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Arbor Day attracts residents, visitors alike to Jensen Park
ARLINGTON Jensen Park got in the spirit of Arbor Day April 12, as Arlington City Council and city employees were joined by area residents and visitors in planting trees.
In addition to planting two Sweetgum trees in the park, the city also dispensed free Oregon ash seedlings to attendees.
"I'm always furious when I see a tree cut down," said Arlington Mayor Margaret Larson. "But Bill Blake has assured me that, most of the time, three new trees are planted in its place."
As Larson proclaimed Arbor Day for the city of Arlington, she cited the benefits of planting trees, such as the fact that they reduce topsoil erosion, result in cleaner air, regulate temperatures, provide both renewable resources and wildlife habitats, and beautify the community.
Blake, the natural resources director for the city of Arlington, was heartened by the number of attendees for the tree-planting event.
"We've got a growing number of people who are willing to step up as stewards and take care of the environment," Blake said.
The second tree-planting experienced a brief delay when diggers hit a PVC irrigation pipe, but Blake assured them it would be a relatively quick and cheap fix, before directing them to dig the hole a foot or two away from the pipe.
Even after this misstep, city of Arlington Parks Commissioner Bob Leonard described it as "a perfect day" for Arbor Day.
"We don't get weather like this all the time," Leonard said, indicating the day's warm, sunny, clear skies. "It's days like today, with the kids outside and playing, that remind you how important our parks are, and you can't have parks without trees."
The event drew attendees from just down the block to all the way down I-5. Neighborhood girls Katie Phillips and Rylie Corbin grabbed smaller shovels of their own to help dig the holes for the trees, while Arlington resident Bob Cox took a seedling with him.
"I'm just doing my part to help my own small part of the world," Cox said.
Former Arlington resident Scott Clark returned to his old town to help Blake, whom he described as a mentor who had educated him on environmental issues. As for Ron Howser, he came all the way from Lynnwood to collect his own seedlings, after he read about the event in the news.
"I have an interest in the Snohomish County environment," Howser said. "My backyard is a sanctuary for birds."
City Council member Graham Smith credited the support of local organizations such as the Kiwanis and Rotary with helping to improve and maintain areas such as Jensen Park, and fellow Council member Dick Butner's son was so enthusiastic about the city's Arbor Day event that he attended before he learned that his father would be digging the holes.
"Bob [Leonard] just said they were holding a tree-planting here," said Larry Butner, program supervisor for Pierce County Public Works and Utilities. "I didn't even know my dad would be here. It's good to see public officials working," he laughed.