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A community Arbor Day celebration is slated for April 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Cascade Park off Lynn Drive at the intersection of East and West Case streets.
A special feature of the day is the unveiling of new trail signage on the Cascade Arbor Walk.
The event is being orchestrated by Hocking College student and Hudson native Jason Szostek.
As a class assignment last semester, Szostek had to design signage for a trail. He picked the Cascade Park trail.
"So many people use this trail for exercise, dog walking and nature exploration that I thought it would be nice to add a little information to the hike," Szostek said.
He got an A for the assignment.
The student said he thought it would be a great idea to make his academic assignment a reality.
"I decided to actually implement the project and introduce it to Hudson with an awesome family-friendly community day at the park," Szostek said.
Szostek rallied support from Hudson Parks, the Friends of the Hudson Parks and individual donors to make his idea a reality.
"I wanted to provide a big community event to unveil the project and celebrate Arbor Day," Szostek said. "It is my hope that this will become a yearly community gathering each year to get families outside, celebrate spring and engage with nature," he said.
Szostek, son of Jerry and Diane Szostek of Hudson, began working on the signage and the community celebration in September.
"I sat down with Hudson Parks Superintendent Eric Hutchinson and laid out my plans," Szostek said.
The Eagle Scout said he was encouraged by Hutchinson's enthusiasm, as well as the reception he got from the Friends of the Hudson Parks and the financial support he received from the community, including a large donation from Consolidated Plastics in Stow.
"It's been a pleasure working with Jason," said Hutchinson. "We're looking forward to the opening of the trail."
Hutchinson said the newly marked trail was a "great asset for the park and the community."
The cost of the signage printed by Pannier Graphics on fiberglass-embedded material is $1,400.
"I designed 16 tree identification markers and one large trailhead sign and fund raised to get the whole project financed by donors in the community. I used Adobe Illustrator to create the signage, along with images I drew by hand," he said.
Szostek and several volunteers from Hocking had a work-day at Cascade recently to set the sign bases. The signs will be installed the day before the event.
Donors of $50 or more to the project are recognized with special placards placed under each tree identification marker with a memorial or recognition of the donor's choosing.
Plans for the community event include guided hikes led by fellow Hocking College students, a free tree giveaway donated by the Hudson Garden Club, live music from Wading Deep (a family-friendly bluegrass/folk duo), crafts and games for children and a story time for children with Kelli McKenna.
The Hocking teacher that gave Szostek his A, Julie Gee, will introduce him at the trail unveiling.
Szostek said he hopes to be able to provide a simple cook-out for those attending.
Szosteks, who will be graduating with honors from Hocking College this May, plans to continue schooling in the fall at Ohio University studying outdoor recreation and education.
For more information, or to contribute to the community event, visit facebook.com/CascadeTrees.