Sitka Spruce Tips 4H Club to celebrate Arbor Day on May 20 with tree planting at Swan Lake

Arbor Day Flyer

Friday, May 20, is the 50th anniversary of Arbor Day in Alaska, and the Sitka Spruce Tips 4H Club will celebrate by planting a few trees from 3-5 p.m. at the Swan Lake recreation area (near the corner of Lake Street and DeGroff).

We will be planting maples, but giving away fruit trees for people to plant at home, said Molly Johnson, who helps coordinate the Sitka Spruce Tips 4H Club for the Sitka Conservation Society, in partnership with the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service Sitka District Office.

“4H is excited to host a celebration in honor of Alaska Arbor Day to celebrate how important trees are in our lives,” Molly said. “We see the significance of trees in the clean air and great habitat they provide whenever we explore the Tongass (National Forest). This will be a fun event to honor that significance closer in town. It is a great opportunity to come together as a community and celebrate trees!”

This event is co-sponsored by the Alaska Community Forestry Council, the USDA Forest Service, and the Alaska Division of Forestry. Because of its commitment to trees in town, the City and Borough of Sitka has been recognized as one of the Tree City USA award-winners from the Arbor Day Foundation.

• Alaska Division of Forestry Community Forestry Program to host tree care and planting classes in Sitka

A cluster of Parkland apples (photo from the Alaska Pioneer Fruit Growers Association gallery,

A cluster of Parkland apples (photo from the Alaska Pioneer Fruit Growers Association gallery,

The Alaska Division of Forestry Community Forestry Program, in partnership with Sitka Tree and Landscape Committee, is coordinating three classes on tree health care and planting in Sitka. The classes are open to the public at no charge. Sign-up beforehand is not required. The schedule is as follows:

  • Diagnosing Tree Health Problems
    Monday, June 3, 6:00 – 8:30 pm
    Bob Gorman, UAF Cooperative Extension Service Sitka Office
    Natural Resources & Community Development Faculty
    Learn to observe signs and symptoms and to gather information about the biological, environmental, and cultural factors that affect a tree’s health.
  • Tree Selection, Planting, & Care
    Tuesday, June 4, 6:00 – 8:30 pm
    Patricia Joyner, Alaska Division of Forestry
    Community Forestry Program Manager and certified arborist
    Learn to select the right site, choose a high quality tree, and plant and maintain it.
  • Plant a Tree
    Wednesday, June 5, 6:00 – 8:00 pm
    Patricia Joyner
    Help plant trees in a city park. Apply what you learned in Wednesday’s class in the real world.

The classes will be held at Harrigan Centennial Hall on Monday and Tuesday and will meet at Centennial Hall on Wednesday before going to Sealing Cove for a tree planting. For information, contact the Division of Forestry at, 907-269-8465, or Lynne Brandon, Sitka Parks and Recreation, at 747-1852.

• Alaska Division of Forestry hosts tree planting, pruning class Aug. 24

Sitka residents are invited to learn how to select the right tree for the right place — and how to plant, maintain and prune it — at an all-day class on Monday, Aug. 24, at Harrigan Centennial Hall.

The class is taught by urban forester and arborist Jim Flott. He has 25 years of experience in urban forestry and the nursery and landscape industry to offer to participants. He teaches tree workshops nationwide.

Chief among the topics the class will cover is how trees function as complex systems and how to use this information when selecting, siting, planting, pruning and maintaining landscape trees. A classroom presentation will be followed by a demonstration in the field and hands-on experience in pruning and planting.

The class is sponsored by the Alaska Division of Forestry Community Forestry Program and the Alaska Community Forest Council, with financial support from the U.S. Forest Service.

For more information, go to the Alaska Division of Forestry Web site at, or the Kettleson Memorial Library, or contact Lisa Moore in Sitka at 747-5534 or The registration fee is $35.