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Tree city designation benefits city, residents
Old Hinesville
Food Lion Oak
This majestic tree stands along South Main Street near the Food Lion. - photo by Photo provided.
Here in Hinesville, we may be lacking the grand old homes with wide sweeping porches dating back to the 1800s. However, I have become increasingly aware we do have an abundance of living things dating back to that time period.
Our grand old oak trees  stand as sentinels, having weathered storms, ice and cold. Many of them have been here since around 1837, when the city of Hinesville was founded. The trees grow in the strangest places amid local businesses and streets. The fact that they’re still standing is likely due to the influence of Liberty County residents who recognize them for the treasures they are. Many people have worked hard to keep our trees safe from developers and construction companies.
I have been devoted to trees since I was a child.  When we lived in Quitman in the early 1950s, there were two giant oak trees — one on either side of the driveway in back of the parsonage.  We learned the trees had been planted by the Rev. John M. Hendry, my great-frandfather, when he was pastor of the church in the 1860s. We loved those trees, enjoyed their shade and the acorns they dropped onto the lawn.  
When plans were made to construct a new educational building behind the parsonage, the trees had to come down. We were devastated, but there was no other way.  Both trees were cut, and one was completely obliterated — stump and all. The other stump remained and it was broad enough to climb on and play. It made a marvelous place to host tea parties and practice jumping.
In 2006, Hinesville was designated as a Tree City USA Community by the National Arbor Day Foundation. In order to earn the designation, a city has to meet four criteria:
• Appoint a tree commission
• Adopt a tree ordinance
• Submit a tree-care budget
• Establish an Arbor Day celebration
Research has shown a Tree City designation benefits a community by encouraging residents to be more environmentally responsible. It also indicates to prospective businesses that a community’s appearance is important and well cared for.
This year’s Arbor Day celebration is at 11 a.m. Friday, Feb. 20, in Main Street Park.    
The ceremony is sponsored by the Morning Glory Garden Club. Each year, the club plants a tree in memory or in honor of someone the club chooses to recognize. All city and county elected officials and the public are invited. 
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