Plant trees to mark Arbor Day

April 6, 2009

By Warren Kagarise

A majestic Burr oak will be added to the Gibson Park landscape April 8, when city officials and volunteers gather to mark Arbor Day. Though the national holiday will be observed April 24, locals and Washingtonians will get a jumpstart on Arbor Day because early April is more conducive to planting in the Evergreen State.City Arborist Alan Haywood said crews cleared blackberry and other invasive plants to ready Gibson Park for the ceremony. The oak sapling, the ceremonial tree for the occasion, will be planted on the northern side of the park. In addition to the oak, volunteers will plant several other trees donated by residents, and salvaged from yards and construction sites.

Haywood said some of the salvaged trees have been “hanging in there for years and looking for a good home.”

The ceremony will bring together officials, residents and members of the Kiwanis Club of Issaquah, which meets at Gibson Hall.

“I think everyone understands that trees have a lot of value,” Haywood said.

In 2008, the city’s official Arbor Day tree was a crabapple planted at Grand Ridge Elementary School as part of the school’s teaching garden.

Haywood said city officials have taken steps over the years to preserve and plant trees within the city’s boundaries. Before Issaquah was settled and developed, the area was dominated by coniferous forest.

To recognize the city’s forestry efforts, the Arbor Day Foundation first named Issaquah a Tree City USA community 16 years ago. The city has maintained the designation ever since.

Haywood said the designation is based on four criteria, one of which is an annual Arbor Day ceremony or proclamation. To earn the distinction, a city must also spend $2 per capita on tree care, have an advisory board for tree issues and enact a tree-care ordinance. The city Park Board handles tree issues, and city officials recently updated the city’s tree ordinance.

“The environmental benefits and aesthetic appeal of trees truly enhance our quality of life,” Mayor Ava Frisinger said in a news release. “I encourage everyone to stop by, grab a shovel and help us plant one more tree near Gibson Hall.”

If you go

Arbor Day Ceremony

12:30 p.m. April 8

Gibson Hall

105 Newport Way S.W.

Reach Reporter Warren Kagarise at 392-6434, ext. 234, or Comment on this story at

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