Despite wind, rain and snow, about 250 people came out to plant trees and pull invasive weeds in and around Lewis Creek Park Saturday for the Earth Day-Arbor Day Family Festival.
The volunteer work in the morning was followed by a tree planting ceremony at the park presided by Mayor Grant Degginger, Deputy Mayor Claudia Balducci and Council member Conrad Lee.
"I was very surprised to learn that we are part of a celebration here today that has been going on since 1872," Balducci noted, referring to the year Arbor Day was first celebrated in Nebraska. "I wonder in all the Earth Day-Arbor Days here whether anyone has celebrated on a day like today. We may be breaking new ground."
The weather forced several activities indoors, at the visitors center, but people still flew kites outside.
Posters created by Bellevue fifth-grade students to raise community awareness of the importance of trees in the city were on display.
In 2007, more than 300 volunteers, including groups representing scouts, church groups and businesses such as REI, Starbucks Coffee and Smith Barney, planted more than 5,000 trees and shrubs in South Bellevue, the Bellevue Golf Course and the Lake Hills Greenbelt.
This year, the Earth Day-Arbor Day Festival and community volunteer projects were made possible with support from many individuals and businesses, including Starbucks, Merril Lynch and Whole Foods Market.
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