ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS -- The borough Shade Tree Commission has marked Arbor Day by planting a tree in honor of a former member, citing 18 grade school student winners of its annual poster contest and conducting an educational program for youngsters at the public library.


Mildred Mika shovels dirt during Arbor Day tree-planting ceremony honoring her late husband, Nicholas J. Mika, at the municipal yacht harbor.  Photos Peter E. Donoghue

   The planting of a Callery pear tree in honor of Nicholas J. Mika at the municipal harbor was conducted Friday, April 27 -- Arbor Day, in the presence of Mika's widow and a crowd of family members and friends. Commission Chairman Louise Donoghue officiated and Police Chief Jerry Vasto was the principle speaker.

   Mika died last year at age 90. He was employed for over 20 years by the Monmouth County Park System and was an active member of the borough Shade Tree Commission. He also owned the Mika Tree Service and was a qualified arborist.

   After the planting, a reception was held at the library. The tree-planting was part of a borough program to honor prominent local residents for their service to the community.


Louise Donoghue (right), Shade Tree Commission chairman, recognizes Caroline Northrop, AHES art teacher, for her efforts in support of the poster contest.

   The 18 Atlantic Highlands Elementary School students were honored for their artistic prowess during an awards assembly on April 23.

   Each of the 18 winners, three from each grade, received a ribbon and will have a tree planted in their honor in a national park. The winning posters will be displayed at the law offices of Henry Wolff on First avenue.

   The three first graders honored are Emily Ramos, first place; Margot Stott, second, and Tommy Boylan, honorable mention. Cited second graders are were Mauve Sherlock, first place; Isabelle Sykes, second, and Elvis Gonzalez, honorable mention.

Principal Janet Walling poses with the three third grade winners in the annual borough Shade Tree Commission poster contest during the Atlantic Highlands Elementary School awards assembly. Third graders honored (from left) were Genevieve Keelen (honorable mention), Hailee DeRosa (second

prize) and Cara Plumaker (first prize).

   The third-grade prize-winners are Cara Plumaker, first place; Hailee DeRosa, second place, and Genevieve Keelen. Fourth-grade winners are Corina Vidal, T.J. Latore and Ralph Dantonio.

   Fifth-graders recognized were Sydney Thuss, Thomas Chece and Maggie McFadden while sixth graders honored were Shayne Ipapa, Alyssa Pepsney and Julie Forsyth.

   The theme of this year's contest was "Trees are terrific in all shapes and sizes. "The commission coordinated the program with school art teacher Caroline Northrop.

   Mrs. Donoghue conducted an educational program for town youngsters at the library. The commission also distributed about 100 white pine tublings.

Shade Tree Commission Chairman Louise Donoghue makes a presentation on trees to youngsters at the new Atlantic Highlands Public Library.

   The Arbor Day observances also marked the 31st year that Atlantic Highlands has been designated a "Tree City USA" by the national Arbor Day Foundation.