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Lakemont Park to mark Arbor Day with new educational program

In celebration of Arbor Day 2021, Lake-mont Park will have a presentation at 11 a.m. Friday, April 30, to announce a new educational component to the park.

“To help individuals in our community learn to identify common trees, we have placed identification plaques, with the botanical and common name, next to 44 tree species in the park,” said Andrea Cohen, Lakemont Park president.

“As you walk through the property, guests can take photos of the QR codes, which will bring them to the Lakemont Park website.”

The website will have information on the tree, typical height and spread, native habitat and a tree description, including family, genus and species.

There will be photos of the tree in summer and winter, plus bark and leaf photos. There will also be a map to highlight the location(s) of the tree(s) in the park.

Last fall, friends of the park with backgrounds in trees and landscaping helped identify more than 200 trees in the park and select the species to highlight for this project.

This spring, the park worked in conjunction with two Altoona Area School District science classes to develop the website information.

“This was a unique project, and we are so pleased to have so many people assist us with this project,” said Jade Giantini, Lakemont Park community outreach supervisor.

In honor of Arbor Day, Lakemont Park’s Naturescapes Foundation will be planting a new Acer griseum Paperbark Maple tree, in the Keystone Falls 18-hole miniature golf course.

“Arbor Day is a holiday to encourage people to plant trees, and we are proud to celebrate with a tree-planting. We hope the local schools and nature enthusiasts will visit the park to see all the species,” Cohen said.

In 2019 Lakemont Park established the Naturescapes Foundation through the Central Pennsylvania Community Foundation, a 501(c)(3), to promote the park’s beautification. Since the county owns the land, this fund directs all contributions to landscaping efforts, including trees, shrubs and benches.

The park’s new business concept has supported the return of the green space and includes free entry and accessible recreation and play areas.

“Members of the community have planted trees and dedicated benches for the park guests to enjoy,” said Melanie Shildt, Lakemont Park general manager. This foundation helped contribute to the Tree Identification Project and has funded some of the park’s landscaping efforts the past two years.

“Lakemont Park has always been a community centerpiece, and we hope this foundation will continue to support new gardens and trees which can be enjoyed by our generation and future generations,” Cohen said.

Please contact the Lakemont Park office, 814-949-7275 to learn more about the Naturescapes Foundation.

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