Independence Power and Light and the city’s Parks and Recreation Department will celebrate two awards during the annual Arbor Day Ceremony at 9 a.m. Saturday as part of the Flower & Garden Show in the parking lot of the Pharaoh Theatre, located at the corner of Maple Avenue and Main Street.

Independence Power and Light and the city’s Parks and Recreation Department will celebrate two awards during the annual Arbor Day Ceremony at 9 a.m. Saturday as part of the Flower & Garden Show in the parking lot of the Pharaoh Theatre, located at the corner of Maple Avenue and Main Street.

The Independence Tree Commission will present the Tree City USA award to the Parks and Recreation Department and the Tree Line USA award to IPL.

The National Arbor Day Foundation and the National Association of State Foresters and USDA Forest Service, sponsors both awards and recognizes communities that have proven their commitment to an effective, ongoing community forestry program.

The National Arbor Day Foundation, a nonprofit environmental and education organization with nearly one million members, is on a continuous mission to inspire people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees. This is the 10th year for the Tree Line USA award and the ninth for the Tree City USA award.

“Trees are amazing because they give shade, oxygen, stop dust, decrease noise and give us a better quality life,” Joe Knoll, Independence Parks and Recreation Park and Ground maintenance supervisor, said in a statement. “For those reasons, taking care of trees is our privilege.”

The Tree Line USA program recognizes utilities that meet three requirements: a program of quality tree care, annual worker training in quality tree care practices and a tree planting and public education program. 

Tree Line USA includes both investor-owned and public utilities. These utilities have demonstrated commitment to public education, tree planting and quality tree care.

IPL will be recognized for the 10th consecutive year noted Jim Martin, IPL Forestry Superintendent.

“Our tree care program is twofold; we work at enhancing reliable electric service through professional tree pruning and also provide residents with educational information on tree pruning and tree planting practices,” Martin said.

IPL spends about $1.75 million annually on its program to remove and replace trees that may be growing too close to power lines, and offering information and assistance on tree planting. Information on these programs is available at www.independencemo.org/pl or by calling IPL at 325-7557.

Also as part of the Arbor Day celebration the Parks and Recreation Department will hand out free tree seedlings while supplies last. In addition, they will conduct a drawing for five 5-gallon container trees. In addition, IPL is providing six Red Sunset Maple trees for a drawing to be held at the event. The Arbor Day celebration is co-sponsored by the Parks & Recreation Department and the Tree Commission.