Ten Years of Susie Trees

Ten years ago I stood in front of Witter Pool, so excited to be planting a tree in Susie’s name, a tree to honor my stillborn grandson Steven Michael Miller.
There were city officials, state officials, a biking club, a walking club, family, and tv cameras. We were bringing the importance of street trees to the public. It was a wonderful day even though I imagebotched the tv interview and it was barely mentioned on the news that night. We planted the Tupelo and off we all went.

No one thought about other trees except me. I was thinking about the tree that inspired me – the maple that would be planted in the Japanese Garden and the tree in Shadle Park for Susie’s friends’ stillborn, Grace Susie Bain. I thought about those trees and the plaque these trees earned for Susie in City Hall. I thought that would be my plantings for Susie.

This week, on the anniversary of that planting, I stood in Friendship Park beside Spokane’s 251st tree. (And there are three groves in the city, too.) It was a small group, imagethe city arborist, a curious citizen who wanted to see what this was all about, a member of the Ponderosa Society, a library friend, and a woman walking her dog. We finished the planting, added tree-grams, a bookmark, a tree identification tag to the branches and stone by the roots. Then we ate our cookies.

So much has changed in ten years. – a real dedication ceremony for the people who “own” the tree. There are no longer just three trees, there is a Susie Forest.

So what will happen in the next ten years? Can we more than double those 251 trees in Spokane? Can we go from almost 400 trees around the world to more than a thousand? Let’s make it happen!

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