Brenden Michaelis, '17, plants a tree on the South Bethlehem Greenway in April of 2015. The project was led by Lehigh’s CLIP club. (Courtesy of Christa Neu)

Bethlehem to plant 100 trees for 100th Anniversary

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City forester Cindy Smith organized an event called 100 Years/100 Trees, which will take place at 8 a.m. April 30 to celebrate both Arbor Day and the 100th anniversary of Bethlehem and Arbor Day. One hundred trees will be planted at nine parks around town.

Christine Roysdon, a Lehigh librarian and member of Bethlehem Backyards for Wildlife, is in charge of facilitating communication between the Lehigh community and the city of Bethlehem for this event.

“It is the first planting event that will gather the whole Bethlehem community — college students, high school students, local organizations and even massive master gardeners,” she said. “City forester Cindy Smith is very excited because we are going to plant bare roots for the first time.”

Three Lehigh clubs — Eco-Reps, Green Action and Community Growers Club — are taking part in this event, and plan to get more organizations involved. Besides Lehigh students, Bethlehem Backyards for Wildlife, Mount Airy Neighborhood and the 275th Anniversary Committee will also participate.

The goal of this event is to have all communities in Bethlehem take part in beautifying the neighborhood and making parks more opulent for people.

“Having parks is very important because parks are communities for people to get out of their houses and children can play in a safer place,” said Larissa Rowe, the president of Green Action.

Larissa thinks this event is significant for Lehigh students as well.

“As a part of Bethlehem community, it is very important for us to take interest in what’s going on in the community and the fact that we are helping out with this event for 100th anniversary of Bethlehem is very meaningful,” she said.

Brenden Michaelis, the president of Community Growers Club, has already taken part in several planting events with his club, but he said he finds this event interesting and unusual.

“The parks we are going to are far enough away from campus and hardly known from Lehigh,” he said. “It’s still a walkable distance but not close to usually walk to. Those are the parks that students wouldn’t see.”

There are some other activities related to this event that will take place soon after. Some pamphlets with information regarding the trees in nearby parks have been written for neighborhoods in both English and Spanish. The Bethlehem Public Library will also purchase books about trees to offer future story hours for children. There will also be an upcoming weekend workshop to develop a community support group for trees. 

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