More than 200 volunteers came to the city of Mercer Island’s first Arbor Day event on Oct. 20 to celebrate its Tree City USA designation, including Mayor Debbie Bertlin and King County Councilmember Claudia Balducci. Photo courtesy of Julie Underwood

More than 200 volunteers came to the city of Mercer Island’s first Arbor Day event on Oct. 20 to celebrate its Tree City USA designation, including Mayor Debbie Bertlin and King County Councilmember Claudia Balducci. Photo courtesy of Julie Underwood

Mercer Island celebrates start of tree planting season with Arbor Day

Volunteers planted more than 1,200 trees and natives at the city’s event.

Hundreds of volunteers joined the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust and the city of Mercer Island for the annual Tree Planting Celebration at Luther Burbank Park on Oct. 20.

The city of Mercer Island was recognized as a designated Tree City USA, and celebrated its first Arbor Day. It also celebrated Carter Subaru’s 10th year of partnership and support of the Greenway Trust, with which Mercer Island has a 14-year partnership.

Volunteers came together to plant more than 1,200 native trees and shrubs to improve and enhance urban forest habitat, and local businesses donated lunch.

“When you plant a native tree, you are building the sustainable future of our region,” stated Greenway Trust executive director Jon Hoekstra. “Our Tree Planting Celebration is an incredible opportunity for the whole family to have fun outdoors together and make a positive impact.”

Mercer Island joins 3,400 communities across America that have made the commitment to becoming a Tree City USA, according to a city and Mountains to Sound Greenway press release. To earn a Tree City USA designations, a city has to meet four core standards of sound urban forestry management: maintaining a tree board or department, having a community tree ordinance, spending at least $2 per capita on urban forestry and celebrating Arbor Day.

Obtaining the distinction not only recognizes the ways the city of Mercer Island supports trees and urban forestry, it also makes the city eligible for grant opportunities to support on-the-ground forest restoration work and policy development.

Since 2008, Carter Subaru and Volkswagen have planted more than 175,000 native trees in the Mountains to Sound Greenway. Through that commitment to reduce their carbon footprint, Carter Subaru and Volkswagen planted one tree for every test drive and an additional three trees for every car sold. During a lifespan of about 75 years, those four trees will absorb the approximate amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the average car driven in one year.

See www.mtsgreenway.org for more.

Alaine Sommargren, the city’s natural resources manager, shows off a plaque designating Mercer Island as a Tree City USA. Photo courtesy of Julie Underwood

Alaine Sommargren, the city’s natural resources manager, shows off a plaque designating Mercer Island as a Tree City USA. Photo courtesy of Julie Underwood

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