Small tree in a person's hand
Philomath’s Arbor Day celebration with Philomath and Kings Valley kids will return April 29. (Photo by Getty Images)

An email came in this morning from Garry Black, who works as the operations supervisor for Philomath Public Works. You could tell the man was thrilled to share a decision about the return of a certain event this spring.

“We here at Public Works are so excited to announce that our annual Arbor Day Celebration with the kiddos from PES and Kings Valley Charter is back,” Black wrote.

I’ve covered this Arbor Day-related event just about every year since it was established. In the past, it has involved Philomath Elementary third graders and Kings Valley Charter School kindergartners coming together in the Public Works yard’s gated compound area.

Arbor Day this year will be April 29 and the event will begin at 8:25 a.m.

“We will be talking about the importance of Arbor Day, explaining why trees mean so much to all of us and then the kids will get their own tree to take home for their yard,” Black said. “We will also have some other cool activities going on.”

If my math is correct, this should be Philomath’s 28th consecutive year with the Tree City USA designation from the Arbor Day Foundation.

This celebration hasn’t taken place since 2019. It was simply canceled in 2020 during the first weeks of the pandemic and in 2021, the city planted some trees in the 2800 block of Applegate Street.

This event is near and dear to my heart because of my Nebraska roots. This tree-planting holiday was established in Nebraska — dating back to 1872 — so it’s a big deal in that state. As a child growing up there, it usually involved a special event that was fun, of course, but also got us outside and away from our desks for a stretch.

With these darn pandemic-related restrictions hopefully going away for good, it will be a welcomed event for the city, schools, children and yeah, me, too.

(Brad Fuqua is publisher/editor of the Philomath News. He can be reached at

Brad Fuqua, Philomath News

Brad Fuqua has covered the Philomath area since 2014 as the editor of the now-closed Philomath Express and currently as publisher/editor of the Philomath News. He has worked as a professional journalist since 1988 at daily and weekly newspapers in Nebraska, Kansas, North Dakota, Arizona, Montana and Oregon.