Pam Ray, Education Specialist at KAB, Talks Arbor Day

By: Nalee Vang, Communications Intern

“Arbor Day is just a reminder for them to plant a tree, to help the environment”

Arbor Day is a nationally celebrated observance day that encourages tree planting and care. Founded by J. Sterling Morton in 1872, it is celebrated every year on the last Friday in April. Here at Keep Akron Beautiful, we have been celebrating Arbor Day for over 20 years.

Pam Ray, the woman behind it all, is our Education Specialist at KAB. Known as “The Tree Lady” by students, Pam has given seedlings to every public, charter and private school fourth grader in the City of Akron for 26 years. Students not only receive complimentary seed packets but also pencils made from denim and recycled currency for answering questions in a format Jeopardy game. “The most important thing about Arbor Day that we, at KAB, would like for students to know is that trees are very important to their lives,” Pam said. “Without them, they would not be able to live and breathe, and Arbor Day is just a reminder for them to plant a tree, to help the environment.” Year after year, fourth graders have proven that they are not too young to learn about this very important day. “We chose fourth graders because we felt they are mature enough to fully understand the importance of trees and their duties; they reduce air pollution, conserve energy and also add beauty and color to the world,” Pam said.

Although an event as big as this one can be exciting and fun, it is also a detailed process that requires hard work and a lot of organization in order for it to occur. First, all schools, administrators, principals and teachers must be contacted via email, letters and phone calls. Next, we have to go over all details about our program and schedule presentations to go into the schools. Then, we must order the trees (seedlings) and contact seniors and volunteers to help pack and deliver them to the schools.

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Harris Elementary, 2014’s Arbor Day Slogan Contest Winner


Now, that’s a lot of work, but it doesn’t stop there! We also have an Arbor Day Slogan Contest, in which we choose a statement about trees, and have students write a slogan in 10 words or less. Then, five judges will choose the three best slogans to win a tree donated by local landscapers. We help plant the trees on Arbor Day and the Mayor is always present to help the first place winner. “The success of the program is organization and caring people who not only love Akron, but also love the people of Akron, especially our youth,” Pam said.

Since we have been celebrating Arbor Day for such a long time, there have been quite a few changes to the program. “We have come a long way since 1989 when I first started,” Pam said. From PowerPoint presentations to viewing slides from a Smart Board digital screen, technology has also played a huge part in the success of it all. Teachers are given an evaluation after each presentation which allows them to give us feedback, suggestions and any new ideas they may have. At the end of each season, an overview is done to correct any mistakes and review, or add ideas that may work for the program in the future.


Hope Academy University


“I love students; they know if you’re a real believer of what you’re speaking about” Pam said. “I love their reaction to slides they viewed and places they have visited.” Arbor Day gives students a chance to learn all about trees so that the next time they see that tree, they can remember and know what they learned with “The Tree Lady”.

How about you? Do you remember Pam’s presentation about Arbor Day when you were a fourth grader? Share your story with us!

Arbor Day Seedlings Are Packed and ready for delivery AND Arbor Day Planting Ceremonies

By Jacqui Flaherty & Pam Ray

Pictured here is the Our Lady of the Elms senior class who packaged all of our seedlings this year.

Keep Akron Beautiful would like to extend a huge thank you to our volunteers from Our Lady of the Elms Senior Class who came and packed tree seedlings for all of our fourth grade students in Akron. Seedlings will be delivered to all the fourth grade students by our loyal volunteers. Friday April 26, 2013 is nationally recognized as Arbor Day, a day dedicated annually to planting trees in The United States and many other countries.

Keep Akron Beautiful spreads the word on the importance of trees to all fourth grade students in public, private and charter schools in Akron throughout the springtime. Then, on Arbor Day each year, the students are given a dogwood tree seedling to plant in their own yard.

In addition to the seedling giveaway, Keep Akron Beautiful hosts an Arbor Day slogan contest in which winners were chosen last week. The winners will be honored with a tree planting at their school. Here is our schedule of events for Friday morning/afternoon:

  • R.B. Stout will be installing a donated tree at 10:00 a.m. on the campus of Betty Jane CLC located at 444 Darrow Road, Akron, Ohio 44305, under the watchful eye of Principal Kim Summers. Ward 6 Councilman Bob Hoch will be in attendance.
  • On Friday, April 26 at 1:00 p.m. Mayor Don Plusquellic will be presenting a Proclamation and award certificate to Principal, David Brown at the school tree planting ceremony on the Bettes School campus. Suncrest Gardens will be donating the tree for this planting.
  • Windemere CLC and Principal Marla Knabel are working with Vizmeg Landscaping to select the appropriate tree to plant on their school grounds for the 1:45 p.m. tree planting. Ward 6, Bob Hoch has also been invited to this tree planting.

Take a look at the preparation that went into getting the seedlings ready for delivery…