At Idaho’s official state ceremony for Arbor Day today, a group of 4th, 5th and 6th graders from Taft Elementary School in Boise read poems they wrote about trees, state Controller Donna Jones signed a giant check to represent the $26.9 million in forest receipts from state endowment lands that helps fund Idaho schools, and Lily Cuoio, a student at Jefferson Elementary in Pocatello, was honored for winning this year’s Arbor Day poster contest. Plus, the city of Boise was recognized for winning “Tree City USA” recognition for a 30th straight year, a mark only 37 cities in the nation have reached. “We are not only a city of trees, we are a city for trees,” city forester Brian Jorgenson told the group. Lt. Gov. Jim Risch, who’s acting governor today, told the youngsters that trees clean the air, provide shade, hold water and “do lots of things that human beings need.” Then Risch joined the Taft Elementary students and Secretary of State Ben Ysursa, left, to help plant a Kwanzan cherry tree in Capitol Park, one in a line of trees that have been planted in the park each year on Arbor Day.
Also in honor of Arbor Day, the Idaho Forest Products Commission is giving away 28,000 blue spruce seedlings today so people can plant their own trees. They’re available at any Home Depot store in Idaho, Ontario, Ore., or Spokane; FedEx Kinko’s stores in Idaho and Pullman, Wash.; the Boise Co-op; and the Flicks and Egyptian theaters in Boise.