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Florida Arbor Day celebrations in Niceville

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In celebration of Florida’s Arbor Day, free trees will be given away Friday, January 17 in Niceville and Saturday, January 25 in Defuniak Springs. The Niceville event is sponsored by the Florida Forest Service, the Niceville Senior Center, and the Kiwanis Club of Niceville-Valparaiso. The Niceville event begins at 9 a.m. at the Senior Center.

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NICEVILLE, Fla — In celebration of Florida’s Arbor Day, free trees will be given away Friday, January 17 in Niceville and Saturday, January 25 in Defuniak Springs.

The events are sponsored by the Florida Forest Service, the Niceville Senior Center, the Kiwanis Club of Niceville-Valparaiso, the City of Defuniak Springs and the Chautauqua Assembly.

The Niceville event (January 17) will begin at 9 a.m. at the Niceville Senior Center located across from the Niceville Recreation Complex at 201 Campbell Drive. At the Niceville event, 40 trees in one-gallon containers will be given away on a first-come, first-served basis with only one tree per person.

Tree species will include Shumard Oak, Dahoon Holly and Mayhaw.

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A University of Florida Extension Agent will conduct a tree planting demonstration and UF/IFAS Master Gardener Volunteers will be available to answer questions about planting and growing trees in North Florida.

The Defuniak Springs event (January 25) will be part of the larger Chautauqua Assembly and will begin at 8 a.m. at Lake Defuniak. At the Defuniak event, 400 trees in one-gallon containers will be given away.

Tree species will include Red Maple, Crabapple, Chickasaw Plum and Mayhaw.

Arbor Day was originally founded in Nebraska on April 10, 1872, as a tree-planting day. Every state recognizes Arbor Day but because of differences in climate, each state selects its own date to fit the best planting time for trees.

Florida’s Arbor Day is the third Friday in January. The first Arbor Day celebration in Florida was held in 1886 in Defuniak Springs. National Arbor Day is the fourth Friday in April. Florida foresters and other tree experts take advantage of January being a cooler time of the year. Planting trees while temperatures are cooler allows young trees to become better established before hot spring weather arrives.

Visit https://www.arborday.org/celebrate/dates.cfm to learn more about Arbor Day.

For more information about the Niceville and Defuniak Springs Arbor Day Celebrations, contact the Florida Forestry Service in Okaloosa County at (850) 603-6662 or the UF/IFAS Extension Office in Okaloosa County at (850) 689-5850

Larry Williams is the Extension horticulture agent with the Okaloosa County Cooperative Extension Service, University of Florida. Contact Larry at 689-5850 or email lwilliams@myokaloosa.com.

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