Region 8 residents get jump start on Arbor Day, help local community

MARMADUKE, AR (KAIT) - Some Region 8 Residents got a jump start on Arbor Day Saturday to help a community that's been in the path of Mother Nature more than once.

Marmaduke has seen it's fair share of natural disasters.

"Damage that we suffered after two tornados and an ice storm," Mayor Steve Dixon said, has prompted a change in the community.

After so much devastation, Saturday's event was a welcome site for residents. People were on hand at City Park to help restore the tree canopy that was lost due to tornado damage.

"It's gonna make our park look a whole lot better," Dixon said.

Thanks to a grant awarded by the Arkansas ReLeaf program, Marmaduke was able to replace 29 damaged trees not only in the park, but around town as well. Free trees were given out to residents of Marmaduke who were affected by the tornado.

Valley View EAST High School student, Ike Heinemann was contacted by the Arkansas Forestry Commission and helped set today's event in motion.

"My role was to create a map to see which trees are healthy, which ones we were able to save," Ike told Region 8 News.

He also located the trees that were too damaged to be saved. By taking soil and other samples, Ike was able to determine the best place to plant the new trees. Ike has been working on this project since December and said it's a great feeling for the event to finally take place.

"You always have tough times, but once you see a project like this come to fruition, it's just an amazing feeling," he said.

Mayor Dixon agrees. He said that without some outside help, Marmaduke's Arbor Day wouldn't have been able to take place.

"For a community our size and the budget we have to work with we would have never been able to do this just for beautification purposes," he said. "And we're just very grateful."

Arkansas' official Arbor Day will be held on Monday March 19. National Arbor Day is held on the last Friday in April. This year, that day falls on April 27.

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