Bellevue's estimated 1.4 million trees provide health and economic benefits, increase property values and traffic safety, reduce crime, limit stormwater runoff and improve water quality.
The public is invited to celebrate trees and the environment during the city's annual Arbor Day-Earth Day Family Festival happening Saturday, April 22, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m., at Lewis Creek Park, 5808 Lakemont Blvd. SE.
The festivities, including a ceremonial tree planting and several volunteer projects, will mark the city's 26th year of recognition as a "Tree City USA" by the Arbor Day Foundation.
At 11:30 a.m., the festival digs in with the ceremonial tree planting, which will feature a presentation of colors by VFW Post 2995, recognition of volunteers and groups that support environmental efforts in the community, and a prize drawing.
Following the ceremony, there will be free family activities, including eco-demonstrations, hosted by local environmental stewardship organizations. Participants of all ages are welcome. Children can get their own Arbor Day-Earth Day "passport" from a ranger and travel through various eco-stations. After learning about each station, children can have their passport stamped; completed passports can be presented for a prize.
In addition to the ceremony and Family Festival activities, more than 300 volunteers will participate throughout the morning in park enhancement projects.
History of Arbor Day and Earth Day
Arbor Day started in 1872 in Nebraska when Julius Morton, a member of Nebraska's State Board of Agriculture, proposed a day to plant and appreciate trees. In 1970, Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin founded Earth Day to raise awareness of environmental issues.
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