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Planting Fields Arboretum State Park holds Arbor Day festival

Ellie Myles, 9, right, and her sister Caroline,

Ellie Myles, 9, right, and her sister Caroline, 7, left, of Upper Brookville hoist themselves into a tree during the Arbor Day family festival at Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park, Saturday, April 23, 2016. Credit: Steve Pfost

Saturday seemed to bring out a little touch of nature-worshipper in us all.

A towering tree was scaled and seedlings selected, while Scarlett, the 4-month old pot belly pig wagged her tail happily and sat on command, all part of the 30th annual Arbor Day festivities at the Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park.

“I really liked it when I got up high,” said Ellie Myles, 9, of Upper Brookville, who climbed the tree with her sister, Caroline, 7.

The Oyster Bay event was a welcome break from a world often dominated by battery-powered devices.

“Normally, it’s all electronics; this is nature,” said Cilotte Lovinsky, 37, of Baldwin. Her son, Lowens, 8, another intrepid tree climber, said: “I just love trees.”

One of the youngest to don the tree-scaling harness was Justin Strobel, 5, of Mineola.

His father, Barry, particularly valued his escape from the office. “I’m just happy to be outdoors; I’m a CPA.” After all, taxes were due Monday.

Tree-climbing was the standout activity, though the petting zoo, and the chance to learn circus tricks, or have a caricature drawn, also drew lots of fans.

Watching Scarlett, the black piglet, perform for a Cheez-It, Barry Pullen, 51, of Stamford, Connecticut, told Jaya, his 3-1/2 year-old niece, of Westbury: “I’d do a trick for a Cheez-It.”

Brandon Cano, 4, of Glen Head, initially favored the mallard duck over the white Peking duck with a remarkable tuft on top of his head, both rescues.

“I like his green head.” After petting the Peking duck, he observed: “It’s like a fluffy doll.”

Madelyn Forquignon, 6, of Massapequa, helped Smokey Bear plant a tree. “I have an apple tree at home, and lots of vegetables.”

The crowd on the first day of the two-day event grew steadily, hitting 2,400, after the sun replaced morning clouds.

Lots was learned, including by apartment-dwelling adults who suddenly realized they may have to find a new home for a tree that could brush their ceiling in less than 10 years.

“Hands on learning is the key component for understanding, actually going outside and seeing the great outdoors,” said Sean Lynch, 37, of Northport.

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