WaskowitzTree-OKelley-sm

Marie O’Kelley stands by one of the winning Waskowitz trees that she and her brother planted in the 1960s.


A tree planted by Mikeal Roose in 1962 was the winner in the Waskowitz Big Tree contest. The winner and runners-up were announced at a recent Highline School Board meeting.
From the 1960s through the 1980s, sixth-graders in the Highline School District came home from their week at Camp Waskowitz with a fir seedling to plant in their yards as a reminder of lessons about forestry and conservation. Many of those trees still dot our landscape and have become a significant part of our local urban forest.
The Waskowitz Foundation and the Highline Historical Society co-sponsored this contest to capture stories about this unique environmental legacy in the Highline area and to draw attention to the environmental education program provided by Camp Waskowitz, which is still owned and run by the Highline School District. The contest was underwritten by Emerald Tree Service.
The winning tree is now under the care of Roose’s sister, Marie O’Kelley, who planted a Waskowitz tree of her own in 1964. (Her tree came in at 4th place in the contest). The trees were evaluated by University of Washington graduate students in the School of Environmental and Forestry Sciences, using procedures and a point system determined by American Forests, the oldest national nonprofit conservation organization in the country.
Other Waskowitz trees that placed in the contest  were owned by the Walter Blair family (planted in 1968), the Fred Ronhaau family (planted in 1965), Joan Marie (Anderson) King (planted in 1967) and the Todd Gibson family (planted by Susan Van Ackeran Guerrera in 1974).
The stories and photographs that resulted from this contest will be placed in the Highline Historical Society’s archives. The Society plans to do an exhibit on significant trees of Highline, including the Waskowitz trees, in 2015.
For more information visit www.highlinehistory.org.]]>