The city of Paris is a step closer to earning a Tree City USA designation from the National Arbor Day Foundation.

The city of Paris is a step closer to earning a Tree City USA designation from the National Arbor Day Foundation.

Last week, the city joined with the Paris Rotary Club to conduct an Arbor Day celebration at Paris High School, where a proclamation from Mayor James Buckman was read, and a tree was planted.

It was the last step in the process of an application the city will submit to the National Arbor Day Foundation to be awarded as a Tree City USA.

Aaron Vitt, superintendent of Paris R-II Schools and 2017-2018 president of Rotary, called the Thursday’s celebration and tree-planting an important step for the city.

“The celebration on Thursday was one of the requirements during the application to earn Tree City USA distinction,” he said. “The distinction will give our community some well-deserved recognition. Being a Tree City USA is bigger than recognition, it speaks to the aesthetic, environmental, economic, and ecological benefits we all gain from trees.”

Thursday’s Arbor Day celebration marked the first time that Paris High School Interact students were involved in the community-wide projects.

“Our Interact students will be able to be leaders in a project lets them be a part of impacting their community and they see the importance of civic responsibility,” Vitt said.

Paris Rotary members voted in September to approach the city to for a joint effort to become a Tree City USA city. The vote was sparked by a challenge from Rotary District Gov. Rose Cooper to plant at least one tree for each member of the club. Because of all the trees lost to storms over the last two summers, members of the Rotary Club voted to make it a bigger project.”

Vitt appeared before the Paris Board of Aldermen. The Rotary Club, he said, plans to purchase tree and coordinate community tree planting event during April 2018.

“We will now wait for the official designation from Tree City USA. We will also begin the next stages of the process of selecting additional locations to plant trees in Paris,” Vitt said.

If the city earns Tree City USA, there will be a National Arbor Day community celebration on April 28, 2018.