The Great Bend Tree Board will celebrate National Arbor Day and the 100th anniversary of the World War I Argonne Forest Battle in France with a centennial event Saturday, April 28, on the north side of Veterans Memorial Park. The celebration will start at 3 p.m. when the park’s memorial Argonne Forest will be rededicated, said Tree Board member Lisa Whipple.
Members will be giving away free native trees as well as hot dogs and drinks.
The northern part of Vets Park was originally dedicated to the young men from Barton County and the surrounding area who fought in World War I and, specifically, the Battle of Argonne in Germany on Sept. 26, 1918. The Great Bend Tree Board has been working diligently over the past few years to rebuild the Argonne Forest area of the park by planting additional native trees, creating walking paths and adding signs identifying tree species and an arboretum at the entrance. Soon there will be additional displays explaining some of the historical significance of the area.
“It is our hope to renew and spread the word about the rich heritage we have within our community and to get community members to enjoy the native trees planted within the park and possibly become inspired to plant their own trees,” Whipple said. “A community with healthy, vibrant trees is a much more beautiful and enticing community to work in and visit.”