News Releases

April 1, 2011
For Immediate Release
For additional information: 
Barbara Kerr, APR
Executive Director of Communications and Marketing
Telephone: 360-992-2921


A Spirit of Enduring Friendship and Hope

Image for Clark College Sakura Ceremony 2011

On Thursday, April 14, Clark College will host a ceremony
honoring Sakura and Arbor Day


VANCOUVER, Wash. — A gift of friendship; a spirit of hope. That is the theme of a ceremony that will be held at Clark College on Thursday, April 14.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will take place from 1-4 p.m. It is sponsored by Clark College, the City of Vancouver and the Vancouver Rotary. 

The event will honor the 100 Shirofugen cherry trees that adorn Clark’s main campus.  Japanese cherry blossoms are known as sakura. The trees were a gift to the City of Vancouver from John Kageyama, who was then president of America Kotobuki, in honor of Earth Day 1990.  This year, organizers will honor that gift of friendship by supporting Japanese relief efforts.

Throughout the event, petals and bookmarks with messages of hope will be available for purchase through a partnership between the Clark College Japanese Club and Vancouver Rotary. All proceeds will go to Rotary Japan to support Japanese relief efforts. Online donations can be made at

During the event, Clark College, Clark Public Utilities and the City of Vancouver will all accept national honors for their roles in the planting and caring of trees and for environmental stewardship.

About the event

A ceremony will take place from 1-2 p.m. under the historic cherry trees near the Clark College music building and the O’Connell Sports Center. 

Dignitaries scheduled to attend include Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt; Takamichi Okabe, Consul General of Japan (Portland); and Tatsuo Ito, Executive Vice President, SEH America Inc.  They will speak about sakura and the importance of the relationship between Clark College, the City of Vancouver, and Japan.  Special guest John Kageyama will share his memories of donating the landmark cherry trees to the City of Vancouver and Clark College.

The event will include a ceremonial tree planning in honor of Arbor Day, a nationally-celebrated observance that encourages tree planting and care. 

According to the Arbor Day Foundation, Southwest Washington is one of just a dozen areas in the country in which a government, utility and institution of higher learning have all received Tree USA designations. 

State Forester Aaron Everett of the Washington Department of Natural Resources will a present a plaque in honor of the Tree Campus USA designation to Clark College President Robert K. Knight.  He will present a Tree Line USA Award to Carol Curtis, vice president of the Board of Commissioners of Clark Public Utilities, and a Tree City USA Award to Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt.

Vancouver Urban Forestry Chair Jim Wasden will present the annual Gordon and Sylvia MacWilliams Evergreen Award. The Mac Award is presented by the Urban Forestry Commission each April. The award recognizes individuals, organizations, and businesses that have made a significant positive impact on Vancouver's urban forest.

The ceremony will include a koto performance by Yukiko Vossen and a performance by the Clark College Women’s Ensemble. The koto is a stringed musical instrument.  It is the national instrument of Japan.

From 2-4 p.m., in the Gaiser Student Center, guests will enjoy activities, demonstrations, and tea and cherry blossom cookies created by the Clark College Culinary Arts Department.

Location and Assistance

Clark College is located at 1933 Fort Vancouver Way, Vancouver. Driving directions and parking maps are available at

Information about the Sakura Ceremony is available at

Guests who need accommodations due to a disability in order to fully participate are asked to contact Clark College’s Disability Support Services Office at (360) 992-2314 or VP (360) 991-0901, or visit Gaiser Hall Room 137, by April 13, 2011.

About the Tree Campus USA program

Tree Campus USA recognition is presented for dedication to campus forestry management and environmental stewardship. This is the first year Clark College has been named a Tree Campus USA.  The college was honored for its efforts during 2010.

Tree Campus USA is a national program that honors colleges and universities and their leaders for promoting healthy management of their campus forests and for engaging the community in environmental stewardship. Tree Campus USA is a program of the Arbor Day Foundation and is supported by a grant from Toyota.

“By encouraging its students to plant trees and participate in service that will help the environment, Clark College is making a positive impact on its community that will last for decades,” said John Rosenow, chief executive and founder of the Arbor Day Foundation. “One goal of the Tree Campus USA program is to help create healthier communities for its citizens through the planting of trees, and the city of Vancouver will certainly benefit from Clark College’s commitment to Tree Campus USA.”

Clark College met the five core standards of tree care and community engagement in order to receive Tree Campus USA status. The standards are: establish a campus tree advisory committee; evidence of a campus tree-care plan; verification of dedicated annual expenditures on the campus tree-care plan; involvement in an Arbor Day observance; and the institution of a service-learning project aimed at engaging the student body.

The Arbor Day Foundation launched Tree Campus USA in the fall of 2008 by planting trees at nine college campuses throughout the United States. Twenty-nine schools were named a Tree Campus USA in 2008.  In three years, the number of schools has more than tripled.

More information about the Tree Campus USA program is available at

Information about the Arbor Day Foundation is available at


EDITORS’ NOTE:  In the event of inclement weather, the Sakura and Arbor Day Ceremony will be held in Clark’s Gaiser Student Center.