OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX)- "These are all pin oaks," said Lara Jordan as she perused a cluster of trees with her two daughters, Kalie and Kasie. "So we could probably go ahead and get one of these."
The three of them came to Arbor Day at the Ocean Springs Civic Center with a goal in mind: find the perfect trees for their home.
"We're going to take these home," Jordan said to her daughters. "And daddy's gonna plant them in the back yard."
They had plenty of options in their search. From Red Oak to Pin Oak and Bald Cypress to Pine trees, there was something to decorate every back yard, office complex or park.
"We have lots of different kinds to choose from, so we picked three different kinds of oaks," Jordan said.
They are some of hundreds of people who stopped by this annual Ocean Springs Celebration, put on by the Mayor's Youth Council.
"In Ocean Springs, trees are our greatest natural resource," said Mayor Connie Moran. "We have an oak tree lined downtown, down Hwy 90 from one end of the city limits to the other. People appreciate arbor day, and we've celebrated it here in Ocean Springs for well over 25 years."
It may be a long-standing and fun tradition, but planting trees in South Mississippi is more important now than ever before.
"We had a lot of tree loss the last few storm seasons as everyone who lives here might remember," said City Arborist Murv Alleman. "So this is just an effort to try to replant South Mississippi."
Alleman says it's not just about aesthetics.
"We need tree coverage for a number of reasons," he said. "To make us a better oxygen environment; trees produce oxygen. And they hold soil and make a better living space in an urban environment."
With so many people enjoying picking out their trees, it was clear to South Mississippi, planting isn't just necessary, it's fun as well.
"It has been a resounding success," Alleman said about the event.
The city also planted trees for some of its late community members. Their names and locations of the trees planted in their honor, are as follows: