Oregon will dedicate the planting of several trees to the late Betty Carstensen, a long time Oregon school board member, during its 16th annual Arbor Day Program, which will be held Friday, April 30, at 11 a.m. at the new Coy School off Pickle Road.
The public is invited to attend the event.
Several ornamental trees are being planted to surround the Living Memorial European Purple Beech tree, a joint project planted by the city and the Oregon City Schools District last November in honor of Mrs. Carstensen.
Oregon Mayor Mike Seferian has proclaimed the event the “Betty Carstensen Memorial Arbor Day.”
Carstensen was 85-years-old and finishing her fourth term on the board when she died last Sept. 5 following a stroke. She had served on the board since 1993 and had planned on running for a fifth term in November. She was a strong proponent of literacy education and spent many hours volunteering her time reading to elementary students.
In addition to the countless hours she devoted to education over the years, she was fondly known by many as the “Tree Lady.” She was a leading proponent of tree planting and tree education while serving the Jerusalem and Oregon communities for over 50 years. She personally distributed thousands of tree seedlings along with planting instructions to Oregon-Jerusalem first graders for over 40 years.
“She usually liked the white pine seedlings,” said Don Charlton, chairperson of the Oregon Tree Commission, which is sponsoring the event. “She probably met with up to three hundred students per year to pass out these seedlings. So thousands of these seedlings have been planted, and they’re still growing in Oregon. We’ve not been able to replace Betty in that regard.”
Carstensen, who never missed an Oregon Arbor Day event, was an ardent supporter of Oregon becoming an official Tree City in 1994. The city received this year’s Annual Tree City Award this month through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
Carstensen was also a long time trustee of the USDA Lucas County Soil Conservation Service resulting in the planting of thousands of trees.
Charlton said the European Purple Beech tree was planted last year in Carstensen’s honor because the tree is very distinctive.
“It’s planted in the middle of the large traffic circle fronting the building. It has the potential to get very large, has plenty of room to grow. It isn’t particularly rare, but it’s a beautiful tree that is purple in color. People will be able to associate Betty with it because it’s strong and stately, just like Betty was. The commission felt the tree landscaping would be more complete by adding more trees,” he said.
The ornamental trees that will be planted include eight white snow crab apple trees. There will also be five Columnar oak trees planted as a backdrop, said Charlton.
“The Columnar oak trees are medium in height, cylindrical and narrow in diameter,” he said. “When you look at them from Pickle Road, you will see the ornamentals and Betty’s Purple Beech tree. Then behind that there will be this row of five Columnar Oaks, which will stick up above the ornamental trees. A landscape designer made the recommendation because it would add class to the landscape.”
The trees, he added, are not only beautiful, but low maintenance as well.
Coy students will be attending the event, as will local officials, such as the mayor, who will say a few things about Carstensen, said Charlton.
“We think it’s going to be a very nice event and a fitting thing for a grand lady,” he said.