The Big Dig: Arbor Day 2007 on the Greenway

It was hard to see the trees for the volunteers at this year’s Arbor Day on the Midtown Greenway.   For long-time participants, the 7th Annual MCW Arbor Day will surely count as one of the best yet.  Flawless weather, a fabulous turnout, and seamless event planning and coordination combined to make for a near-perfect event. Commissioner Peter McLaughlin led the kickoff at the Anne Sullivan School, which included remarks from Council Members Robert Lilligren and Gary Schiff, Wells Fargo’s Carolyn Roby, Tree Trust Chair Dave Hawes, and Eric Hart of the Midtown Greenway Coalition and the Longfellow Community Council. 

Commissioner McLaughlin gave a special recognition to Larry Blackstad, the recently-retired head of Hennepin County Community Works, for his contributions to the Community Works program and the Midtown Greenway over the years. An unofficial count of more than 250 volunteers made quick work of planting 350 native trees and shrubs at four sites along Phase III of the Greenway.   As in years past, the event drew large crews of employees from corporate partners, including Wells Fargo, Ryan Companies, and Xcel Energy.   Neighborhood residents and volunteers from area businesses, churches, and service organizations also turned out in force.  Volunteer tree care advisers and master gardeners from Tree Trust were on hand to educate volunteers about proper planting techniques.  By 11:00 a.m., the coffee was gone, volunteers were heading home, crews were packing up shovels, and the Arbor Day committee was already starting to talk about 2008.

Thanks to our funders and contributors for this year’s Arbor Day event: Allina Hospitals and Clinics/Abbott Northwestern Hospital
Ryan Companies
Wells Fargo
Target Corporation
Xcel Energy
Midtown Greenway Coalition
Longfellow Community Council
Hennepin County Regional Rail Authority
Hennepin County
Tree Trust
City of Minneapolis
Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board
Seward Neighborhood Group
Peace Coffee
Birch Clothing
Western Roofing Supply Co.
Commissioner Peter McLaughlin at the Arbor Day kickoff.  Also pictured:  Council Member Robert Lilligren

Commissioner Peter McLaughlin at the Arbor Day kickoff.  Also pictured:  Council Member Robert Lilligren

HCRRA’s John Tripp, a long-time Arbor Day advocate and one of the event's key organizers.

HCRRA’s John Tripp, a long-time Arbor Day advocate and one of the event's key organizers.

Wells Fargo’s Carolyn Roby addresses the crowd.  Also pictured:  Eric Hart, Midtown Greenway Coalition / Longfellow Community Council; Council Member Robert Lilligren.

Wells Fargo’s Carolyn Roby addresses the crowd.  Also pictured:  Eric Hart, Midtown Greenway Coalition / Longfellow Community Council; Council Member Robert Lilligren.

Ryan Companies crew members hard at work.

Ryan Companies crew members hard at work.

A tremendous turnout of neighborhood residents at Brackett Park.

A tremendous turnout of neighborhood residents at Brackett Park.