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BOISE An Arbor Day celebration was held at the Idaho Capitol today.

Secretary of State Ben Ysursa hosted the ceremony which took place inside on second floor rotunda due to inclement weather.

The rain did not dampen the spirits of those in attendance, including our own Jamie Grey and a group of school children from Taft Elementary School in Boise. The students presented poems and joined Jamie in reading the book, Why Would Anyone Cut a Tree Down.

Winners of the statewide Look to the Forest student photography contest received their awards.

Ysursa also presented the 2014 Endowment Fund check for $48,884,800.

With 40 percent of our state covered in trees, Idaho has a lot to celebrate on Arbor Day, said Betty Munis, Idaho Forest Products Commission director. Trees are not only beautiful and renewable, working forests also provide jobs to more than 19,600 Idahoans and earn over $3.5 billion for our state and communities. Plus, we all benefit from the clean water, wildlife habitat, recreation opportunities and protection from catastrophic wildfires that working forests provide.

Tree City USA Awards were received by Boise, Caldwell, Eagle, Kuna, Meridian and Nampa.

The last Friday in April is set aside to celebrate Arbor Day and call attention to the importance of planting and caring for trees in our communities and forests. It began in Nebraska in the 1870s, and is celebrated in all 50 states and in many other countries.

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