Smokey Bear welcomed 20 Faulkner County and 49 Master Gardeners from 17 other counties in Arkansas who attended the Healthy Trees, Healthy Lives Advanced Training held on March 26 and 27.

This year Smokey is 75 years old and his appearance occasioned a lovely birthday cake and Happy Birthday serenade.

The Faulkner County Master Gardeners partnered with Krista Quinn, Urban Forestry Program Coordinator for the Arkansas Forestry Commission to host the training which covered:

how to properly care for trees from planting to pruning
how to choose the right tree for the site
how to protect trees during construction
how to identify hazardous trees

Most importantly they learned the many benefits received from trees including:

improving the health of residents
reducing flooding in the urban and larger environment
encouraging economic development
reducing crime

Communities are healthier in many ways when they have an abundance of well cared-for trees. A highlight of the training was a tour of the Hendrix Gree Preserve, led by landscape Architect, Martin Smith, who designed the restoration. Those attending enjoyed the trails and boardwalks winding through the Preserve. Native plants provided a tranquil place for public recreation. The wetlands in the watershed promote habitat for aquatic life.

As a part of the seminar, each county was offered a 3–5 gallon containerized native tree provided by the Arkansas Forestry Commission to plant in their county. The tree planted in the respective counties will be in a new or established project. The Faulkner County tree will be a part of the new landscape for the Extension Office building and will be recognized onsite.