NeighborWoods Photo Contest Winners

Check out the results of last year’s National NeighborWoods Month Photo Contest – the winning photos and runners-up capture the “spirit of volunteerism” from NeighborWoods projects across the country. Congratulations to our friends at Keep Indianapolis Beautiful for their winning photo! It’s inspiring to see all of the great things that are going on everywhere to help urban and community trees thrive.

You don’t have to wait until October to get involved in an urban tree project at home – volunteer with one of our Green Cities by clicking on one of the links on the right-hand sidebar.

Serving Recreation and Conservation in Washington

The Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office is looking for volunteers to join its Advisory Committees. Committee members help evaluate grant applications, so they get to have a real say in the distribution of funds to great programs in the state. They provide technical advice on project merits, legislative issues, and statewide planning. They also advise RCO on issues affecting grant programs and help develop policies and procedures. Most of the work occurs in the spring and early summer. Applications will be accepted until positions are filled. For more information, check out the RCO website.

Benefits of volunteering (according to their website):

  • The ability to learn and grow professionally and personally
  • The ability to help shape the quality of life for Washingtonians
  • Skills to become a better grant writer
  • Valuable experience for your resume

If you think you would be a good candidate, definitely consider serving on one of the following:

Time to reverse this trend

As if we needed any more reason to keep working to make our cities greener.

An article by Eric Jaffe included in today’s newsletter from the Alliance for Community Trees is titled, “US Cities are Losing 4 Million Trees a Year.” Citing a study by David Nowak and Eric Greenfield from the journal Urban Forestry and Urban Greening, mentioned in an earlier article about tree cover and impervious surfaces, the article paints a rather bleak picture of our national urban landscape.

Starting with a study of 1,000 random points in 20 large American cities, and comparing current digital images with images from 5 years ago, Nowak and Greenfield found “clear trends away from tree coverage and toward impervious coverage.” In 17 out of the 20 cities studies, tree coverage went down statistically. Impervious cover (roads, buildings, and other surfaces where water cannot be absorbed) rose in 16 of the cities. Our own Tacoma, Washington, had the largest increase in impervious surfaces in the entire study. To get an even more random sample of the whole country, they then selected 1,000 points in urban areas across the U.S. and compared those as well to come up with their estimate of an average net loss of 4 million trees from U.S. cities every year. What does this all mean? Fewer trees. More concrete. Lower air and water quality. Higher need for tree protection and environmental health programs in general.

Remaining end-of-season planting projects need all the helping hands they can get in the next month or two, so head to your nearest Green City and find a volunteer opportunity to get your hands dirty. As the days get longer and we start to think of drier weather (not that we’re complaining!), planting season is coming to an end. But, invasive weed removal and other projects going on in spring and summer help prepare the natural corners of our cities for more planting starting next fall. Hope to see you out there in Seattle, Tacoma, Kirkland, Redmond, or Kent. Let’s turn this trend around!

The Lorax

This weekend, thousands of local families will enjoy the new animated movie The Lorax, about the furry Dr. Seuss creature who speaks for the trees. What they may not realize is that there are real-life Loraxes right here in our beautiful Green Cities.

Forterra and all of our Green City partners and stewards speak for the trees every single day. We are dedicated to planting and protecting trees — helping to preserve and grow the forest right here where we live.  Forterra’s Green Cities Program works with all of the Green City Partnerships on three core goals:

  • Connect people to nature and improve the quality of life in cities by restoring urban forests and natural areas
  • Galvanize an informed, involved, and active community around restoration and stewardship of our shared natural areas
  • Enhance the long-term sustainability of urban natural areas by removing invasive plants and maintaining functional ecosystems, and by establishing the resources to carry the program into the future

In the new movie The Lorax, all the Trufulla trees are gone. The forests have been destroyed, and young people dream of seeing a “real” tree.  In the movie, neighborhood streets are lined with man-made, artificial approximations of trees. Believe it or not, this vision isn’t as far from reality as you may think. The scary truth is that deforestation is happening not just in vast forests like the Amazon, but right here in American cities and towns.

A new report from the US Forest Service shows that our cities are losing 4 million trees each year. In communities across the country, this loss of canopy cover means Americans are losing out on the enormous benefits of healthy urban forests. Trees in cities help clean our air, reduce our energy use, manage stormwater overflow and mitigate water pollution. They keep us healthy and cool, while also keeping our neighborhoods green and beautiful.

The Lorax reminds all of us that humans and nature are inextricably intertwined, and that trees are essential for strong communities. We can’t just stand by—like the Lorax, we must do what we can to keep nature a part of our lives.

Forterra is a member of the national Alliance for Community Trees, and we hold activities throughout the year to promote the trees in Kent, Kirkland, Redmond, Seattle and Tacoma through our Green City Partnerships. Join us and become a real-life Lorax. Together, we can make our city cleaner, greener, and healthier. Learn more about becoming a part of a Green City Partnership.