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   Now in our fifth calendar year
    PCR #201  (Vol. 5, No. 5)  This edition is for the week of January 26--February 1, 2004.

LA FLORIDIANA
T.R.E.E. Inc.’s Florida Arbor Day Weekend 2004
 by Will Moriaty
THIS WEEK'S MOVIE REVIEW
OSCAR PICKS, 2004
 by Mike Smith
ODDSERVATIONS
VH1's "Bands Re-United"
 by Andy Lalino
THE OGRE
Burlesque and The Suicide Girls....plus, guest editorial by Black Dog
 by Clayton Smith
CREATURE'S CORNER
You can go back...
 by John Lewis
MIKE'S RANT
Good Morning, Captain....Good-Night, Jack....The Golden Globes....Oscar Time....How About The Bad Ones?....Pirates, As In "AARRGH"?....Game Show Memories....Meet The Beatles, Part 3
 by Mike Smith
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T.R.E.E. Inc.’s Florida Arbor Day Weekend 2004

Let’s Start From the Beginning - - April 10, 1872
In 1970, former United States President Richard M. Nixon proclaimed that each last Friday in April be known as National Arbor Day. The proclamation was in honor of an annual tree planting movement that was begun on April 10, 1872 in the barren plains of Nebraska by a journalist, politician and Secretary of Agriculture to former President Grover Cleveland, J. Sterling Morton, who longed to see forestlands the likes of which he once knew in his former home state of Michigan. Under his vision over 1,000,000 trees were planted on that day with the intent of transforming the formless prairie into cathedral of shade and beauty.

Florida Arbor Day
All fifty states celebrate their own state Arbor Days in order to take advantage of the maximum planting seasons for tree seedlings in their regions. Bare root tree seedlings are best planted while in their most dormant period at a time when the climate and soil conditions will ensure their best survival after the shock of transplanting.

Approximately 20 beautiful Longleaf Pines were donated by an anonymous party for this year’s Dade City Arbor Day event on January 16, 2004.
In most of Florida, particularly the north and central regions of the state, the third Friday in January best fits this bill as it is typically the coolest time of the year, and the hot, dry days of spring drought, that will easily dry out and kill such seedlings as they try to become established, are still several months away. Unlike parts of the northern United States, there is no danger of the ground being frozen in January in Florida, and summer temperatures are much too high to consider transplanting many trees as they are in a state of rapid growth and without almost daily care or watering, will most likely die.

Dade City Arbor Day
It has been my honor and privilege to attend each Florida Arbor Day event in Dade City, Florida since 1997. Dade City is a magical rural Florida community that still embodies a small town Southern charm and graciousness that has long left most of our Florida communities. Its people are genteel, friendly, religious and committed to ensuring that the character and principals that guide their lives will be handed down from generation to generation in this west central Florida gem located in the rolling hills of northeast Pasco County. It is also a community that loves its trees because unlike the majority of Florida’s communities, believes that its trees and its natural character are as intrinsic a part of the town’s identity as its churches and commerce. Not surprisingly, as you enter the Dade City city limits, “Tree City U.S.A.” is emblazoned on the city limits signs.

People exit the almost church-like setting and feeling to the celebration of this year’s Arbor Day event sponsored by the Dade City Garden Club. Pictured is the Club’s building.
An Event With An Evangelical Fervor
Due to the close knit nature of the Dade City community, each years events are well attended, in large part because for every tree dedicated in the memory of one of its lost citizens, there is someone present to give a testimonial on what that person meant to them and what that person accomplished during their life on earth. It is very reminiscent of attending church services where there is a sincere feeling of a fraternal and brotherly kinship. This spirit is reinforced by the very feel of the building it is held in, which belongs to the Dade City Garden Club. It looks and feels very reminiscent of an old-time large Southern church building (the building may have served as one for all that I know!), and the Garden Club is also a Lifetime Member of the T.R.E.E. Inc. organization!

Hardly A Dry Eye in the House
There have been many Dade City Arbor Day events that I have attended where the emotions were so intense that it has been hard to fight back tears while giving the eulogies of those who we have dedicated trees in memory of. My toughest was giving the eulogies to slain Tampa Detectives Randy Bell and Rick Childers as their wives and fellow T.P.D. comrades looked on. That same eulogy was given for slain Florida Highway Patrolman James Crooks as his relatives, and most of FHP Troop C looked on. Sadly, there was no one there to remember or cry for the eulogy I gave for little Joey Bennett, who was the first of the memorial tree honorees to die at the hands of a madman seven months earlier. Detectives Bell and Childers, and Trooper Crooks’s Memorial Southern Magnolia trees can be found on the west side of Polly Touchton Park next to U.S. 301 in Dade City. Joey Bennett’s Memorial Redbud tree is on the other side of that park.

Your intrepid author planting a 6' tall Tulip Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera) on the Garden Club’s grounds in November, 1994.
That same tree planted almost ten years earlier now stands at over 25' in height!
This Year’s Memorial Tree: T.R.E.E. Inc. Lifetime Member Barbara Waddell
This year’s event was held on Friday January 16th. In it, I gave my eighth annual speech, this one titled “Trees: Nature’s Own Time Machines”, a copy of which is posted at the bottom of this article. I also took time to recognize the life and accomplishment of T.R.E.E. Inc. Lifetime Member Barbara Waddell, who passed away late last year. Barbara was quite a civic activist who formed her own “Pepper Patrol” initiative in south Hillsborough County, policing that area for the exotic nuisance plant the Brazilian Peppertree (Schinus terebinthifolius). Once the Pepper Patrol found you, expect to eat Garlon soup! A “Florida Flame” Red Maple from newly appointed T.R.E.E. Inc. Honorary Lifetime Member Brightman Logan’s Central Florida Native Flora Inc. nursery was planted at the Garden Club’s grounds that day.

The Anonymous Donation
Presiding over this year’s ceremonies was the Garden Club’s Arbor Day Committee Chair Vickie West. Her husband, David West, a preacher for the Dade City Church of Christ performed the Benediction and closing prayer. Dade City Mayor Scott Black read the official Arbor Day Proclamation, while one of my favorite Steel Magnolias and T.R.E.E. Inc. member Mrs. Patricia Carver gave insights and histories into the people of whose memories trees were being dedicated to on that sunny and beautiful day.

Before the ceremony even began I noticed approximately twenty beautiful three-gallon Longleaf Pine trees. These were donated by an anonymous party and were free to any attendee who wanted one! As I knew I would be involved in the repotting of close to a thousand trees and the dibbling of several hundred trees the next day, I saw no need to scarf up yet another tree to add to my already busy palette.

Saturday January 17th - - The Repotting Event
The turn out for this year’s annual repotting event was the best in T.R.E.E. Inc.’s 21-year history. Over 50 volunteers showed up to pot up 900 trees in about 43 minutes! 400 1-gallon Slash Pine were stepped up into 3-gallon containers, while 50 Indigo Bush, 50 Paw Paw, 100 Gallberry, 100 Swamp Bay, 100 Flatwoods Plum, 50 Mayhaw and 50 Wild Olive were stepped up from bare root seedlings into one gallon containers. The Pines will hopefully be planted at a mitigation site off of Hutchinson Road near the Suncoast Parkway sometime this upcoming fall, while the remainder of the trees is slated to be planted at Hillsborough County ELAPP sites in the fall of 2005 or winter of 2006.

In addition to the perfect weather, much of this success can be attributed to notices running for five consecutive weeks in the Saturday Bay Life section of the Tampa Tribune, as well as some publicity on Bay News 9. Many thanks go to T.R.E.E. Inc. Lifetime Member and Secretary Rick Strickland for coordinating these efforts, as well as Town N Country civic activist Rob Gamester who brought along close to a dozen teenagers who still possess strong backs and fully charged batteries!

10:05 A.M. on Saturday January 17, 2004, and volunteers are already hard at work potting up Slash Pine seedlings at two work benches at the T.R.E.E. Inc. nursery.
“Post Game” Planting, Interstate 4/U.S. 301 Interchange, Hillsborough County
Almost immediately after the event ended, there were still approximately 350 bare root Slash Pine seedlings that needed a home. Actually, their home was predetermined, being the last unplanted portion of the Interstate 4/U.S. 301 interchange located near the Florida State Fair grounds east of Tampa.

With a dibble bar and an axe, T.R.E.E. Inc. Honorary Lifetime Member John Blechschmidt Jr., Rick Strickland and I went to work completing the final activity necessary for fully reforesting the northeast infield at that location in order to take it out of mowing. Permission for the Project was permitted through Florida Department of Transportation Maintenance engineer Harvey A. Hunt, P.E. Mr. Hunt is also a Lifetime Member of T.R.E.E. Inc., but could not attend the events due to prior family obligations.

After several rows were dibbled, Rick had to leave, so with our advancing age and bad backs, John and I finally knocked out the work around 2:30 P.M. We both left with that “good” tired feeling of exhaustion with the feeling that all of our pain and effort would be a catalyst to creating a thriving and beautiful forest within the next decade.

Over fifty volunteers showed up for the event prompting traffic control for parking. 900 trees were potted up within 43 minutes.
All in all it was a weekend of great accomplishment of which I thank all of who participated, and particularly to Bob Scheible (“Kudos to Bob!” John B.), T.R.E.E. Inc. Founding Member and Vice President, for his tireless and unwavering support of this organization and running our nursery like a top!

Welcome New Members
SUPPORTING: Anderson-Lesniak Associates Ltd., Inc., Tampa

Welcome New Lifetime Members
We are pleased to announce that Dr. Richard P. Wunderlin, with the University of South Florida, and Mr. Brightman Logan, President of Central Florida Native Flora, Inc., now All Native, are both Lifetime Members of the Tampa Bay Reforestation and Environmental Effort, Inc. effective on Florida Arbor Day, 2004 (January 16, 2004). We are both pleased and honored to have these groundbreaking and highly important individuals in the ranks of organization.

New T.R.E.E. Inc. Website
We are in the process of upgrading and updating our website in order to provide you with a more colorful, exciting and interactive means of communication and information. Our old site is still available at http://www.tree-inc.org/, while the new site, which is the final stages of development by Crazed Fanboy webmaster Nolan Canova can be found at http://www.crazedfanboy.com/tree/. To send messages to T.R.E.E. Inc., simply e-mail us at treeinc@tampabay.rr.com or tree@crazedfanboy.com

“Trees: Nature’s Time Machine”
By William Moriaty, President T.R.E.E. Inc.

Life is a gift and life is a treasure.

For those of us lucky enough to have been born into this world with the God-given ability to think and reason, we were also blessed with the God-given gift of memory.

Our memories are formless benchmarks of recalling moments or events during our time on this earth. Certain songs or anniversary dates can trigger our memories and, for a magical moment, we can replay like a movie, long lost footage from a glimpse of our life that is long past.

Although trees, like all of God’s creations, are appointed to die, there are several varieties that can live long and productive lives. The Redwoods and the Sequoias of the American northwest are alleged to live well over 4,000 years. To put this in perspective, the average lifespan in America is a little over seventy years. For us, to live 4,000 years would require us to live through 57 seventy-year life spans.

There is a Baldcypress tree, a relative of the Redwoods, called “the Senator”, that is found growing at Big Tree Park north of Longwood in Seminole County outside of Orlando. It is estimated to be well over 3,000 years of age, or 43 consecutive human lifespans. The trunk diameter is a massive 47’ and the tree stands 120’ tall. If ever in the Longwood area, you owe it to yourself to go to Big Tree Park and survey this incredible life form.

Imagine, if you will, if these trees could somehow record and play back for us the events and natural history that has unfolded around them.

There are several Laurel Oak trees near the grounds of the downtown (Dade City, Florida) courthouse. Imagine all of the people, changes, weather, sunrises and sunsets they have seen so far in their living years.

From best information I could garner, these trees were planted sometime during the 1940’s. Think of how many American Presidents and elected officials that have guided this great Nation have come and gone since that time.

Think about how many people walked or relaxed beneath the shade of these trees. Think of all of the automobiles that passed by these trees over their current sixty-year life span. Imagine if you could somehow obtain memories from one of these trees showing footage of you as a child; a teenager; as a young adult walking or driving past it. Imagine obtaining memories from this tree of loved ones in their prime living years that have since passed on.

In many ways, trees are nature’s time machines and chroniclers.

In addition to providing us with lumber, oxygen, erosion control, air purification and aesthetic beauty, trees are living testaments to our past.

They are silent witnesses of history.

That is one of the many reasons why we must not take our God-given responsibility of having dominion over the earth taken lightly.

That is why we celebrate Arbor Day each year. That is what we are here for right now...


"La Floridiana" is ©2004 by William Moriaty.  TREE, Inc. logo designed by William Moriaty, fleshed out for this presentation and the website by Nolan B. Canova.  Webpage design and all graphics herein (except where otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2004 by Nolan B. Canova.