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Free seedlings at McDonald's on Arbor Day, April 30

For the ninth consecutive year, McDonald's restaurants in Minnesota are teaming up with KARE11 and Minnesota Forest Industries to give away more than 55,000 free seedlings to McDonald's customers on Arbor Day, Friday, April 30.

Red Pine seedlings - the Minnesota state tree - will be available at more than 225 participating McDonald's in Minnesota, while supplies last. No purchase is necessary.

"McDonald's is pleased to once again team up with Minnesota Forest Industries and KARE11 in what has become an annual tradition of helping Minnesotans plant trees in yards all over the state," said Paul Ostergaard, McDonald's Twin Cities co-op president and owner/operator of three Twin Cities-area McDonald's restaurants. "Many people come back to McDonald's every Arbor Day to get a new tree to add to their own backyard."

Again this year, McDonald's, KARE11 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. More than 2,500 Minnesotans entered in 2009, the third year of the large-tree contest. Winners were drawn from the Minnesota cities of Brooklyn Center, Coleraine, Minneapolis, Monticello and Winsted.

Wayne Brandt, MFI executive vice president, said people have four ways to enter to win a large tree: clipping an entry form from McDonald's Arbor Day tray liners that will be in restaurants in April; downloading an entry form from; filling in the entry form provided with the free seedlings; or by mailing 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 15.

"Each year, millions of seedlings are planted throughout Minnesota to help replenish the state's bountiful forests while also cleaning the air," said Brandt. "With the average tree absorbing 50 pounds of carbon each year, those seedlings are doing a lot to help combat global warming."

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