CAMDEN, Maine — Camden’s annual Arbor Day program will take place at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Bok Amphitheater, located on Atlantic Avenue adjacent to the Camden Library and opposite the harbor and Harbor Park.
This is the community’s 18th Arbor Day observance since the tradition was revived in 1995. Following a brief ceremony and reading of the Camden’s Arbor Day proclamation by Town Manager Pat Finnegan, the program will celebrate Camden’s historic Library Parks and “significant” trees.
Dave Jackson, director of Camden Library Parks, will speak about the history of the Bok Amphitheater and Harbor Park which face each other across Atlantic Avenue and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Summer resident Mary Curtis Bok donated the properties, financed their construction and chose noted landscape architect Fletcher Steele to design the terraced Amphitheater and the Olmstead Brothers firm to design Harbor Park.
Both parks were constructed between 1928 and 1931 with local labor and planted with native trees transported from the surrounding countryside by horses and carts.
Douglas N. Johnson, longtime member of the Camden Conservation Commission and senior arborist with Treekeepers LLC, the firm that cares for the Library Parks’ trees, will lead a guided walk to point out the park’s notable trees. They include a special hemlock that came from the Arnold Arboretum, four beautiful Camperdown elms marking the Amphitheater entrance, Crusgalli hawthorns sheltering the Children’s Garden, and the large Cornus mas on the bank in Harbor Park. He will describe his firm’s efforts to heal the Amphitheater’s American elm after it was vandalized.
Camden has a number of “significant trees,” notable due to their history, species, size or placement in the landscape. Johnson’s walk will include an American chestnut on Chestnut Street and the American elm behind the Episcopal Church.
He also will demonstrate how trees are measured and rated for Maine’s Champion Tree Program, sponsored by the state’s Project Canopy program and by the national nonprofit American Forests.
Maine’s official Arbor Week, the third full week in May, coincides with the state’s tree planting season. The Arbor Day program is organized by Nancy Caudle-Johnson, Camden’s Arbor Day and Tree City USA Coordinator, and the Camden Conservation Commission which serves as Camden’s Tree Board.
For the 17th consecutive year, Camden has been named a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation, one of eighteen in Maine. During Arbor Week, the Tree City USA flag will fly over Camden’s town office. For more information, contact Camden’s Tree City USA and Arbor Day coordinator Nancy Caudle-Johnson at 236-6855.