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Garfield Park hosts heartwarming Arbor Day celebration: Sing for the Trees

Garfield Park hosts heartwarming Arbor Day celebration: Sing for the Trees

By Andrew Angle

In true Southside spirit, Indianapolis residents braved the cold and damp weather last Friday, April 28, to gather at Garfield Park for an Arbor Day celebration that warmed hearts and lifted spirits. Hosted by the Indiana Forest Alliance (IFA) and Song Squad Indianapolis, Sing for the Trees garnered local media attention, including coverage in newspapers, radio, TV, social media and online event calendars.

Rae Schnapp, Conservation Director, Indiana Forest Alliance explains importance of native Indiana trees
Dr. Rae Schnapp, IFA director of Conservation, gives a Southside resident his Swamp White Oak sapling at Garfield Park on Arbor Day.

The celebration began with an oak tree seedling giveaway, but unfortunately, after a few hundred trees were given to Southsiders, the next large shipments of trees did not arrive as planned, causing supplies to run out before the event concluded. Despite this setback, the Southside community’s enthusiasm remained unshaken, as attendees eagerly took part in the festivities and looked forward to contributing to the city’s green spaces.

Pam Blevins Hinkle, co-founder of Song Squad Indianapolis, led the musical highlight of the event. Teaching her original composition, “Reciprocity,” in a call-and-response style, the performance was a heartwarming and unifying experience for participants of all ages and backgrounds. Together, they raised their voices in harmony, celebrating the vital role trees play in our lives and environment.

The Arbor Day event not only drew people together but also inspired several attendees to join the IFA in their mission to protect and restore Indiana’s native forests. As a first-time event for the organization, the positive response has fueled their ambition to host an even grander celebration next year.

Lori Perdue, the event coordinator, expressed her enthusiasm for the event’s success: “The pressures on our environment are intensifying, and in response, we must strengthen our awareness, deepen our connections to urban forests and foster unity among one another. The success of this event reaffirms our dedication at IFA to preserve and protect the wild, wooded and green spaces of Indianapolis.”

Since 1996, the Indiana Forest Alliance has championed the health and well-being of Indiana’s native forests. The nonprofit serves a diverse range of citizens, organizations, landowners and communities, ensuring that accurate information reaches the people of Indiana and providing opportunities for input into decision-making processes that impact forests.

2023 Indianapolis Arbor Day with Indiana Forest Alliance and Song Squad Indy
Local residents gathered at Garfield Park for the Arbor Day Celebration: Sing for the Trees. (Submitted photo)

Our Southside urban forests are crucial to the Indianapolis community. Trees purify the air, reduce energy costs, provide habitats for wildlife and promote mental and physical well-being. By offering free tree seedlings and engaging the community in a shared musical experience, the IFA and the Sing for the Trees event highlighted the importance of preserving and expanding our urban forests.

Looking to the future, the Indiana Forest Alliance plans to build on this year’s event success and continue their vital work of protecting and restoring Indiana’s forests. Get involved with the Indiana Forest Alliance and support their mission today: https://IndianaForestAlliance.org/sst

As we reminisce on the Arbor Day Celebration: Sing for the Trees event, let us remember Pam Blevins Hinkle’s lyrics from “Reciprocity”: “rooted in the moment and reaching for each other and the dream.” As a community, we have the power to protect our urban forests and create a greener, healthier and more sustainable future for all of Indianapolis.

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