Acknowledge Arbor Day at Friday’s Trail of Presidents dedication

By Correne Martin

Arbor Day 2014 will be celebrated with an extra special ceremony on Friday, April 24. The Trail of Presidents, a tree planting project that has connected to the community the 22 presidents who have lived in or visited Prairie du Chien, will be dedicated on St. Feriole Island at 10 a.m. The observance will take place on North 4th Street, adjacent to the Mississippi River Sculpture Park. The public is invited.

This special project of the St. Feriole Island Memorial Gardens has brought nature and history together by recognizing each of the 22 U.S. presidents with either a white or red oak tree. Each tree will be marked with a plaque that explains the president’s tie to Prairie du Chien. The oak tree represents America’s national tree. Local individuals, clubs and businesses have sponsored the trees.

The original vision for the project started with John and Vicki Mundt, who approached Tom and Cathie Nelson to help implement this “American Dream.” The Prairie du Chien Parks and Recreation Department has also cooperated on this endeavor.

The Prairie du Chien High School FFA and Science Club as well as the local Boy Scouts Troop have been and will continue to be involved with this project, through planting and island cleanup.

The presidents included in the trail are Andrew Jackson, William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore, James Buchanan, Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, James Garfield, Grover Cleveland, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, Woodrow Wilson, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Richard M. Nixon, Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

Also included is the only president of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis, who was stationed in the community early in his military career. President of Mexico, Vicente Fox, was educated at Campion Jesuit High School.

To learn more about the presidents’ time in Prairie du Chien, please take time out on Friday to observe Arbor Day at the dedication of the presidential trees.

The Trail of Presidents is associated with the Trees of History program on St. Feriole Island. Many notable people have lived here or stopped here on their journeys. These programs have matched selected people with trees that help tell their stories.

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