You can add Little River County in Southwest Arkansas to the list of entities that are sponsoring WWI Memorial Trees.

The Arkansas World War I Centennial Commemoration Committee and the Arkansas Forestry Commission have approved five applications to sponsor World War I Memorial Trees, which achieves their shared goal of having one tree in each of Arkansas’s 75 counties.

Successful applicants and proposed locations were:

* Little River County, Little River County Courthouse, Ashdown

* Ouachita County, Ouachita County Courthouse, Camden

* Poinsett County, Poinsett County Courthouse, Harrisburg

* Dallas County Library, behind Dallas County Sports Museum, Fordyce

* Crossett Public Library, at the library in Crossett.

The Committee and Commission sought to place a WWI Memorial Tree in each of Arkansas’s 75 counties before the centennial observance of the Great War concludes at the end of 2018.

Through the program, the Arkansas Forestry Commission donated a two-year old willow oak to an organization in each county that will plant the tree in a public location and see that it is cared for. The WWI Committee provided soil from the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery in France to be included in the plantings.

The Committee urged partnerships of local governments, Scout troops, American Legion posts, public libraries and others to sponsor and plant a WWI memorial tree in a public park, courthouse square or other appropriate location during the centennial commemoration in 2017-18, with a goal of having at least one in each of Arkansas’s 75 counties. That goal was achieved in March 2018.

The memorial trees will be included on the Committee’s website.

In the years following the end of WWI in 1918, memorial trees were planted all over the world to remember the millions who perished during the war. More than 71,000 Arkansans served in the war, and 2,183 died. At least one stand of WWI memorial trees still exists in Arkansas: a small grove of holly trees on the campus of Henderson State University in Arkadelphia.

The mission of the Arkansas Forestry Commission is to protect Arkansas’s forests, and those who enjoy them, from wildland fire and natural hazards while promoting rural and urban forest health, stewardship, development, and conservation for all generations of Arkansans. The AFC is a part of the Arkansas Agriculture Department.

The Arkansas World War I Centennial Commemoration Committee is part of the Department of Arkansas Heritage. Other DAH divisions are the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Arkansas Arts Council, the Delta Cultural Center in Helena, the Old State House Museum, the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, the Historic Arkansas Museum and the Arkansas State Archives.