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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Volunteers plant 1,000 trees in Hangman Creek Watershed

Fall foliage lit by bursts of brilliant sunshine provided a stunning backdrop as children jumped into huge leaf piles at Finch Arboretum on Saturday.

Meanwhile, nearby, other families did their part to ensure there would be more trees sprouting leaves come spring.

Saturday marked the Lands Council’s fourth annual Reforest Spokane Day. About 250 volunteers gathered at five locations in the Hangman Creek Watershed. Kat Hall, conservation programs director said, “The goal is to get the community outside to help us plant about 1,000 trees and have fun while doing it.”

At the Garden Springs Creek site, just across the street from the arboretum, it sounded like that goal was reached. John Wilkinson, one of a dozen or so volunteers from Etailz (formerly Green Cupboards), leaned on his shovel and said, “Being outdoors, planting trees equals a good time.”

Thor Tenold, 5, lugged a bucket to the group with one hand, and carried an apple to munch on in the other.

“More mulch!” he announced.

Nearby, four Campfire families from Club Running Deer carted willow, alder and aspen saplings to the creek.

The trees planted at the five sites will form buffer strips. “The trees will improve water quality in three ways,” Hall said. “They will stabilize the soil, preventing erosion, they will help filter contaminants, and they’ll create shade, which cools the water temperature, making a better habitat for fish and other critters.”

Organizers hope that volunteers will return during the dry summer and early fall to help water the trees they planted on Saturday.

Like any investment, this one will take time to mature and reach its full potential. “We’re not going to see huge improvement immediately,” Hall said. “It will take a year or two to build our buffers and canopy density.”

That’s something Alexander Scott, from Gonzaga Environmental Law Clinic, looks forward to seeing. Scott worked alongside his wife, planting trees at Garden Springs Creek.

“This will directly impact water quality,” he said as he looked at the newly planted saplings.”Ten or 15 years down the road these trees will improve the quality of the Spokane River.”

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