VICKSBURG, Mississippi — Mississippi's Arbor Day isn't until Feb. 12, but the Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District is giving folks the opportunity to get a head start on the celebration.
The Vicksburg Post (http://bit.ly/1nKiJQ5) reports 35,000 hardwoods and 10,000 pine trees will be given away Friday, starting at 8 a.m. at the district office in Vicksburg, come rain or shine.
District Clerk Nancy Melancon says the organization has been doing the tree giveaway for more than 30 years to raise awareness about trees and their importance to communities.
Trees given away will be Bald Cypress, Crepe Myrtle, Dogwood, Live Oak, Loblolly Pine, Max Myrtle, Persimmon and Sawtooth Oak.
"We give away hardwood and pine trees, but we don't do fruit or anything like that because we don't like to compete with any of the nurseries," Melancon said. "We do it to bring awareness to trees and the importance of trees."
Though the event doesn't usually start until 8 a.m., people start lining up by 7:30 a.m., and the trees are usually all gone around noon, Melancon said.
"We talk about Arbor Day and tell people why trees are important in our everyday life," she said. "It helps with conservation."
Attendees will get a bag with different hardwoods and a handful of pine trees.
"It's not enough to start a tree farm, but it's enough to plant them and have some trees," she said. "It's just to promote the importance of the trees."
Melancon said the trees also come with an instruction booklet.
"It'll tell you how to plant it," she said. "The sheet on each tree tells you a little bit about it: how big it will grow and whether it has acorns or what it produces."
Melancon said the massive giveaway would not be possible without the help of students from the Vicksburg Warren School District. She said David Chaney, a teacher at Hinds, is also one of their commissioners. "Those kids help us bag up all these trees on Thursday before we give them away on Friday."
Information from: The Vicksburg Post, http://www.vicksburgpost.com