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Arbor Day has long been celebrated nationally, but in Inner Southeast, it's year two

DAVID F. ASHTON - With a little help from a group called Expedition Old Growth, Lily Lockard climbed a tree in Mt. Scott Park on Arbor Day. Finding the place excellent for the purpose, after holding an Arbor Day celebration for the first time at Mt. Scott Park last year, Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) again hosted "Arbor Day 2018" at this wooded hilltop park in the Mt. Scott-Arleta neighborhood on April 21.

"At PP&R, we want our programs to be accessible to all Portlanders, and this amazing park is located close to the actual center of the city's boundaries," said its organizer, Urban Forestry Education Stewardship Coordinator Dan Gleason.

"Having the festival in this location allows us to bring people from all over the greater Portland area; and, when they arrive, visitors are finding many multicultural events and services," Gleason told THE BEE. "Another reason for hosting the city's Arbor Day celebration here is that there a lot of nice trees in this park, making it an ideal spot for a festival – set underneath the towering Douglas firs, where people have an 'up close and personal connection' to trees growing in Portland parks.

"And, in addition to having our arborists here answering questions for guests, nonprofit organizations are providing visitors with a wide range of environmental information – including how to protect salmon, recycling, and how to be sustainable in everyday life," Gleason remarked.

Instead of amusement rides, visitors were given the opportunity to rise high into some of the park's trees – with the help of an organization called "Expedition Old Growth", whose staff helped both kids and adults ascend as high as 80 feet into some of the park's trees, without damaging either the trees or the people.

"The best part? Seeing all the people come out and have questions answered – and watching kids discover and explore, as they learn a lot about trees," Gleason smiled.

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