Evergreen Park Arboretum to be Planted Over Arbor Day Weekend

Posted Wednesday, March 23, 2022.

HUNTINGTON – Arbor Day, celebrated this year on April 29, aptly marks the next big step for an arboretum being developed at Evergreen Park.

Planting of the arboretum’s 80 trees is set to take place that weekend from April 28-30. Thirty different species, most of them native to Indiana, will initially be planted on those dates. The city intends to apply at a later date for accredited arboretum status, and one of the requirements is that at least 25 different species of woody plants be planted in the area.

Indiana has just seven accredited arboretums, with the closest to Huntington located in Muncie, Richmond and Valparaiso. Huntington’s arboretum will be recognizable as soon as visitors pull into Evergreen Park.

“To make this addition to the City of Huntington is amazing,” Huntington Parks & Recreation Superintendent Steven Yoder said. “We are adding something that is very unique to the area and is something everyone can come enjoy at no cost. We are hoping that local schools take advantage of the educational aspect this will provide and residents enjoy watching it grow throughout the years to come, not to mention learning about the environment and ways to enhance and protect it along the way.”

Community members are invited to join in the final day of tree planting on Saturday, April 30, from 9 a.m. to noon. Anyone interested in volunteering should complete an event registration form that can be found at https://forms.gle/hNXSwGxSnjWpPYyRA. No tree-planting experience is necessary and instruction will be provided as part of the event. Those who register as a volunteer by April 12 will receive a free T-shirt.

The city’s future plans also call for walkable trails throughout the arboretum, an outdoor event space that can host weddings and other gatherings, and educational signage that will identify the tree species and provide other facts about them.

Over the past months, the Huntington Parks & Recreation Department has been busy preparing the site by delivering topsoil, leveling the ground and removing old light fixtures at two softball fields that are no longer in use.

“A designated arboretum in Huntington would be unique to Northeast Indiana. It will repurpose an underutilized space to create a place for the community to enjoy and learn about our native trees,” Kathryn Lisinicchia, a volunteer member of the Mayor’s Advisory Council on Environmental Stewardship (MACES), said this past fall.

After Superintendent Yoder brought the initial idea of an arboretum to the group, MACES has been at the forefront in creating plans for its development. Task force members helped design a layout and aesthetic that will promote the trees’ sustained health and growth, while also overseeing a Community & Urban Forestry Assistance sub grant application. The project received a $12,880 award in October as part of a larger U.S. Forest Service grant awarded to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry that is providing $240,000 for 14 projects across the state.

Evergreen Park is located at 1370 Evergreen Road in Huntington.

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