Garden Club recognizes Florida Arbor Day

submitted by Gweneth Collins

Vivian McDonald chats with Garden Club members about her late husband, Tommy.

Did you know this is the perfect time of year to plant a tree for America?  In celebration of Florida Arbor Day, Chipley Garden Club gathered on Friday, January 20th at Shiver’s Park to recall memories of the late Tommy McDonald.  Shiver’s Park’s original Tommy Ray McDonald Memorial Tree did not survive and was replaced last week by a “Watermelon Red” crepe myrtle donated by Garden Club member Kathy Foster.

A graduate of Chipley High School, Tommy McDonald served as Mayor of Chipley from 1992 until his death in 2005. He was also a former Executive Director of the Washington County Chamber of Commerce, attended FSU and spent 23 years in the US Air Force. He was a dedicated public servant who loved his “hometown”.

After Club president Debbie Mitchell remarked on how remembering the past influences the future, Vivian McDonald recalled her late husband’s love of Shiver’s Park.  She spoke of his efforts to revitalize and develop the park into the community asset it is today.  Vivian is currently an active Garden Club member.

The third Friday in January is recognized annually as Florida Arbor Day.  This is a special day to encourage tree planting and recognize the importance of trees in our world.  A world without trees would be a sad and desolate place – blowing soil, unprotected and gullied farmlands, silt-filled and flood-prone rivers, and sun baked cities.  Trees help fight the greenhouse effect, remove pollution from the air, beautify our world, provide shade, and provide shelter, food and pollen for animals, birds, and insects.

Chipley Garden Club encourages everyone to plant trees – for beauty and for resources.  If you are interested in knowing more about the Garden Club’s projects, please contact Club President Debbie Mitchell at 638-0536.