Join city leaders to plant Ruth Kees Grove

April 12, 2011

By Staff

Ruth Kees

Help city and state leaders dedicate the Ruth Kees Grove, and commemorate Arbor Day and the 20th anniversary of the state Department of Natural Resource Urban Forestry Program, at Squak Valley Park South.

Join city officials April 16 to plant 10 native conifers to honor the 10 recipients of the Ruth Kees Environmental Award for a Sustainable Community. The city has invited past recipients to the celebration.

Plans also call for the grove to include a trail, decorative rock features and a small patio or courtyard, featuring recipients’ names engraved on paver stones.

Past recipients received the honor for efforts to establish the Mountains to Sound Greenway, blaze trails in the Issaquah Alps and protect Issaquah waterways.

Ruth Kees, a longtime environmental activist, fought for decades to protect Issaquah Creek, Tiger Mountain and the Lower Issaquah Valley Aquifer. The award namesake received the inaugural honor in 2003.

Former City Councilwoman Maureen McCarry received the most recent award in a ceremony last month.

In addition to honoring the recipients, the ceremony serves as the annual Arbor Day observance in Issaquah.

The city is required to observe the occasion in order continue as a Tree City USA.

The honor from the Arbor Day Foundation recognizes cities dedicated to community forestry. Issaquah has been such a city for 17 consecutive years.

The foundation also bestowed a Tree City USA Growth Award on Issaquah last year, because the city demonstrated a process in generating publicity for tree-preservation efforts, educating residents and managing the urban forest.

If you go

Ruth Kees Grove dedication ceremony

  • 10 a.m. April 16.
  • Attendees should park in the lot at Squak Valley Park South, 10319 Issaquah-Hobart Road S.E., and follow the markers to the ceremony site.
  • Participants should bring gloves and prepare for the weather if they intend to participate in the planting. Call 837-3322 for more information.

City extends honor to former councilwoman

Former Councilwoman Maureen McCarry received double honors March 21, as she accepted accolades for environmental efforts and the city proclaimed the day as Maureen McCarry Day.

Mayor Ava Frisinger and Swedish Medical Center issued the proclamation for McCarry’s efforts to bring a hospital campus to the Issaquah Highlands. The hospital is scheduled to open in July.

The mayor announced the proclamation after McCarry received the top environmental honor in Issaquah, the Ruth Kees Environmental Award for a Sustainable Community.

The proclamation called on residents to thank McCarry for service to the community.

Following the Kees announcement, McCarry’s husband, Tom Knollmann, read from remarks she had prepared for the ceremony.

“When we last sat together, I told my husband that the worst part of my challenge was the inability to say thank you,” Knollmann read. “That has not changed, and as Lou Gehrig said, ‘Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth,’ and I, too, feel I am lucky.”

McCarry resigned in December as symptoms from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, progressed.

“Thank you again from the bottom of my heart, and know I feel the joy that Lou Gehrig expressed on a similar day when he said, ‘I might have been given a bad break, but I’ve got an awful lot to live for,’” Knollmann read.

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