Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark Recognizes Seven Eastern Washington Cities

On Friday April 27, representatives from all of the communities in Spokane County that earned Tree City USA awards gathered at the Spokane Conservation District for a regional Arbor Day celebration. Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark was on hand to present the Tree City USA awards. Employees of Avista Utilities were also present to receive the company’s first Tree Line USA award.

The communities on hand celebrated a range of years in which they had earned the Tree City designation.  Rockford CPL and Rockford Mayorwas celebrating its first award; Fairchild Air Force Base celebrated its 18th award; and the following communities were somewhere in between: Cheney, Millwood, Fairfield, Spokane Liberty Lake, and Airway Heights.

The event started off with Commissioner Goldmark talking about the importance of trees in our urban environment and the benefits they provide. He also spoke about fire prevention efforts currently taking place in Spokane County. The awards were then handed out by Commissioner Goldmark while Garth Davis from the Spokane Conservation District spoke about what each of the communities and Avista had accomplished in the past year that qualified them for their Tree City USA awards. This was a great opportunity for neighboring communities to find out what was going on in other community forestry programs, and give them ideas for their programs.

Nancy MacKerrow
Nancy MacKerrow holds up a picture of her daughter, who inspired the Susie Forest memorial tree program.

Following the award presentations Nancy MacKerrow from the Susie Forest project led the group in planting a memorial tree, donated by the Spokane County Conservation District. The tree species, a cockspur hawthorn, was selected by Avista Utilities as a tree that thrives in the region and matures at a size that doesn’t interfere with electrical power lines. It was proclaimed the “Utility Compatible Tree of the Year” by the City of Spokane.

As part of the tree planting ceremony, attendees wrote their thoughts about the day on biodegradable tree-grams and hung them on the new Susie Forest tree. The idea of the biodegradable tree-grams is that when the papers degrade the tree-grams, along with the thoughts written on them, become a part of the tree. To learn more, visit the Susie Forest website.