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Earth Day 2021: City celebrates with tree planting, butterfly release

Published on April 23, 2021

Man releases butterfly in downtown Huntsville

The Rocket City celebrated Earth Day on April 22, 2021, with a variety of activities to promote environmental conservation in Huntsville.

Operation Green Team and City of Huntsville leaders gathered in Big Spring Park on Thursday for a tree planting ceremony and butterfly release. Watch the event here.

Man releases butterfly in downtown Huntsville
Operation Green Team Coordinator David Worley helps a butterfly find its way skyward during the Earth Day 2021 butterfly release at Big Spring Park on Thursday.

“As we continue to make our way through this pandemic, we are hopeful for better days,” said Mayor Tommy Battle. “One way we can encourage this is by making sure we leave our City in even better shape than we found it. Cleaner air, cleaner water and a cleaner Earth. These are the responsibilities of every generation.”

Mayor Battle, Landscape Management Manager Brian Walker and a crew from the City’s Landscape Management Department planted an American Linden tree in the greenspace near Huntsville City Hall. The tree will grow up to 45 feet in height and its flowers will attract bees for the production of honey.

The tree planting ceremony symbolizes Huntsville’s dedication to maintaining an urban tree canopy and improving the care of our City trees.

“It clearly demonstrates a commitment from multiple City administrations to the importance of trees in our communities,” said Marc Byers, Horticulture-Forestry Supervisor for Landscape Management.

The Arbor Day Foundation recently named Huntsville a Tree City USA, an honor it’s held for 30 years. To qualify, the City must have a tree care ordinance, a community forestry program with an annual budget of at least $2 per capita, an Arbor Day observance and proclamation, and an active tree board or department.

“The really impressive part of this is that we want to do these things as a City, not because it earns us an award,” Byers said. “We do them because it’s the right thing to do. It’s what’s we need.”

In addition to tree planting, Mayor Battle and Green Team released more than 700 Painted Lady butterflies in downtown Huntsville for Earth Day.

“From this release, to planting new trees across our City each year, to the cleanup and rejuvenation efforts we are committed to in Huntsville, we are showing each generation that we are truly vested in our planet,” Battle said.