Clinton Trees Forever, which obtained funding for plantings for the beautification of the new Sawmill Museum Park, will begin its work there at 8 a.m. Friday.

The future park will be funded by Alliant Energy’s Branching Out program, with $10,000 matched with site preparation costs and matching dollars from the Sawmill Museum.

The program is a three-way partnership between Alliant Energy, Trees Forever of Marion and Clinton Trees Forever. Rich Phelan, interim executive director of the museum, asked Clinton Trees Forever to plant and landscape the area as the first step in developing the new park. CTF will create a natural forest park to be enjoyed by the whole city while visiting the Sawmill Museum.

The history of Clinton revolves around the lumber industry. At one time, Clinton had the largest lumber mill industry in the United States. It was essential to the progress of western development. The Sawmill museum sits along the Mississippi River, where log rafts floated down to Clinton’s lumber mills.

A total of 50 various-sized White Pine, 25 large shade and ornamental trees, and several flowering shrubs will be planted. They include nine autumn blaze, six red sunset maple, five prairie fire and three autumn blaze pear.

Karen Brooke, field coordinator from Trees Forever, and Nichole Dunkel, strategic account manager with Alliant Energy, will assist with the experience with this endeavor. They will give a short program to begin at 9 a.m. Friday.

Lyons Middle School seventh-grade students and Prince of Peace College Preparatory students have been invited and volunteered to help. CTF and Sawmill volunteers along with riverfront walkers and civil groups, also will join.

Soft drinks, hot dogs and Twinkies will be furnished.

Wheelbarrows, shovels, rakes and gloves are needed. The group may continue work Saturday if all the nursery stock does not get planted, watered, staked and mulched.

Arbor Day is a nationally celebrated observance that encourages tree planting and tree care. Founded by J. Sterling Morton in Nebraska in 1872 in response to a proclamation urging settlers and homesteaders in that prairie state to plant trees that would provide shade, shelter, fruit, fuel and beauty for residents of the largely treeless plains.

On that first Arbor Day, more than one million trees were planted in Nebraska’s communities and farms. The Arbor Day idea was promoted by Morton, editor of the Nebraska City News, who later helped spread the idea to neighboring states and eventually to all of the United States and many other nations.