Friday, December 19, 2014
   
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Ehmen Park part of statewide arboretum

Grants, education & boost to tourism all part of status

Another chapter of Gothenburg tree history was written when Ehmen Park officially became an affiliate of the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum.

A dedication ceremony under a park shelter was Wednesday.

As an arboretum affiliate, brochures, flyers and websites will name the city as a good place to see many varieties of trees, arboretum officials said.

Access to grants, education and attraction of tourists and botanical enthusiasts to town are also part of the package.

State arboretum assistant director of horticulture programs Bob Henrickson described affiliates as places where people see interesting species that can be grown in Nebraska.

Before air conditioning, Henrickson said people planted trees for shade.

“Now you see more people mowing their lawns,” he said. “They tend to forget about the value of trees so we have to keep planting them.”

Henrickson said Gothenburg does “a bang-up job” in planting varied species in Ehmen Park.

Arboretum green infrastructure coordinator Justin Evertson said affiliates are like-minded people who work to make their communities better.

“Trees and landscapes in our part of the world don’t happen by chance,” Evertson said. “We are joining arms to figure out the trees and landscapes for our future.”

With its number and diversity of trees, he said Ehmen Park is one of the best affiliates in the arboretum.

Tree board member and city councilman Jeff Kennedy said the local tree board started in 1987, noting that George Cox played a big part in the diversity of trees in the park.

“He has a great love for trees and got us started planting different species,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy said the Gothenburg Gardenaires spearheaded the drive as an affiliate and will serve as sponsors.

“There will be endless educational opportunities to teach and help spread the word about the importance of trees,” Kennedy said.

Nancy Fisher, Gardenaires curator, said she hopes visitors, youth and garden enthusiasts learn from the trees in the park.

An arboretum affiliate committee will identify, document and create a website and signage for more than 60 different types of trees in Ehmen Park.

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