School kids mark Arbor Day

Mayor Bill Murphy with Hannah Mangione

In honor of Arbor Day, the Saugerties Society of Little Gardens and the newly formed Village Tree Commission – with help from Adams Fairacre Farms – gave Cahill Elementary School a Sunset Maple tree. Mayor Bill Murphy attended the tree-planting ceremony, as did many members of the Society. Children from each grade read arboreal-themed poems. The actual digging and planting was done by employees of the village Department of Public Works.

The sun shone brightly for the event held on the final Friday in April, a national holiday in every state but Nebraska, where Arbor Day in the United States originated in 1872. In Nebraska, Arbor Day is a civic holiday. Some version of a tree-planting and appreciation day is celebrated in most countries around the world, usually in the spring.

Cahill’s new Sunset Maple is about six feet tall. This species is noted for “its beautiful fall foliage color, and when mature, it’s a big beautiful shade tree,” said tree commission member Rosemarie Brackett. The maple tree was planted along Washington Ave., just north of the parking lot entrance between the school and the public library.


When Michael Paesano of Adams Fairacre Farms became aware of the Society’s intention to donate a tree to Cahill, the grocery store and garden center made a substantial donation toward the effort. Terms were not disclosed. However, Adams’ generosity made it possible for the Society of Little Gardens to also donate to the tree commission, which advocates proper management of Saugerties treescape. Due to the necessary recent removal of trees infested with the emerald ash borer from Kiersted House and the village beach, Brackett and other concerned Saugertesians are hoping to raise awareness, and also funds, to renew and improve village tree stock.

Brackett’s husband Stephen assisted with the event, taking photographs and orchestrating the flow of activities.

Here’s the poem read aloud in unison by Cahill’s first graders: it’s called “Brooms,” by Dorothy Aldis.


On stormy days

When the wind is high

Tall trees are brooms

Sweeping the sky


They swish their branches

In buckets of rain

And swash and sweep it

Blue again


Cahill Principal Susan Gies said she was grateful for the donation to beautify the school’s campus.

“I’d been thinking we should do something for Arbor Day, but we’ve just finished two weeks of testing for the third to sixth graders, so it’s been extremely busy,” said Gies. “This was a really nice way to end the week.”

The not-for-profit Saugerties Society of Little Gardens was established in 1924; most of its programs are open to the public. Members present for the Arbor Day ceremony included Diana Buchan, Awilda Jimenez, Mary Lou McSpirit, Patricia Blundell, Kitt Ritz, Antonette Babs, Kathleen Reynolds, and co-presidents Jackie Miller and Susan Campbell.