DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – In the 150th year of celebrating Arbor Day, the City of Durham and Keep Durham Beautiful teamed up to mark the occasion with a volunteer tree planting Saturday morning.

Durham Mayor Elaine O’Neal also issued a proclamation Saturday, designating the entire week of April 2 as Arbor Day.

In the proclamation, O’Neal encouraged the residents of Durham to observe and recognize “the value and benefits which trees provide, and to promote the planting and care of trees within the City of Durham.”

To honor the milestone anniversary, Keep Durham Beautiful joined neighborhood residents from Hayti, Durham’s historic African-American community, along with MetLife volunteers and City of Durham Urban Forestry staff for an Arbor Day proclamation ceremony followed by a volunteer tree planting.

MetLife Foundation provided funding for more than 60 new trees for the historic community. Trees were planted along East Umstead Street and portions of connected streets.

The new trees will be a mix of Yellowwood, Serviceberry, Okame Cherry, and Overcup Oak.

During the Saturday ceremony, Durham City Council Member DeDreana Freeman presented the proclamation on behalf of the Durham City Council.

In part, the proclamation said, “planting and caring for trees is a living testimony of Durham’s commitment to the health and welfare of present and future generations.”

The team behind the plantings and proclamation included:

  • Keep Durham Beautiful
  • Urban Forestry Division with the City of Durham General Services Department
  • Arbor Day Foundation
  • MetLife Foundation