Palmer Middle School students celebrated Alaska Arbor Day with a trip to the Dr. Myron F. Babb Arboretum in Palmer on Monday.

The Matanuska Electric Association (MEA) hosted a small gathering and handed out saplings to the students.

Staff took the opportunity to teach kids the importance of how trees can impact utilities.

They advised students to check for overhead power lines before planting their saplings and to avoid the ground boxes as well.

“The importance of Arbor Day really helps us grab a hold of the education and continued learning that we need involving trees and its interface between our utilities and our towns, our neighborhoods, our homes so we can make sound decisions regarding where to plant them and how to care for them,” said MEA line clearance tree trimmer Anthony Lindfors.

MEA staff spent part of last week cleaning up trees at the arboretum and removing deadwood from the large trees. Lindfors said the maintenance improves the health of the trees and helps them live longer.

They had to cut down three trees killed by spruce bark beetles. Lindfors said the crew is optimistic the remaining spruce trees will survive.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy signed a proclamation making Monday, May 20, 2019, Arbor Day in Alaska. Nationally, Arbor Day is celebrated on the last Friday of April. 

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