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Helena Civic Center trees replaced in Arbor Day celebration
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Helena Civic Center trees replaced in Arbor Day celebration

Helena Mayor Wilmot Collins assists some children with the planting

Helena Mayor Wilmot Collins assists children with the planting of one of two blue spruces outside the Helena Civic Center during an Arbor Day 2021 ceremony.

The planting of a tree is an investment in the future.

Who better to help the city of Helena plant two new spruce trees in the Helena Civic Center's front lawn than the next generation?

Dozens of children from Little Fox Learning Center and Bloom Montessori School celebrated Arbor Day on Friday morning by participating in the ceremony intended to commemorate Arbor Day and the civic center's centennial.

Helena Mayor Wilmot Collins was on hand to assist the children, who took turns shoveling dirt onto the base of the newly planted trees, replacing the nearly 100-year-old spruce trees that were removed after one of them was toppled by record-setting winds in January.

Chris Daly, the International Society of Arboriculture-certified head of Helena's urban forestry department, said many people have reached out to the city offering to help in its effort to replace the historic trees.

"We urge you to continue to support urban forestry, the Arbor Day Foundation and Growing Friends of Helena," Daly said.

Growing Friends of Helena President Robert Throssell thanked the city for "recognizing the importance of planting trees."

"There are two good days to plant trees -- today and 20 years ago," Throssell quipped.

Members of the Helena Symphony Orchestra

Members of the Helena Symphony Orchestra conducted by Allan R. Scott play outside the Helena Civic Center for 2021's Arbor Day ceremony.

Members of the Helena Symphony Orchestra serenaded the crowd of about 60 with some patriotic compositions. The symphony's Musical Director Allan R. Scott cleverly included the John Williams-composed "Hymn of the Fallen" in the set list.

St. Peter's Health Hospice Director Katie Barbee said she was "heartbroken" to learn of the loss of the iconic "Light a Life" tree due to the wind storm. Almost every year during the holiday season, the community gathered around the tree for the "Light a Life" fundraiser benefiting St. Peter's Hospice. 

"For many years years it stood as a symbol of the loved ones we lost," Barbee said. "We are thankful for the beacon of hope the tree has been to so many."


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Local Government and Crime Reporter

Nolan Lister is a reporter at the Helena Independent Record with an emphasis on local government and crime.

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