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Mayor announces Forest Spokane tree initiative

Goal is to plant 10,000 trees over two years

Contact: Brian Coddington, Communications Director, 509.625.6740

Friday, April 25, 2014 at 3:44 p.m.

Spokane Mayor David Condon launched a new initiative today to beautify neighborhoods with the addition of trees and green infrastructure.

That initiative, called Forest Spokane, is an effort to plant, protect and appreciate the trees that paint a canopy of vibrant colors in our city. The goal is to plant 10,000 new trees over the next two years as part of a broader integrated stormwater management effort.

“Trees add beauty and character, and play a major role in our plans to be smarter about how we use vegetation to help keep stormwater from entering our river,” Condon said.

Spokane was also honored today as a Tree City USA community by the national Arbor Day Foundation. It is one of 3,400 cities so recognized for the time, focus and commitment to establishing, maintaining and growing its urban forest.

As a jumpstart to Forest Spokane, the City will hand out 300 seedlings to City Hall visitors next week. The mayor also announced the reinvigoration of the Tree of Life program as another way to add new trees to our neighborhoods across the City.

The Tree of Life program traces its roots back nearly 20 years as a community effort to replace aging and damaged trees and add to Spokane's colorful canopy. Over the years, school students, community organizations and corporations have rallied efforts to plant trees.

Names of contributors are commemorated on a carved wood and bronze Tree of Life sculpture at the top of the stairs to the City Council Chambers in recognition of their efforts. The mayor added a golden leaf today to the Tree of Life to recognize the work of a dozen Emerson-Garfield neighborhood volunteers who planted trees on North Maple Street last Saturday as part of Spokane Gives.

Information about how to get involved in the tree planting effort is available at SpokaneUrbanForestry.org.

Other recent examples of the community working to add trees to their neighborhoods include, hundreds of scouts planting 4,200 ponderosa pines at the Parksmith Road interchange of the North Spokane Corridor, the City Council planting a ponderosa pine in Riverfront Park on Tuesday to commemorate Earth Day and the new official city tree designation, and the work over a decade of Nancy MacKerrow, founder of The Susie Forest, in memory of her daughter, Susie, a well-known bicycle and pedestrian safety advocate. She has planted more than 300 trees, in Spokane and around the world since 2003.

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