The City of Aiken is celebrating Arbor Day today, December 1, with the planting of a special tree known as “Baby Marion,” grown from an acorn gathered from the State Champion White Oak known by locals as “Maid Marion,” lost recently in a storm.

“Baby Marion” has been planted in the Marion Street Parkway, between Colleton Avenue and South Boundary Avenue.  This location is directly across from where “Maid Marion” stood for well over 150 years.  The City thanks Kara and Heather Casamassina for their hard work in growing “Baby Marion” from the storied original tree. A ceremony celebrating the new tree will be held in the Spring.

The celebration of Arbor Day is one part of the annual “Tree City USA” application.  As a winner of the Tree City USA designation every year since 1985, Aiken has long treasured its trees.  Aiken’s trees provide many benefits in various forms: shade for cooling and reduced energy consumption, reduction of air pollutants, stormwater runoff reduction, water quality improvements, an increase in property values and aesthetics, and a strong link to the mental and physical health of Aiken residents.

South Carolina celebrates Arbor Day on the first Friday of December each year, at the conclusion of the state’s long growing season.  The Arbor Day Foundation is a million-member nonprofit conservation and education organization with the mission to inspire people to plant, nurture, and celebrate trees.  More information on The Arbor Day Foundation can be found at www.arborday.org.