Hundreds of Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts and Webelos turned out Saturday to plant 4,200 ponderosa pines at the Parksmith Road interchange of the North Spokane Corridor near Mead.
Some made it a family effort.
In the Bates family, dad Jacob was in charge of digging the holes. Seven-year-old Jonah, 3-year-old Candice and their mother, Tabby, worked together to put each small seedling in a hole, fill it with dirt and water it.
Jonah was working to earn a badge and had to plant 10 trees, but together the family planted 30. “They gave us 10 apiece, too,” Jacob Bates said.
“It’s more work than I thought,” Jonah Bates said.
Twin 10-year-old brothers Dylan and Tyler Fiorino, of Spokane, were happy to get out and dig in the dirt, something their grandmother doesn’t usually allow. “She tells us not to get dirty, but we do anyway,” Dylan said.
Dylan planted 23 trees and Tyler 20. “It was very fun,” Tyler said. “I love being a Boy Scout.”
Korbyn Edmondson, 14, came to earn community service hours so he can take a trip to a High Adventure Camp in New Mexico. He worked in a team with three other Scouts. “We planted about 80 trees between the four of us,” he said. “We were a machine.”
The planting day was organized by Spokane Ponderosa, which worked with the Washington state Department of Transportation to select where the trees should be planted on the DOT-owned land. Stakes were driven into the ground to show where each hole should be dug. Each volunteer got a quick lesson on how to plant the seedlings and then was sent off with a bundle of trees, planting soil and water.
The goal in planting the trees is to beautify the area with a native tree that won’t require any maintenance, Spokane Ponderosa President Larry Stone said. “It’s really sad that our highways in Spokane are not landscaped,” he said.
The stakes marking the new trees were densely packed in an arc following the road. They’re planted so close together because some will not survive, Stone said. In future years, his organization will come back and thin the trees if needed. “We’d rather thin than come back and plant again,” he said.
About 400 people signed up for the planting day in advance, and Stone said there were easily that many there Saturday. “We want to get people involved in the community,” he said. “Lots of adults came out and planted today.”