For nine years, the Dawson County Tree Preservation Society, along with Keep Dawson County Beautiful, has planted a tree on Arbor Day to commemorate the county's dedication to preserving green space.
The Dawson County Commissioners formally proclaimed Feb. 21 as Arbor Day in Dawson County.
The first Arbor Day was celebrated in Nebraska in 1872. Individual cities and counties across the United States have continued the tradition annually.
"We are thrilled to be a part of this. We've been doing this for a couple of years and it's always a fantastic event," said Keep Dawson County Beautiful President Karen Armstrong. "A lot of people think of us as just recycling, but we are also conservation and beautification."
The Preservation Society also uses the ceremony to award Dawson County's Tree Preservationist of the Year.
A tradition since 2006, the award commemorates businesses, groups or individuals who have made concerted efforts to protect and preserve trees when commercial or residential development occurs.
"This is the ninth year we have celebrated Arbor Day," said David Hinderliter, the society's president. "Eight years ago, we started a program to celebrate people who have come in to the county, developed land, and preserved the trees. And that's what we're interested in - preserving the trees."
This year's award went to Farmington Woods, an apartment complex that recently finished construction of its 15 acre, 72-unit complex off of Perimeter Road in Dawsonville.
"We're delighted to present this award to Farmington Woods," Hinderliter said. "We think they have done a wonderful job, coming in and preserving and planting trees. It's a beautiful site and they have done a wonderful job."
Along with the award, a tree is also planted in honor of the recipient. This year, an eastern weeping redbud tree was donated by Kinsey Family Farms.
"We didn't know much about Dawsonville or Dawson County before we decided to build here. I can't tell you how welcome we have felt everywhere we go," said Brad Smith, senior vice president of TBG Residential, the company that owns Farmington Woods. "What you guys have here is something to be proud of and we promise to be a good steward of the community here."
Keep Dawson County Beautiful supplies the memorial marker stones set at the base of trees planted each year.