In celebration of Texas State Arbor Day, the community planted four new trees at the Heights Community park Saturday morning.

Adam Trujillo, Harker Heights activities center specialist, was happy to see volunteers coming out to learn about nature.

“Trees are important,” Trujillo said. “It’s proven that the more trees a city has, the healthier the population is. They are pretty to look at, they clean the air and they actually cool down the cities.”

Attending community members helped to plant four TexMex Sycamore trees between the area of the north parking lot and the baseball fields No. 5 and 8.

“They do really well in this climate,” Trujillo said.

In cooperation with the Stewart C. Meyer Harker Heights Public Library, many activities were geared toward children.

Besides a nature scavenger hunt, kids were able to learn how determine the age of a tree and received a book for flower and leaf pressing.

But not only children were interested in the nature-based activities.

“I like to learn about trees,” said Nicole Douglas. “It’s great to kind of get yourself back into nature and … bring nature back into the world because it’s kind of drifting away slowly.”

Harker Heights has carried the title of Tree City USA for eight years and will be awarded for the ninth year at the end of November.

To be eligible, cities have to form a tree board, a public tree care ordinance and invest $2 per capita into a Community Forestry Program to build a tree budget for long-term tree care

The cities also have to hold an annual Arbor Day observance or proclamation.

“We are always planting trees, all year round, and laying down mulch in the winter,” Trujillo said. “Then we have to read a proclamation each Arbor Day.”

Since the city celebrates the Texas State Arbor Day as well as the National Arbor Day in April, the celebrations are held as changing locations. The National Arbor Day celebration was held at the Heights recreation center.

Michael Blomquist, mayor pro tem and councilman for Place 2, read the proclamation on behalf of the mayor.

“Trees offer a source of enjoyment for everybody in the community, it doesn’t matter who you are,” he said. “Everybody enjoys the sight and the beauty of the trees, the shade they provide in the summer.”

Next year, Harker Heights will host the official Texas State Arbor Day celebration honoring their 10th year of being Tree City USA.

“That will be an exciting event for us,” Blomquist said.

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