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County GOP plants trees at Ebey Waterfront Park

MARYSVILLE — An estimated 25 volunteers, including both children and adults, arrived at the Ebey Waterfront Park at 9 a.m. April 25, with shovels and saplings in hand, to plant more than 450 plants, as part of the Snohomish County Republican Party's monthly activities in association with the city of Marysville Parks and Recreation Department.

Hannah Gustafson, of the membership committee of the Snohomish County Republican Party in Marysville, coordinated the planting of an estimated 50 trees, as well as an assortment of small bushes and flowers, in both the wetlands and the areas above the waterline at the park.

Gustafson spoke of the importance of caring for the environment, as well as ensuring that parks such as the Ebey Waterfront remain clean and safe areas for members of the community to "enjoy the beauty of our world."

Marysville resident Chris Iler has taken part in the Snohomish County Republican Party's activities in association with the city of Marysville Parks and Recreation Department since they started "quite a while ago," and he sees such activities as a means of "living our values" by supporting the surrounding community.

"We're starting at the grass-roots level, literally," Iler laughed. "It's been really fun. I like the camaraderie of it. A lot of times, you get to meet new people."

At their previous activity, this included a group of children who happened to show up at the scene of the volunteers' garbage cleanup.

"We had a blast," Iler said. "We just took these random kids all across the park. We got barrels of garbage out of all these hidden spots. It was hilarious."

Patrick Leighton was one of the young people who took part in the tree-planting, but he and his fellow U.S. Naval Sea Cadets had planned their attendance well in advance.

"I helped plant some of the plants, and I watered and double-checked to make sure they were all put in properly," said Leighton, a member of the Gadsden Battalion of the U.S. Naval Sea Cadets Corps. "I wore a camelback, so I just opened it up and started spraying some water down on the freshly-laid plants."

While the Sea Cadets receive consideration for their community service, Leighton also enjoys picking up trash and being active outdoors.

"It's a good thing in general for the community," Leighton said. "We were working close to the water, so this helps keep the water and air fresh."

Gustafson noted that next month, the Snohomish County Republican Party is planning to plant flowers at the entrance of Marysville for Make A Difference Day, which has yet to be scheduled by the city of Marysville Parks and Recreation Department, due to late-blooming plants caused by persistent poor weather.

"It's great for the children," Gustafson said. "It's a learning experience. I just feel like it's really important to teach our kids. This is what we believe in, and getting the community involved is excellent."

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