Burien Honors Arbor Day & Dottie Harper With Tree Planting

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Photos and Story by Janet Grella

A small group of people from the Burien Arts, city and Parks communities, as well as friends of the late Dottie Harper gathered on Wednesday in Dottie Harper Park to plant a commemorative tree in Dottie’s honor.

By proclamation of the city council, Mayor Joan McGilton proclaimed April 8th as Arbor Day in Burien. She also shared a story about Dottie and said from the parks to the arts:

“Dottie made it happen in Burien.”

Micki McNaughton of the Washington State Department of Natural Resources presented Mayor McGilton with a Tree City USA Flag Award. This is the sixth year that Burien has been acknowledged as a Tree City. The Tree City flag will hang at the Burien Community Center.

Miriam Curns, left, and Helen Kludt, friends of Dottie Harper, attended the ceremony.

According to Michael Lafreniere, Director of Parks Recreation and Cultural Services for Burien, a city has to meet requirements from the Arbor Day Foundation to be a Tree City USA, including:

  • A Tree Board Department
  • A Tree Care Ordinance
  • A Community Forestry Program with a minimum annual budget of $2.00 per capita (includes tree and tree related efforts)
  • An Arbor Day Observance and Proclamaion

Erin Williamson of the Burien Arts Association remarked that although she never knew Dottie Harper, she has heard her called “passionate” and a “firecracker”.

The tree is a white flowering dogwood and was selected by Burien Parks as it fairly showy and will provide a great contrast with other deciduous trees in the park, according to Park Supervisor Myron Clinton.

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