Plant Pearl Jam’s Trees!

If you’ve been anywhere near the Cascade Land Conservancy office in the past ten months, you’ve probably heard a lot of buzz about the Pearl Jam carbon mitigation project. If you follow the band, you might have seen it mentioned on their news feed lately.  If you’ve done neither of those things, here’s the scoop: The Cascade Land Conservancy is partnering with Pearl Jam to help mitigate the carbon emissions from their 2009 World Tour. To find out more about this exciting partnership, and Pearl Jam’s donation to mitigate the carbon emissions from their latest world tour, read this and catch yourself up. To learn more about carbon mitigation in general, Ara’s excellent blog post from last year is a great place to start.

But it doesn’t stop there, YOU can help Pearl Jam in this effort by volunteering for one of our Pearl Jam planting events! Crews have been hard at work at the first two restoration sites: Discovery Park in Seattle, and Hartman Park in Redmond. They’ve removed all of the invasive plants and now are ready for some extra hands to help plant native trees and shrubs that will re-establish the healthy forest and mitigate carbon in the atmosphere.

We have two upcoming volunteer tree planting events where you can lend a hand to help Pearl Jam mitigate their carbon. Please register online to help us plan for the event:

1) Saturday, February 26 at Discovery Park in Seattle, 10am-2pm
2) Saturday, March 5 at Hartman Park in Redmond, 10am-2pm

Dress for the weather and come prepared to get your hands dirty.  Long pants and sleeves, sturdy shoes and a water bottle are highly recommended.  Coffee and snacks will be provided.

For more information or to register online, click here.

Unlimited urban woods (sort of) and directed attention fatigue

photo by Pieter Kers, on local ecologist courtesy of Hedwig Heinsman of DUS

Leave it to architects in Amsterdam to come up with this quirky, creative idea to help alleviate directed attention fatigue. DUS Architects Amsterdam describes their single tree inside four mirrored walls as a “never-ending forest in the middle of town.” As explained in the local ecologist post from a little while ago where I found this, the pavilion was displayed in front of the New Amsterdam Public Library this summer. From the outside, it looks like a square, white box. From this inside, it looks like this picture to the left.

Local ecologist admits that this installation does not fulfill vital ecosystem functions that make an urban forest so valuable. But it does make us think about directed attention fatigue. University of Michigan professors Rachel and Stephen Kaplan were among the first academics to study the psychological effects of nature, and they are still working to produce more research demonstrating natural settings’ “profound, positive effect on both mental and physical health.” The Kaplans have shown that working in nature, gardening, taking a walk in the woods, or even enjoying a view of trees from a window can reduce stress and improve people’s health, from cancer patients and caregivers to regular city-dwellers. A natural place “doesn’t have to be big or pristine” to have a positive effect, claims Rachel Kaplan. “Most of all, it has to be nearby.”

How much does a park or natural area near you affect your health and well-being? Small pocket parks and large expanses of greenbelts affect us in ways we might not always know or appreciate. I know that, as a city-dweller myself, my quality of life is much improved by having them around. If you give back by volunteering at an upcoming work party in Seattle, Tacoma, Redmond, Kirkland, or Kent, you ensure that these areas remain healthy enough to keep us healthy for years to come. And then get the return on your investment: take a walk or bike ride through them, meet a friend there, play, read a book, or otherwise take time to give your directed attention a rest.