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Free seedlings at McDonald's this Arbor Day

Friday, April 29, is Arbor Day, and McDonald's and Minnesota Forest Industries are teaming up to give away free seedlings for the 10th straight year.

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Friday, April 29, is Arbor Day, and McDonald's and Minnesota Forest Industries are teaming up to give away free seedlings for the 10th straight year.

Over the past decade, more than half a million trees will have been given to Minnesota families as part of the Arbor Day activities. This year, 55,000 Red Pine seedlings ­- the Minnesota state tree - will be available at more than 220 McDonald's restaurants statewide, while supplies last. No purchase is necessary. KARE 11 TV in the Twin Cities is also cosponsoring the Arbor Day giveaway.

"It has become an annual tradition and we're proud to once again team up with Minnesota Forest Industries (MFI) and KARE 11 to help Minnesotans plant trees," said Paul Ostergaard, McDonald's Twin Cities Co-Op president, and owner/operator of three McDonald's restaurants. "People all over the state come back to McDonald's every Arbor Day to get a new tree to add to their own back yard."

Again this year, McDonald's and MFI are inviting people to enter to win one of five large, free trees that will be given away and planted in winners' yards. In 2010 more than 2,100 Minnesotans entered. Winners were drawn from the Minnesota cities of Circle Pines, Moose Lake, Parkers Prairie, Red Wing and Stacy.

People may again enter to win a large tree in several ways: by clipping an entry form from Arbor Day tray liners that will be in McDonald's restaurants in April; by downloading an entry form at www.minnesota-forests.com; by filling in the entry form provided with each of the 55,000 free seedlings; or simply by mailing in their name, address and phone number to: Minnesota Tree Contest, 903 Medical Arts Building, 324 W. Superior St., Duluth, MN 55802. The entry deadline is May 13.

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"We thank McDonald's for getting more than half a million seedlings out to people across Minnesota during these past 10 years, while also helping educate residents about the important role trees play in the state," said Wayne Brandt, MFI executive vice president. "Minnesota has more trees today than we had 50 years ago, thanks to our state's forest management practices and efforts like this one."

MFI, an association representing Minnesota's forest products industry, encourages conservation, proper forest management and industry development that foster sound environmental stewardship, multiple use of timberlands and long-term timber supply.

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