Trees were front and center Friday as the city of Morristown celebrated Arbor Day at Fulton-Hill Park.

Highlights included the city being honored as a Tree City for the 19th year in a row, Morristown Utilities being recognized for 2021 Treeline USA and the family of Dr. Judson S. Hill, founder of Morristown College, being present for the ceremony and trees dedicated in honor of their family.

Morristown Mayor Gary Chesney issued a proclamation in honor of Arbor Day.

With the sun shining down on Morristown’s newest park, Chesney said it was the best place to hold an Arbor Day celebration.

“We usually have it in school yards,” he said. “But, this is the appropriate place.”

He also thanked the Hill family for coming to Morristown as the city planted legacy trees in their honor.

“We certainly appreciate your family, certainly your history, but you’re staying connected to the community,” Chesney said. “It’s so much of the heritage of Morristown and it means a lot to us.”

Diane Warwick, of the Tennessee Division of Forestry presented the city with the Tree City designation and Growth Award. She also recognized Morristown Utilities for its Treeline USA designation, which shows commitment to proper tree pruning, planting and care in their service area.

It was the 18th year that Morristown Utilities earned the designation.

“We participate in the Tree Line USA program because it helps make our community a better place to live and work,” Clark Rucker, Morristown assistant general manager, said. “The program guidelines help us maintain strong healthy trees in the community and lower environmental temperatures through shading. It also helps us maintain higher levels of service reliability because stronger trees mean fewer outages.”

Arbor Day is an annual observance that celebrates the role of trees and promotes tree planting and care.

It was first observed in 1872 in Nebraska. Since then, Arbor Day celebrations have spread across America and around the world.

Morristown held its first Arbor Day celebration on April 4, 2002, and hosted the TN State Arbor Day on March 7, 2008.