Orondo celebrates spring

Arbor Day Volunteers at Orondo from left to right: Bob Johnson, Linda Johnson, Mike Schmitz, Cecelia Tracy and Penny Bickford. (Empire Press photo/Darlene Paterson)


By Darlene Paterson
Empire Press Correspondent

Several events brought members of the Orondo community together on April 14.

Arbor Day Celebration

Orondo Community members choosing trees for their property. (Empire Press photo/Darlene Paterson)

The Greater Wenatchee Arbor Day Celebration took place in the parking lot beside the Orondo Post Office. Bob and Linda Johnson, site managers, along with their neighbor Mike Schmitz and Master Gardeners Penny Bickford and Cecilia Tracy manned the site.

The Johnsons serve on the Wenatchee committee for Arbor Day. “We are a non-profit organization,” Bob Johnson said. “About a dozen of us meet maybe five times a year to make plans for Arbor Day. We come to a common agreement as to what the tree selections will be each year and choose two or three Evergreen, cone-bearing varieties, along with a selection of broad-leaf, deciduous trees.”

“This year we have two cone-bearing varieties,” Johnson continued. “The Western Larch is not quite evergreen because it loses its needles. For a while in the fall, it is the most beautiful cone-bearing tree because the needles turn a golden color before they fall off. The more common name for the Western Larch is the Tamarack.”

The second cone-bearing tree offered by the committee this year, the Austrian Pine, grows up to 60 feet. When planting taller tree varieties it is important to think about location. “We have a motto,” Johnson said. “‘Plant the right tree for the right place.’ Trees planted too close to power lines or a house can be a problem.”

Volunteers at the booth assist those who come to purchase a tree, offered at the reasonable price of $2.00, in deciding what varieties will best suit their property. Customers are given instruction and literature on how to plant a tree.

“You could just grab a shovel, dig a hole, drop the tree in and pray,” Johnson laughs, “But there is more to it. It is comparable to what we do in our orchards. You have to prepare the natural soil, keeping it loose and moist, spread the roots of the tree, and use very little fertilizer. These are the kinds of things we give instructions on.”

Other trees offered at the tables included Purple Lilac, Sugar Maple, Red Flowering Currant, White Bark Paper Birch and Serviceberry. “Those blotches of white on the hillside behind Orondo are Serviceberry,” Johnson commented. “They are common and indigenous.”

Arbor Day takes place yearly in the United States and Canada. It may not be the same day in every community. Julius Sterling Morton, a newspaper publisher in Nebraska, began efforts to educate the public about the value of trees, how they enrich the soil and conserve its moisture, back in 1872. The first Arbor Day was held April 10, 1872.

The purpose of the event is to teach about the value of trees to our lives, as well as provide trees for people to plant. Johnson joined the organization when the Wenatchee branch was formed 18 years ago because of his interest in the conservation and preservation of trees. The Johnsons brought the celebration to Orondo thirteen years ago.

A packing party takes place on Thursday night before the big event. The trees come in bundles of several hundred from various nurseries around the area. This year they came to Wenatchee from a nursery at the University of Idaho in Moscow and Cascadian Conservation District.

Master Gardeners Penny Bickford and Cecilia Tracy helped with the distribution and acted as consultants for the event.

“This is part of our volunteer hours as master gardeners,” Bickford said. “We advise people when they have questions about what or where to plant.”

“People ask questions and we get to provide assistance in choosing the right plants for their property according to sunlight, water supply and space,” Tracy added. “I enjoy getting to say hello to our neighbors and working with this nice group of people.”

Linda Johnson concluded by saying, It is a beautiful day for the event. We are glad it is not pouring down rain.”

Along with literature handed out about trees, they handed out information about the 2018 WSU Master Gardener Conference next September 26-29 in Wenatchee presented by the Master Gardener Foundation of Chelan County and open to all gardeners.

Orondo Community Church yard sale

A large array of items displayed at the Orondo Community Church yard sale (Empire Press photo/Darlene Paterson)

Down the street in the parking lot of Orondo Community Church, area residents visited a massive yard and bake sale. Yard sale profits provided funds for the church music program and bake sale monies provided funds for a Vacation Bible School next summer. The two congregations, English and Spanish speaking, combined their efforts and goods for the event.

Participants purchased a table on which to place their goods for $10.00. Many who did not wish to sell goods donated toward the fund raiser.

Candy Burns and Betsy Imer coordinated the event. “Our music program is in need of new sound equipment,” Burns said. “I took the position of organizing music for worship.”

Burns plays piano and leads worship, while her husband, Chris plays base. Pat McCall plays guitar and Betsy and Lloyd Imer sing. Sometimes the Burns children help by singing with the team.

The bake sale table, filled with delicious treats, was a big hit. Shoppers could also purchase lunch to eat while shopping and visiting with neighbors. Proceeds from the bake sale and lunch will provide children with a fun VBS experience next summer.

Pastor of the English speaking congregation is Bill Lane and Hispanic pastor is Antonio Zavala. English services are at 10:15 am and Spanish services at 3:00 pm each week

The Hispanic Church will celebrate their 4-year anniversary of holding services at the Orondo Church on April 28 at 3:00 p.m. The public is invited to attend.

For more information visit the Orondo Community Church face book page or their website at orondocommunitychurch.org.