Tree of Hope

Chester County Commissioners Michelle Kichline, Marian Moskowitz and Josh Maxwell with the newly planted "tree of hope" honoring Chester County’s fight against COVID-19 on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.

EXTON — To commemorate Earth Day 2020, the Chester County Commissioners had originally planned to hand out hundreds of small trees to county residents for planting to celebrate Earth Day’s 50th anniversary.

But that was before COVID-19.

Instead on Wednesday, the official 50th anniversary of Earth Day, Chester County Commissioners Marian Moskowitz, Josh Maxwell and Michelle Kichline planted just one tree instead.

A “tree of hope” that will forever commemorate Chester County’s fight against the coronavirus global pandemic that impacted County residents’ way of life for a period of time in 2020.

“Planting this tree gives us a living tribute that will benefit present and future generations, but that will also carry with it a memory of what will become the past,” Moskowitz said. “Planting this tree also reminds us how much we value the outdoors and the chance to enjoy it together … not six feet apart and socially distanced.”

The species of tree planted in Chester County’s Exton Park this morning is Serviceberry Amelanchiararboea, a Pennsylvania native ornamental tree that will bloom each year with delicate white flowers arranged in clusters.

Maxwell said, “The tree was selected for many reasons, but one that stands out is that it will bloom each spring with clusters of white flowers — reminding us that the coronavirus may have kept us physically distanced, but figuratively it has brought us closer together as families, and as a community.”

Chester County Parks and Open Space Preservation staff selected the Serviceberry tree especially for this occasion. In addition to the cluster of white flowers that bloom each spring, it is one of the finest small trees for fall color, with leaves that turn vivid shades of red and gold. It also produces berry-like fruit that ripens in June and is loved by birds.

Kichline added, “We would have loved to be able to hold our big public celebration of Earth Day in Exton Park this year, but COVID-19 put a stop to that. Instead, we are planting a tree known to be resilient, and that weathers the storms. Like this tree, our community is resilient. We will weather this coronavirus storm, and be stronger for it.”

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