Garden Club continues annual Arbor Day tradition in Oldsmar

Oldsmar Leisure Services Director Felicia Donnelly (far left) poses with Top of the Bay Garden Club members Loretta Wyandt, Sandy Sears, Babe Wright and Betty Rae Martinez during the club's annual Arbor Day tree planting on Friday, April 28, 2017 at Sheffield Park.

Oldsmar Leisure Services Director Felicia Donnelly (far left) poses with Top of the Bay Garden Club members (l-r)  Loretta Wyandt, Sandy Sears, Babe Wright and Betty Rae Martinez at Sheffield Park during the club’s annual Arbor Day tree planting on Friday, April 28, 2017.

For more than 20 years, members of the Top of the Bay Garden Club have planted trees around Oldsmar on Arbor Day, and 2017 was no different.

Four club officials, including co-founder and former president Loretta Wyandt and current president Bette Rae Martinez, were on hand for the latest tree planting at Sheffield Park on Friday, April 28.

Top of the Bay Garden Club members watch Oldsmar employees plant the live oak the organization donated as part of its annual Arbor Day tradition.

Top of the Bay Garden Club members watch Oldsmar employees plant the live oak the organization donated at Sheffield Park on Friday, April 28, 2017.

After the live oak was placed in the middle of an open field to serve as an obstacle for the park’s incoming disc golf course, Wyandt and Martinez as well as the city’s new leisure services director, Felicia Donnelly, spoke about the club’s decades-old tradition.

“I’ve been a member of the club for 30 years, and I’d say we’ve done this at least 20 times,” Martinez said, noting they get the trees “wherever they can get the best price.”

Wyandt, a former Oldsmar City Council member who, along with Jeannie Sitler, founded the club in 1978, said the club’s membership has steadily grown over the years, as has the organization’s charitable efforts.

“We had around 10 members then, and I’d say we have 25 or so now,” she said, adding they are always looking for new members.

Top of the Bay Garden Club members babe wright and Loretta Wyandt observe the live oak the club donated at Sheffield Park on Friday, April 28, 2017.

Top of the Bay Garden Club members Babe Wright and Loretta Wyandt observe the live oak the club donated at Sheffield Park on Friday, April 28, 2017.

“We do a lot of civic beautification projects and this is one of them, and we also do a fundraiser every year where we use the proceeds to send kids to Camp Wekiva,” Wyandt added. “This year we sent nine kids to camp. So we’re pretty proud of that.”

Donnelly, who took over for longtime leisure services director Lynn Rives in February, said the tree planting represented an important collaboration between the city and the organization.

“We value the community support and the Garden Club for contributing the live oak tree to Sheffield Park, and for continuing the preservation and enhancement of our parklands,” Donnelly said.

“This park is about creating new opportunities to showcase the balance between recreational uses and passive park space, and this tree highlights the synergy between both uses.”

Enjoy this photo gallery of the Top of the Bay Garden Club’s tree planting in Oldsmar on Arbor Day 2017:

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