Celebrating 100 years: Scouts honor anniversary by planting trees in Snellville

Photo by Kristen Ralph

Photo by Kristen Ralph

SNELLVILLE -- When James Stephens passes by Snellville City Hall, he'll be able to point out the American elm tree he helped plant.

The 9-year-old Cub Scout said he thought it was "awesome" that he helped plant the tree.

"It's helping the environment," he said. "It's going to give shade to (people) and give them oxygen."

Nearly 100 people from 11 Boy Scouts of America units gathered in downtown Snellville on Saturday morning to plant 40 disease-resistant American elm trees in honor of the BSA's 100th anniversary.

In the 1930s, the elm tree was prevalent throughout the Southeast, but they were devastated by the Dutch elm disease, said Phil Davis, the event's head volunteer.

"The actions the Scouts and their parents are doing today will ensure our generation in the future will enjoy the same beautiful elm tree that our grandparents did," Davis said.

Tod Warner, a Snellville city councilman, said 60 more trees will be planted in Briscoe Park to create a Centennial Forest in Snellville.

"This is the kind of positive thing we want Snellville to be known for," Warner said. "We're not only a crossroads, but a true community."

Mayor Jerry Oberholtzer, an Eagle Scout, said planting the elm trees will bring back some of the area's heritage. The trees will grow to be 100 feet tall and 80 feet across, he said.