Bicentennial Tree Planting ceremony scheduled

SIDNEY — Local officials plan to gather Saturday morning, Oct. 10, at 10 a.m. for a brief ceremony marking the official planting of Sidney’s Bicentennial Tree.

One of the city’s official trees will be planted on the grounds on the south side of the Shelby County Courthouse. The tree will be planted on the opposite side of the walkway where Shelby County’s Bicentennial Tree was planted last year.

The tree selected as Sidney’s official Bicentennial tree was the red oak. The tree was selected by the Shelby County Bicentennial Tree Subcommittee last year, in part because it is native to Shelby County and in part because of its longevity.

“We wanted to select a tree that had the potential to be here when Sidney celebrates her tercentenary,” Subcommittee Chair Duane Gaier said. “The red oak can grow as much as 2 feet per year for the first 10 years, and is one of the most plentiful of the many species of oak trees. In addition, the red oak can grow to a height of 75-feet-tall, is prized for its timber, and when harvested, provides hard, durable timber that is used in products as diverse as flooring, architectural mill-work, furniture and caskets.”

“There were hundreds of mature oak trees in Sidney when the land was inhabited by native Americans,” Shelby County Commissioner and Bicentennial Committee Co-Chair Bob Guillozet said. “When settlers arrived, they began cutting them and hewing the timber for homes and barns. Their somewhat rapid disappearance completely changed the landscape of Sidney and Shelby County.”

According to the National Audubon Society, the red oak tree (Quercus ruba) is a long-lived tree used for shade in landscapes and it is one of the most important timber species in the United States. Especially valued for its adaptability and usefulness, it is quite hardy in urban settings. The red oak is especially known for its brilliant fall color and great value to wildlife.

The red oak has been called one of the “handsomest, cleanest and stateliest trees in North America” by naturalist Joseph Illick. The red oak is considered a national treasure.

In addition to Guillozet and Gaier, others who will be speaking during the ceremonies include Sidney Tree Board Chair and Bicentennial Committee Member Ann Asher, Certified Arborist and Bicentennial Committee Member Joyce Reier, Shelby County Commissioner and Bicentennial Committee Member Tony Bornhorst, and Bicentennial Committee Co-Chair and Sidney Mayor Mike Barhorst.

Providing music for the occasion will be the Jock Family Singers. The group, including Melissa (Goffena) Jock, Cameron, Elizah, and Elizabeth Jock, have been singing together for several years.

In addition to the courthouse ceremony, bicentennial trees are being planted at all schools within the city and at Tawawa Park. Jason Weigandt Landscaping is planting the trees this year.

Each tree will have a plaque, provided by the Bicentennial Committee, placed near the tree so that future generations will know that the tree was planted as part of Sidney’s Bicentennial celebration. Some of the schools are planning their own observances to mark the occasion.

The public is invited to attend the ceremony.