The Town of Herndon celebrated Earth Day 2022 and Arbor Day 2022 at Runnymede Park on Saturday, April 23. For the town’s community forester, John Dudzinsky, supervising cleanup activities and planting an Eastern Redbud are one of his last official roles. Dudzinsky retires the following week.
"My thought is that trees are the answer," Dudzinsky said. He has always been partial to the 58-acre woodland park along Sugarland Run open to the public for hiking, birdwatching, and nature research.
According to Kathleen Rogers, president of Earth Day.org, the theme for Earth Day 2022 was Invest in Our Planet." Individuals, businesses, entrepreneurs, inventors, and governments have a unique role in building the future. "People, governments, and businesses all fear change… But the status quo, the way we live today, is changing before our eyes. said Rogers. "We need to act individually and together."
About a dozen employees of Serco, Inc., headquartered in Herndon, stood ready with litter grabbers at Runnymede Park to clear trash from the woodlands, meadow, and the stream's watershed. Tom Watson is Serco's senior vice president of Defense Services Business and executive director of the company's environmental group.
When asked why they were there, Watson responded, "It is the right thing to do for our community. We are a responsible corporate citizen, and we like to encourage activity among our employees that creates a positive impact to our environment and to our input employee engagement."
Before departing, Serco employees attended the Arbor Day ceremony conducted by Dudzinsky and attended by Lindsey Long, community forest specialist, Virginia Department of Forestry, and Sheila Olem, mayor of the Town of Herndon.
"If you have the opportunity, plant a tree, even hug a tree. I walk through the town regularly, and I always stop and hug one or two," Dudzinsky said. "I look around to see if anybody's watching me, though, so that they don't think I'm a little loose in the cannon here."
Olem said, "Today, we celebrate our 33rd year as a Tree City USA." According to the Arbor Day Foundation., Arbor Day represents hope for the future. "The simple act of planting a tree represents a belief that the tree will grow to provide us with clean air and water, cooling shade, habitat for wildlife, healthier communities, and endless natural beauty — all for a better tomorrow."