The Woodlands celebrates Arbor Day

LAKEWOOD – Several years ago, Heritage Ministries broke ground at the Woodlands, the independent- and assisted- living residences located on Southwestern Drive in West Ellicott.

At the time, it was necessary to remove many of the trees that had been growing there for years to make way for the new community. The abstraction of trees was a difficult decision to make.

However, our experts agreed that it was important to remove the existing trees, some of which were diseased and were threatened, to make way for new, healthy growth.

On April 25, western New Yorkers celebrated Arbor Day. The purpose of Arbor Day is to encourage people to plant and to care for trees. According to, the holiday was first celebrated in the state of Nebraska in 1882. Sterling Morton, one of this country’s original pioneers, planted trees immediately after moving from his hometown of Detroit, because “there was no shade from the sun or wind, and crops did not grow well in the dry earth” of Nebraska. Over the course of his life, Morton advocated for the planting of and for the caring of trees. So much so, that Nebraska adopted Morton’s birthday, now known as Arbor Day, as an official state holiday. Today, almost every state in the Union celebrates the holiday.

Now, the time has come to restore the assortment of trees that gave the Woodlands’ community its name. So far, fruit and pines trees have been planted. Over the coming days and weeks, passersby will notice that many other types of native trees will find their new home in the Woodlands.

Heritage Ministries, as its name implies, has a deep-rooted history in Chautauqua County. The organization truly cares about the well-being of its residents, its staff, and its environment alike.

Doug Justham, the director of development at Heritage Ministries Management Company, said, “I am pleased that we are finally at a point in this project that we are able to plant trees. The fact that the timing is coinciding with Arbor Day, just makes the triumph that much better. Years ago, we started this project with the vision of having beautiful trees all around the property. It is satisfying to be able to work through a multi-year project and to see a vision become a reality.”

As development continues to occur in the Woodlands, the landscape will continue to change. Rest assured that Heritage Ministries will do its part to make sure that the new and existing trees on all of its campuses will be well cared for always.

Heritage Ministries is a non-profit, human-service organization that serves the western New York region and employs nearly 800 employees. Independent- and assisted-living residences for seniors are located at Heritage Village Retirement Campus in Gerry and at The Woodlands on Southwestern Drive in West Ellicott. Rehabilitation and skilled-nursing services are provided at Heritage Village in Gerry, Heritage Park in Jamestown, and Heritage Green in Greenhurst. For more information, please call Heritage at 487-6800, visit at or LIKE them at