The skies cooperated on Wednesday, June 22, as over 40 Teaneck community members gathered for the annual Arbor Day ceremony in Terhune Park. The event was organized by Teaneck’s Shade Tree Advisory Board, composed for over a decade of local residents dedicated to beautifying the green landscape the town by planting a new tree every year in a designated park area. The planting of the tree has in the past honored a Teaneck public servant whose dedication to Teaneck was exemplary.
This year, a Rosy Teacups Dogwood, a deciduous tree, bred at Rutgers University, was selected at the request of honoree Kevin Arahill. Arahill recently retired as the director of Teaneck’s Department of Public Works, a position he carried out capably for 30 years. Arahill worked with the town during those many years ensuring that the greenery was tended, the trees were nurtured, new trees were added and infected trees were removed when necessary. During his tenure, Teaneck was admitted to Tree City USA, a prestigious national organization that has recognized communities that take special care of their greenery and landscaping for the past 25 years. A sign at the entrance to Teaneck identifies it as a member of Tree City USA.
Arahill selected this particular Dogwood tree as it is known for its profusion of star-like blooms. In summer the tree is a are dark, glossy green and in fall it display shades of red with shades of light to medium pink. These colorful leaves bloom in late May to early June for about three weeks.
At the ceremony, Shade Tree Advisory Committee member Anna Kurz welcomed the honoree, his guests and the assembled community members. Michael Sermabekian, DPW liaison, read the proclamation that had been presented at the town council meeting. The dedication of the Arbor Day tree in honor of Kevin Arahill was made by Dean Kazinci, township manager. Town council liaison Michael Pagan conveyed remarks by Mayor James Dunleavy. In addition, Arahill was presented with a Congressional Certificate of Recognition from the office of Congressman Josh Gottheimer.
Two long-time and hard-working members of the Shade Tree Advisory Committee, Roby Langert and Zina Barrera, described the Rosy Dogwood Tree, Arahill’s favorite.The duo worked long hours to coordinate the program and prepare the stone marker to be placed alongside the tree.
The program concluded with committee members outlining the benefits of trees to their environment. They spoke of trees cleaning out the air and water environment, providing a habitat for wildlife, connecting communities and supporting our health and well-being. Medical research has shown that trees reduce stress within minutes as evidenced by lower blood pressure readings. The net cooling effect of trees is equivalent to 10 room-sized air conditioners operating 20 hours a day. Needless to say, landscaping increases our property values and serves as an asset in attracting new businesses and tourism.
By Pearl Markovitz