3-year-old Richard Howe shovels dirt around the oak as the adults celebrate the planting.

While the adults talked and made presentations to mark the moment, 3-year-old Richard Howe kept shoveling dirt into the hole around the newly planted oak here. He knew what they were here for. This was a day for planting trees.

Then again, these trees can live 120 years or more. So maybe the eight oaks that Trees Sandy Springs and the city of Sandy Springs planted on the corner of Sandy Springs Circle and Cliftwood Drive on Feb. 18 to celebrate Arbor Day still will be around when Richard is the age of the adults who were celebrating the planting.

“This is the gift that keeps on giving,” Sandy Springs City Councilwoman Karen Meinzen McEnerny said. “These babies will be here long after we’re gone.”

And Trees Sandy Springs founder Nina Cramer, Richard’s mother, believes the trees will bring more than just a shady place on a busy street corner. Trees Sandy Springs plans to care for the trees to make sure they prosper, she said, and will add other plantings over time.

“We’re really going to make an urban forest right on this corner,” she said. It’s going to be a habitat for wildlife. It’ll really be beautiful.”

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.