Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Arbor Day festivities celebrate life

Ketchum kids get dual celebrations on Cinco de Mayo

Express Staff Writer

Ketchum city employees Chris Key, left, Josh Hadden and Avi Edelson plant a Bechtel crabapple tree Friday in Ketchum's Little Park in memory of Janet Shafran, a Ketchum resident who died in January. An autumn blaze maple was planted in memory of Otto Lang, the former director of the Sun Valley Ski School, who also died in January. The tree plantings and other events occurred on Arbor Day, a nationwide observance marked by tree planting. Express photo by Rebecca Meany Photo by David N. Seelig

Arbor Day in Ketchum was a celebration of life in many forms—from greenery to cultural festivities, and a remembrance of those people we've lost.

Two commemorative trees were planted Friday in Ketchum's Little Park, on Fifth Street between East Avenue and Walnut Avenue.

One, a Bechtel crabapple, was planted in memory of Janet Shafran, a Ketchum resident active in The Community School and Lee Pesky Learning Center, who died in January.

Another tree, an autumn blaze maple, was planted for Otto Lang, the former director of the Sun Valley Ski School, who also died in January.

The trees were selected to connect with the city's park system, as well as for their compatibility with local conditions.

"We've been master planning this park for a couple of years now," said Jen Smith, city arborist. The plan includes removing shrubs that did not handle snow well and planting more appropriate foliage.

"It's an ongoing challenge, dealing with inappropriate planting," Smith said. "But we're slowly getting on top of it."

The National Arbor Day Foundation named Ketchum a Tree City USA town, an award given yearly.

"Trees are a vital component of the infrastructure in our cities and town, and provide environmental and economic benefits," John Rosenow, president of the Arbor Day Foundation, wrote in a letter. "A community and its citizens that recognize these benefits and provide needed care for its trees deserves recognition and thanks."

Ketchum also was a recipient of the Growth Award, which designates cities that demonstrate progress in education and public relations, tree-worker safety programs, planning, management and other areas above and beyond a Tree City USA.

Later in the day Friday, at Atkinson Park, kids who answered questions about trees got to take a few swings at a piñata, set up to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.

The Mexican holiday on May 5 commemorates the victory of the Mexican militia over the French army at The Battle of Puebla in 1862.

Across the United States, piñatas and Mexican delicacies are common ways to celebrate.

Carlos Hurtado, 7, a student at Hemingway Elementary School in Ketchum, excels at both.

"I help my Mom do the tamales," he said. "My whole class thinks they're so great."

Hurtado later got a hold of a bat and sliced a piñata in two, sending candy everywhere—and children scrambling after it.

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