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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Continuing Spokane’s legacy of trees

Neighbors, kids, mother all part of planting effort

A group of neighbors, environmentally minded children and a woman memorializing her daughter will join together Saturday morning to plant trees and shrubs, beautifying a South Hill median and building community.

The project on 35th Avenue between Freya and Rebecca streets is the brainchild of Marilyn Lloyd, who has lived along the street for more than 40 years.

Lloyd worked with the Spokane County Conservation District, organizers of the EnviroKids Club and a local mom who has planted more than 80 trees in honor of her daughter.

The project to plant ponderosa pines, larch trees and snowberry bushes will enhance two blocks of the median stretching from Regal Street to Havana Street along an old railroad right-of-way.

Lloyd said that many people use the 40-foot-wide median to walk their dogs and exercise, but others park their cars on it and abuse it.

“It has been left to wrack and ruin. I thought it was time for us to take some pride and upgrade the median,” she said. “My idea is that maybe other double blocks will catch on and do the same.”

The tree planting is one of many activities open to the roughly 400 children who belong to the EnviroKids Club.

The club, organized by a consortium of local government and nonprofit groups dedicated to protecting natural resources, is free to join. Participants in kindergarten through sixth grade are sent quarterly newsletters and can participate in activities and complete puzzles and other projects to earn points toward prizes, said Margee Chambers, public information specialist for the Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency.

The next EnviroKids event will be during America Recycles Day on Nov. 11 at Mobius Kids, said Ann Murphy, with Spokane Regional Solid Waste System, another EnviroKids organizing member.

When Nancy MacKerrow heard about Lloyd’s effort, she eagerly agreed to participate.

MacKerrow has been planting “Susie trees” in honor of her 36-year-old daughter, Susie Stephens, who was killed in 2002 when a bus driver hit her as she crossed a street in St. Louis in a marked crosswalk with the “walk” signal.

MacKerrow has used the settlement money from her daughter’s death to honor her by planting more than 80 trees in Spokane and other cities and to support bicycle and walking programs.

Stephens was a bicycle and pedestrian advocate deeply concerned with the health of people and the environment, MacKerrow said.

“I really want everyone in Spokane to think about trees and the legacy we have in Spokane because of all the trees planted by people 60 or 80 years ago,” she said. “We can plant trees now, and what we’ve received we are passing on to future generations.”

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