The Bismarck Forestry Division hosted a ceremonial tree planting Friday at Custer Park.

The event began with the presentation of Apple Seed Awards for land beautification efforts from last year, as well as to celebrate Bismarck’s 45th year of being labeled a ‘Tree City’ USA.

At the event. Mayor Steve Bakken came out to read an Arbor Day proclamation — and third through fifth-graders from Cathedral of the Holy Spirit gave their own presentations.

Students were sent home with fresh apples and small trees of their own.

“During Arbor Day,” explained City Forester Doug Wiles, “what we’re trying to do is educate children about the importance of trees. We put a tree in their hand, and hopefully, they go home and plant it, so they can see it grow and see the benefits those trees provide.”

This year’s ceremonial tree planting was dedicated in recognition of Public Works Service Operations Director Jeff Heintz, who is retiring after over 30 years of service.