Spring has sprung with celebrations
Posted on 04/18/2024
Mayor Brian Turnbull

Northvillians and friends,

This week, we will touch on upcoming Earth Day (4/22) and Arbor Day (4/26) activities in the Northville area when we encourage individuals to plant trees for the benefit of society. Fittingly, I would like to reflect on our historical conservation efforts. These initiatives include caring for our prize-winning trees in the area, aided by the Northville Tree Champions organization. Many citizens don’t realize that we are a Tree City USA community, and we have had State and National Champion trees in our area throughout our 200-year history.

Here's a quick look at Earth Day and Arbor Day
Earth Day is an annual global event and was established to inspire support for environmental stewardship. First held on April 22, 1970 (54 years ago), it now includes a wide range of events coordinated worldwide. More than 1 billion people in close to 200 countries participated in Earth Day celebrations. The official theme for 2024 is “Planet vs. Plastics.”

Arbor Day is April 28 and is an observance day during which individuals and groups are encouraged to plant and care for trees. Many countries celebrate this special day. Notably, as early as 1892, The Northville Record printed an Arbor Day Proclamation from our Governor (Edwin B. Winans) encouraging all Michigan residents to plant a tree.

What’s going on today
• Magnificent Trees of Northville & Tree Care – Wednesday 4/17, 7 PM at Mill Race Village’s New School Church – Northville Tree Champions renown Arborist Jim Porterfield will be presenting for the Library at the Mill Race. Link

• The Bicentennial Task Force met 3/27 – Our next gathering will be 7 PM, May 2 at City Hall. See deck from first meeting.

• Cemetery Renovation (Cemeterians) met 3/28 – Next meeting will be May 9 at 7PM at City Hall. See link for material.
• Magic Bus Concert at Marquis Theatre – Saturday 4/20 at 7pm. Join this Musical Journey to Woodstock – 60’s attire is welcome!

• Rouge River Revived – Wednesday 4/24, 7PM at Mill Race Village’s New School Church – Author Dr. John Hartig shares the environmental history of the Rouge River, from Native Americans through industrialization and its revival. Link

• Tipping Point Theatre production of “The Squirrels” – Through May 5

• Patriots’ Day – Saturday 4/27, 10 AM – 4 PM at Mill Race Village. Witness re-enactments from 1775 and Drum & Fife Corps appearances & come learn about history.

• State of the Community (City/Township/School District) – 4/26 at 11:30 AM at the Italian American Banquet Center. Link

Arbor Day and Tree City highlights

• The Arbor Day Foundation has awarded the City of Northville (for multiple years) the great distinction of being designated a “Tree City USA” community. We have more than 3,100 trees on city property, not including our parks. And we have the Northville Tree Champions group to promote tree appreciation, growth, and preservation.
• As we celebrate Earth Day/Arbor Day, I want to recognize our City’s Sustainability Team. They’ve accomplished a great deal over the past few years in support of a “more sustainable Northville.” Here are just a few of their accomplishments:
o Established the Northville Tree Champions Group to focus on the care and enhancement of our tree canopy.
o Completed a comprehensive overall Walkability Study for the city of Northville
o In partnership with the Riverwalk Task Force, developed a Mobility Network Study analyzing the flow and safety of our city streets with their trees.
o Worked with DDA to implement additional EV Charging Stations and transition to more efficient Downtown LED Lighting.

Legacy Tree locations have been identified in Northville and included in the City’s comprehensive tree database. See Majestic Tree Tour: Link …. Some standouts are:

o The Black Walnut on Rogers about 187 inches around (Over 15 Feet)
o A grand Sycamore on W. Cady. Additionally on Cady, a magnificent Elm behind City Hall which is presently being transformed into a history tree carving commissioned by the Northville Community Support Fund. Link
o A White Oak on Main Street
o And a resplendent Silver Maple on Eaton Drive with a girth of almost 220 inches around (16 feet +)
• Fish Hatchery Park – I encourage you to walk about the “native-to-Michigan” plants & trees on the river’s edge and experience the rejuvenation of this area. All this was made possible previously through a cooperative grant bestowed on the City & Township. Look for trout in this spring-fed, cold-water stream (brown trout are caught daily there).
• In 1960, Jack Hoffman (Editor of The Record) mentioned that the Northville/Novi area was known for its old growth trees. At that time, Northville had TWO National champion trees and FOUR State champions.
• Other local trees of note are the Scotch Pines in Northville’s Cass Benton Park, the giant White Oak in front of Guernsey Dairy on Novi Rd and the Beech Trees at Maybury State Park.
• The Bennett Arboretum (oldest in the State), located in Wayne County’s Hines Park between Six & Seven Mile, was established in the 1930’s and still has over 100 of the original 470 specimen trees remaining. It’s a gem in our own back yard and has spectacular fall colors.

I encourage you on your next walk to envision what these landmark trees have seen in their time – from Northville’s birth as the first milling community in the State in the 1820’s to a century later when Northville ranked #2 in production and GNP in Michigan. Notably, Henry Ford walked the streets of our town under its historic tree canopy starting in the 1880’s on his honeymoon, and later on with friends Thomas Edison, Harvey Firestone and John Burroughs the environmentalist (the so-called Vagabonds group).

Our entire 200-year history of Northville events transpired as our seedlings became mature legacy trees through the passage of time. As the weather breaks, take time to truly enjoy the greenspaces, waterways, and unique topography of this “Hamlet in the Hills” we call Northville with its Tree canopy of life.
Keep that Northville “Arbor and Earth Day Faith!

Brian Turnbull
Mayor, city of Northville

emblems of Arbor Day, Earth Day