Logos Academy celebrates Arbor Day at Penn Park

David Weissman

A squirrel may have lost its home in Penn Park Monday morning, but Logos Academy students helped plant three future replacements in honor of National Arbor Day.

National Arbor Day was actually April 29, but Logos Academy fourth- and fifth-grade students celebrated at the park on Monday after inclement weather forced them to reschedule twice.

Logos Academy fourth-grader Armani Hill shovels dirt around a newly-planted pin oak tree in Penn Park during an Arbor Day event Monday, May 9, 2016. Heritage Lawn and Landscape owner Tom Bechtel, right, oversaw the project and educated the students about trees. Bill Kalina photo

York City Mayor Kim Bracey was on hand to talk about the importance of trees and receive a flag in recognition of York City being named a 2015 Tree City USA, which recognizes the work of elected officials, staff and citizens who plant and care for the community forest.

"It is our responsibility to ensure that trees remain a vibrant part of our parks and streetscape for future generations," Bracey said.

The city has received the designation for 32 years in a row.

The highlight of the proceedings, based on the student's cheers, was the removal of a tree near the park's basketball courts.

Tom Bechtel, CEO and founder of Heritage Lawn and Landscape Care, said the tree had become diseased and posed a threat to the community if not properly removed.

Students shouted, "Timber!," as a Heritage employee used a chainsaw to cut through the trunk of the 30-40 foot tree, which the employee estimated had been alive for approximately 50 years. A squirrel was seen scurrying away from the scene as the branches fell swiftly to the grass.

As the students were split into groups and taken on nature walks, American Tree Experts employees turned the fallen tree into mulch.

Students spent the rest of the morning aiding Bechtel in planting three new trees around the park. The trees were donated to the city by the Garden Club of York.

Heritage Lawn and Landscape owner Tom Bechtel talks about a pin oak tree that he and Logos Academy students planted in Penn Park during an Arbor Day event Monday, May 9, 2016. Bill Kalina photo

— Reach David Weissman at dweissman@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at@DispatchDavid.