Flower Hill Village officials gathered at the private residence of the Reale family to issue a proclamation for the oldest tree in Manhasset. The tree has been around for centuries.
“The white oak dates back to being over 400 years old. It is said to have sheltered the Indians from the storms. This information is per Scott Kurkela, NYS ISA-Certified Arborist, who has been employed to look after the health of the tree for over 34 years. We inherited Scott, so to speak, from the previous owner, Gladys Hoart,” said Melissa Reale.
“We are honestly humbled by the village’s gesture of issuing us the honor of a proclamation. Never did we expect anything in return for taking care of ‘her’. We call the white oak, ‘our girl’. We have three young boys and we take care of the tree as if she is an extension of our family. We feel responsible for this living, breathing, 400-year-old piece of life. Not only does the tree represent the simple beauty and vitality of our Gold Coast village, it personally reminds us of our children’s milestones and the great memories we are making in raising our family.”
Arbor Day is celebrated on the last Friday in April, this year on April 27, just a few days after Earth Day. Trees are special, especially to the pioneers moving into the Nebraska Territory back in 1800s. Especially to J. Sterling Morton from Detroit, who went west and found that Nebraska was devoid of trees which were needed as windbreaks to keep soil in place, for fuel and building materials, as well as a nice place to rest from the hot sun.
The first Arbor Day was a tree planting holiday with prizes offered for the most trees planted in Nebraska. The event was set for April 10, 1872 and it was estimated that more than one million trees were planted. It became a legal holiday in 1885.
The Incorporated Village of Flower Hill celebrated Arbor Day by giving away 30 free trees to the residents of the village who requested them.
The Town of North Hempstead has received the designation of Tree City USA.