitment to the tree canopy. DLC Executive Director Dave Cable said, “Today, we honor two recently passed friends of local lands and natural resources, conservation advocate Judith Judy and Randy Kincaid, longtime Davidson mayor and conservation catalyst.”

TreeMasters, trained volunteers who help coordinate events and work with tree-planting volunteers to ensure trees are planted correctly and safely, were on hand for the celebration, including Brian Frierson with Bartlett, DLC Board members Gordon Clark and Tom Watson, and volunteer Don Morris.

Volunteers, including groups of enthusiastic Hough High environmental club members, sisters from AKA Sorority, and brothers from Davidson College Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity made light of the planting work, given the auguring and site preparation generously provided by the Town of Davidson public-works team.

This community event was organized in partnership with the Town of Davidson and led by DLC’s TreesDavidson program, an urban forestry initiative to engage the community in planting and caring for trees. Urban forestry is one of DLC’s four conservation pillars, the others being land conservation, greenways and trails, and wildlife habitat.

As an accredited land trust, the DLC mission is to conserve local lands and natural resources and connect lives to nature. DLC advances its mission through education and through the four conservation pillars. Visit Davidsonlands.org for details on the recently launched Now & Forever Campaign, as well as programs, news, and events.

Growth pressures in the Davidson area are high. While economic development benefits our community, balancing growth with well-stewarded and conserved natural lands is critical to our quality of life and to keeping Davidson attractive and healthy.