GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The City of Gulfport is getting a little greener. That's all thanks to a big effort to give away and plant hundreds of trees for our state's Arbor Day.
The green thumbs and those looking to add a little foliage to their home front came out of the woodwork to make Mississippi's Arbor Day live up to its name. The Harrison County Soil and Water Conservation got to work early to start handing out trees in Gulfport, already a Tree City USA.
"We've had a crowd out here this morning," said Buck Johnson, a commissioner with the conservation.
There were hundreds of trees in a parking lot off Hwy. 49. They included different species like magnolia, live oak, tulip poplar, and black gum.
The trees were being transferred to new hands and new lands. Johnson was glad to see the turnout.
"We're looking at clean water, clean air, save our soil, stop erosion," said Johnson.
Just south of this giveaway effort was a day of planting around a park and walking track. Gulfport's beautification manager, Gus Wesson, was getting his hands dirty to get these trees in the ground.
"Ten oaks, 10 magnolias, and they'll probably outlast us. They'll be here for a long time to come," Wesson said.
That was the hope of everyone who came together to make this happen.
"So our kids and our grandchildren and our grandchildren's grandchildren will be able to enjoy these trees," said Brandon Paige, with Hancock Bank.
According to Paige, this was a step in the direction the bank wants to go, together with the Mississippi Land Trust.
"This partnership with land trust gives us a great opportunity to fulfill our initiative of what we call 10, 10, 12," Paige said.
This stands for 10 trees in 10 communities in 12 months. Arbor Day in our state is always the second Friday in February.
Gulfport wasn't the only place in the Magnolia State celebrating Arbor Day. There were also tree giveaways in Pascagoula and Moss Point.
In several cities across the coast, live oak saplings were planted as part of an initiative by the state. The sapling were planted in Waveland, Gulfport, Moss Point, Pass Christian, and Pascagoula.