Arbor Day

Gov. Carney Celebrates Arbor Day

Governor John C. Carney, Jr. proclaimed Arbor Day in Delaware at a ceremony at Rehoboth Elementary School attended by fifth-grade students and staff, members of the General Assembly, and city and state officials. The event recognized Mayor Stan Mills and the City of Rehoboth Beach for its 30th year as a Tree City USA. Governor Carney also honored student winners in the Delaware Forest Service’s annual Arbor Day School Poster Contest. Two new oak trees were planted on the school campus for the event.

View high-resolution images from the 2021 Arbor Day Ceremony:
Watch a video of the Arbor Day Ceremony at:

Rehoboth Tree City 30

From left, DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin, Agriculture Secretary Michael Scuse, Rehoboth Beach Mayor Stan Mills, and Governor John C. Carney, Jr. recognize the City of Rehoboth Beach for its 30th year as a Tree City USA.

Each year, Delaware celebrates the last Friday in April as “Arbor Day,” an occasion to plant trees and spotlight the numerous natural benefits that trees provide. Established by J. Sterling Morton in Nebraska on April 10, 1872, it is estimated that one million trees were planted on the very first Arbor Day. Arbor Day observances are also an integral part of community recognition programs such as Tree Campus USA, Tree City USA, and Delaware’s Tree Friendly Community Award, as well as qualifying for a financial award from the Urban Grant Program.

Carney Arbor Day

Carney addressed the audience on the importance of trees to the environment: “One of my favorite bumper stickers, in terms of our personal responsibility to protect the environment, is ‘think globally, but act locally’ … we can do something, each of us, to protect our environment, to address global warming, and to prepare a better world for all of us in the future.” Carney said. “And one of the best things we can do is plant more trees.”

Speakers included Rehoboth Mayor Stan Mills, Agriculture Secretary Michael T. Scuse, DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin, Delaware State Forester Michael Valenti, and Nick Serratore of the Rehoboth Art League. Honored guests included Speaker of the House Peter Schwartzkopf, Senator Ernesto Lopez, State Auditor Kathleen K. McGuiness, and Rehoboth Beach city commissioners.

Agriculture Secretary Michael T. Scuse highlighted the importance of trees to Delaware: “Arbor Day is a great day to both celebrate trees and remind us to plant more,” he said.  “Trees have many natural benefits that help improve our environment. Trees are great at capturing carbon dioxide emissions, which helps improve the air quality in our climate. They also serve as buffers to protect water quality by reducing soil erosion and decreasing runoff. The Delaware Forest Service’s Urban and Community Program works to increase tree canopy in communities statewide. Every community can find its tree canopy level at and then work with the Forest Service to improve it.

DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin addressed the students with a direct message of their role in today’s world: “There are people like me who speak to students who say ‘And you’re the environmental stewards of the future.’ And I’m the first person to stand up and say, actually, no. You are the environmental stewards of today. You are the ones who are pushing us and holding us accountable because this is your future we’re talking about.”

State forester Michael A. Valenti asked the students to take the lead and plant trees for future generations: “I urge you to protect trees and the forests in your communities, in your county, and in the state. Because trees provide so many natural benefits, we cannot live without them.”

Valenti Mills Tree City

Mayor Stan Mills of Rehoboth Beach accepts Tree City USA recognition from Delaware State Forester Michael A. Valenti.

Mayor Mills accepted recognition from Delaware State Forester Michael Valenti for their 30th year as a Tree City USA:

“This is such a terrific, terrific honor… The city has a history, as you know, of investing in its trees, and we will continue to do so. We value trees not just for their beauty but also for their health, social, environmental, and wildlife benefits,” Mill said. “And I also want to thank the state for supporting us in our effort to maintain the health and beauty of our trees. It takes an effort and a partnership, and I also want to give additional thanks to all those within our community who plant and nurture trees, and who are committed to the City of Rehoboth Beach continuing as a Tree City USA.”

RES poster winners

Rehoboth Elementary School fifth-grader Miranda Garcia was among three fifth-grade students honored for her winning entry in the Delaware Forest Service’s Arbor Day School Poster Contest – she was selected as the Sussex County winner for Grade 5. The winning students participated in a ceremonial tree watering of two new white oaks planted on the school campus, along with Governor Carney and state officials.

Watering trees Rehoboth

Arbor Day Poster Contest

Alyssa Deluca-Brandywine Springs

Grade 5 student Alyssa DeLuca of Brandywine Springs Elementary was the state winner of the Delaware Forest Service’s annual Arbor Day School Poster Contest.

This year’s contest attracted entries from 44 schools and 73 classrooms, with a total of 2,748 students participating. This year’s theme was “Trees Are Terrific…in Many Wonderful Ways!” Posters were judged on originality, use of theme, neatness, and artistic expression. Each winner receives a gift card, a tree-themed book, and a tree planting at their school.  Twelve winners were selected from each county in four grade categories: kindergarten, grade 1 and 2, grade 3 and 4, and grade 5.

The poster contest is designed to increase student knowledge about forests and forest resources. For teachers, the poster contest can be an ideal way for students to learn more about the role of trees in our communities and their direct impact on Delawareans’ health and well-being. The schoolyard is also a perfect setting to incorporate the role of trees into your everyday curriculum. Trees not only provide beauty, shade, and habitat and food for wildlife, they also improve air quality, muffle noise, moderate air temperatures, filter runoff into streams and rivers, and reduce energy consumption.

The complete gallery of winners is at

New Castle County

Kindergarten: Lyla Jones – Brandywine Springs Elementary

Grade 1 and 2: Lilly Townsend – St. Anne’s Episcopal School

Grade 3 and 4: Shannon Last – Heritage Elementary

Grade 5: Alyssa Deluca – Brandywine Springs Elementary *

Kent County

Kindergarten: Sara Carney – Clayton Elementary

Grade 1 and 2: Eliana Oberdick – W.B. Simpson Elementary

Grade 3 and 4: Katelyn Bredesen – Allen Frear Elementary

Grade 5: Ziad Rasamny – Allen Frear Elementary

Sussex County

Kindergarten: Leah Neall – H. O. Brittingham Elementary

Grade 1 and 2: Tiffany Tran – Richard A. Shields Elementary

Grade 3 and 4: Meadow Warren – So. Del. School of the Arts

Grade 5: Miranda Garcia – Rehoboth Elementary

* state winner

Additional photos of the event can be found at the Delaware Forest Service’s Facebook page: poster contest winner received a tree-themed book and a print reproduction of their poster on fine art canvas. Thanks to corporate sponsor Delmarva Power, a free tree planting ceremony will also be held at each winner’s school. In addition, every participating classroom receives free pine seedlings for all participants.

Check out the previous winners:

For more information, email: Ashley Melvin

Past celebrations:

The Delaware Forest Service also sponsors an annual Arbor Day School Poster Contest for Delaware schoolchildren in grades K to 5 for all public, private, home, and charter schools.