Gem State Roundup

75 sites in Idaho will give away 20,000 free seedlings to celebrate Arbor Day. Here’s how to get yours.

By: - April 26, 2023 2:34 pm
University of Idaho College of Natural Resources alumni Denny Dawes and nursery director Andrew Nelson

University of Idaho College of Natural Resources alumni Denny Dawes and nursery director Andrew Nelson look at seedlings at the University of Idaho’s Pitkin Forest Nursery. (Courtesy of the University of Idaho)

To celebrate Arbor Day, the Idaho Forest Products Commission will give away 20,000 Idaho-native tree seedlings on Friday that were grown at University of Idaho’s Franklin H. Pitkin Forest Nursery, according to a UI press release. Treasure Valley residents are also invited to attend an Arbor Day celebration Friday at the Idaho State Museum.

The coniferous blue spruce seedlings will be given away at 75 distribution sites, which are listed online, across the state on Friday.

“Trees are harvested to improve forest health, reduce fire risk or make the wood and paper products we all use,” said Jennifer Okerlund, director of the Idaho Forest Products Commission, in the release. “It’s this management that makes our forests sustainable for future generations. In Idaho, for every tree harvested, seven more are growing for the future.”

The university’s nursery, staffed by experienced horticulturists and U of I students, has sold seedlings to the Forest Products Commission since at least 2016, the press release said. The Idaho Forest Products Commission purchased the seedlings using funds from the state’s customized Timber License Plate and industry support, and donates them for free to Idahoans, according to the press release.

The commission, founded by the Idaho Legislature in 1992, promotes information statewide about forest land management and products.

Free seedlings, refreshments, informational booths, presentations and a ceremonial tree planting will also take place beginning at 10 a.m. Friday at Boise’s Julia Davis Park. Learning opportunities will be provided by organizers from the Idaho Forest Products Commission, Project Learning Tree, Idaho State Historical Society, Idaho Department of Lands, Boise National Forest, Idaho State Parks and Recreation, Treasure Valley Canopy Network, The Nature Conservancy and Boise City Forestry.

“Idaho is our uniquely beautiful home, and trees are state’s great renewable resource, sustainably managed for the future,” Okerlund said in the release. “This Arbor Day, we hope you will look to Idaho’s forests for all the things they contribute to where we live and our way of life.”

View the Idaho Forest Products Commission’s full Arbor Day events lineup online.


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Christina Lords
Christina Lords

Christina Lords is the editor-in-chief of the Idaho Capital Sun and has been a professional journalist covering local and state government since graduating from the University of Idaho in 2009. A Pocatello native, Lords is a fifth-generation Idahoan who served as a reporter at the Moscow-Pullman Daily News and the Post Register in Idaho Falls and served as assistant editor for the Idaho Press in Nampa. She also led the Idaho Statesman in Boise for two years before turning to nonprofit journalism.