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Monroe plans to honor trees, take Christmass tree donations

MONROE — Tree lovers are celebrating Monroe’s most illustrious specimens and looking to add more to the city’s collection with two new programs.
Beginning this winter, families who use live trees for Christmas can donate them to the city for replanting after the holiday.
The city is also taking nominations through Dec. 31 for another new program creating a Heritage Tree registry.
The city also plans to apply for official Tree City USA status by the end of the year, said Parks and Recreation director Mike Farrell. If approved, Monroe would join 92 other cities in the state.
To donate a Christmas tree, Farrell said it only takes a quick call to the Parks Department to coordinate a drop off or pick up. 
Staff will give the trees star treatment: caring for them, selecting the perfect spot based on their growing characteristics, and letting donors know where they’re planted, Farrell said.
If you have a favorite tree or know one with a backstory, the parks department would like to hear from you, too. 
Trees can be as significant as any historical building, said parks board member Tami Kinney.
The program cultivates more than flora.
“I love the idea families could go out on a Saturday and help find the coolest trees … it gives kids and families a way of becoming part of the community by helping us find and nominate those trees,” she said.
One unique story has already come to light thanks to the program. Kinney recently received an envelope with $100 donation to the Monroe Historical Society and a note.
“My husband planted a horse chestnut tree at 305 Main St., Monroe, by the flagpole. He was 6-years-old at the time and living at that address with his father and mother, ‘Dutch’ and Elfrieda Pfeiffer. It was 1940, so the tree is quite old and unfamiliar to this area,” wrote Elaine and Grant Pfeiffer.
It’s those stories Kinney hopes to capture. She draws inspiration from Snohomish’s tree walk and guide, with its tales of pioneers bearing seeds in covered wagons.
The city will announce its first crop of heritage trees in April to commemorate Arbor Day and Earth Day.
For more information on these programs, call the parks department at 360-863-4559 or go to www.tinyurl.com/MonroeTrees

  

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