Seattle’s Trees for Neighborhoods Program

Free Single Trees Seeking Tree-Loving Homes in  Seattle

Free trees are waiting for you! Do you live in Seattle? Do you have an empty space in your yard where a beautiful tree could thrive? Are you someone who appreciates trees? Do you like the way their leaves and needles flutter in the wind? Do you like how they smell? Do you think they help your neighborhood look more attractive?

If so, then Seattle reLeaf and Cascade Land Conservancy invite you to apply for up to 4 free trees to plant at home to help keep our city green and healthy.

Our trees are looking for tree-loving homes – but they’ll be gone soon! We have Western red cedars, Deodar cedars, tupelos, and shore pines remaining. Might you be the person for them? Please fill out the application, and select one of the above mentioned species to secure your free trees.

Interested? Apply by October 24th:

Want to know more about these trees?

  • Lewis and Clark thought that Western red cedars were amazing enough to be called the “trees of life” -arbor vitae. Plant one in your backyard and you’ll be on your way to helping our cities be full of life
  • The gorgeous Deodar cedar is native to the Himalayan region, but grows wonderfully in the Pacific Northwest. It has a long history in India, where its Hindu name means “revered tree.”
  • The tupelo tree is a great medium-sized tree for a yard that is looking for some brilliant leaf coloring.  Tupelo leaves are a dark glossy green in the spring and summer and  turn bright colors- mostly red, but some yellow just as the gray skies come rolling in.  Tupelo is used in the south to make the famous “Tupelo honey.”
  • Shore pines are quite the opposite of the straight and orderly pine you might imagine. As its scientific name, Pinus contorta ssp. Contorta, suggests, it can grow crooked branches – an attractive addition to your backyard.

Want more information?


Composting On-Site

Green City Partnerships encourage Stewards to compost their invasive plant waste on-site when applicable. Check out this great video to show how to make a top-notch compost pile.  Special thanks to the 2008-2009 Washington Conservation Corps Crew for making this great video.  For more information about building compost piles on-site, and other Best Management Practices for Urban Forest Restoration check out the Forest Steward Field Guide:

Join us for Green Seattle Day 2010!

Looking to volunteer in a local park,  plant native trees and shrubs, and get to know your neighbors? If so, then Green Seattle Day on November 6th from 10am-2pm is the event for you!
Green Seattle Day is the kick off to the Green Seattle Partnership planting season and is a celebration of our neighborhood parks and committed volunteers. On November 6th from 10am-2pm, 1,000 volunteers are expected to gather in 14 parks across Seattle to lend a hand in restoration.   Interested volunteers can search for a local park and register on the Green Seattle Partnership Website:

You maybe thinking, “Why should I spend the day in a local park when I could be sitting on the couch watching TV?” Well, here are just a few reasons:
1. Green Seattle Day gives you they opportunity to take an active role in the restoration of your local park. More than that! You will get to name the plant you put in the ground and you can return and give your plant pep talks, or take photos as it grows throughout the years!

2.The day of volunteering will allow you to meet your neighbors and even make some new friends. We have found that pulling out ivy and planting trees are actions that bring out the friend making vibes in folks.

3. FREE STUFF! ohhh, now I have your attention. We are going to be giving out fancy Green Seattle Partnership t-shirts to all present volunteers and there will also be some other sweet giveaways at our hub sites, Lower Woodland Park and Camp Long. Not all sites have the same giveaways, but you will be greatly rewarded with a happy feeling inside no matter where you spend the day volunteering and having fun.

So! We would like to cordially invite you NO, challenge you to spend your Saturday morning on November 6th hanging out with GSP folks, planting trees, and making new friends. Find your local park and sign up for a work party ( ! See you in the parks!!!

If you have any questions or would like to organize a group of volunteers for the event please contact Katie at or 206-905-6952.

Parks for a day

Park(ing) Day 2010 is tomorrow, September 17th!

Cascade Land Conservancy and the Green Seattle Partnership will be hosting two spots downtown for the third year in a row, helping people connect with local conservation and restoration initiatives and publicizing Green Seattle Day (November 6th!). Come down to 2nd Avenue between University and Union Streets where we’ll be joined again by Feet First, Transportation Choices, and Streets for All Seattle. Zipcar, Cascade Bicycle Club, SAM, and the Trust for Public Land will all be within a block or so of our spot, so there will be plenty going on! Check out the map of all of the cool spots all over the city. Last year we were in the KOMO coverage when the newscasters stopped to play corn hole with us.

PARK(ing) Day is a annual open-source global event where citizens, artists and activists collaborate to temporarily transform metered parking spaces into “PARK(ing)” spaces: temporary public places. The project began in 2005 when Rebar, a San Francisco art and design studio, converted a single metered parking space into a temporary public park in downtown San Francisco. Since 2005, PARK(ing) Day has evolved into a global movement, with organizations and individuals (operating independently of Rebar but following an established set of guidelines) creating new forms of temporary public space in urban contexts around the world.

The mission of PARK(ing) Day is to call attention to the need for more urban open space, to generate critical debate around how public space is created and allocated, and to improve the quality of urban human habitat … at least until the meter runs out!

Making Waves

Last month I attended the Partners in Community Forestry conference, hosted by the Arbor Day Foundation, in Portland, Oregon. A common theme echoing throughout the conference was how programs and ideas are making waves and subsequent ripples that extend beyond their own individual realms. At the end of the conference, the attendees were given a small rock with a “make waves” stamp. Right now, my rock is resting on my computer’s monitor, reminding me each day to go out and make a few splashes and ripples.

So, what kind of waves am I making? Since August, I was married amidst a five-day blur of family and friends gathered under large Ponderosa pines, went on a fabulous honeymoon to Corsica, helped my aunt and niece prepare for a move to Norway, surprised my best friend in her favorite Oakland cemetery for her birthday, and baked my first quiche with the fresh eggs from our three chickens, Gizzy, Squeaky, and Bhindi. Those are just a few of the lovely waves in my personal life.

At work, the waves are crashing on our shores daily. As the director of the Green Cities program, I am fortunate to have the opportunity to see the wide range of our work first-hand. Last week, representatives from all five of the Green Cities came together for the first time over a lunchtime brownbag, I was lucky enough to be a guest lecturer for an ESRM (Environmental Science and Resource Management) course at the University of Washington, and we finalized a Joint Venture Agreement with a stellar research team at the US Forest Service and King County. The brownbag was proof that the initial splash of the Green Seattle Partnership created waves and ripples that are now extending to more cities than ever imagined five years ago. The lecture was an excellent opportunity to show students how the basics of ecology and knowledge of forest systems are being applied to real-world projects in our Green Cities efforts; the splash of learning is creating waves and ripples in urban forest restoration. And, finally, the new research that will come from our partnership with the US Forest will surely produce a few waves and ripples for stewardship programs near and far. And, that was all in just three days!

Sometimes I feel like we are pushing a giant boulder, uphill both ways, while other times we are merely lobbing small pebbles. At moments, the work ahead of us seems insurmountable: “You are doing what?” “Trying to remove invasive species from how many acres?” “How are you possibly engaging the community at that level?” These are not uncommon questions. However, each answer is usually followed by a reaction of “how cool” or “wow, that’s amazing”. Those statements help us feel that we are up for the challenge, making small and big splashes each day and sending ripples out into the world along the way.

Happy End of 2009!


Stepping Out from Behind the Scenes

Over the past 10 months of my AmeriCorps term working for the Cascade Land Conservancy, I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know all the amazingly dedicated and hard working folk behind the Green City Partnerships. All of the CLC, Parks Department, and various partner non-profit staff I have worked with are truly passionate about their work. The speed at which these programs are growing is fueled by this passion, a shared vision of healthy parks, and of course amazing community support.

It is the simple truth that we could never accomplish our restoration goals without the brute strength and dedication of our amazing forest stewards and individual volunteers. You are an inspiration for all of us working for Green Cities and for your entire community! Some of my most memorable times over my term have been getting out from behind the computer and putting my hands in the dirt with a group of volunteers. The sheer amount of work you get done when joining together and the attitude you keep while fighting blackberry thorns or stubborn soil never ceases to impress me.

I want to pose a little challenge for anyone reading this. Being from Seattle myself, I was very surprised to realize how few of the parks I had actually visited before starting this position. This entire region and every Green City (Kent, Kirkland, Redmond, Seattle, and Tacoma) has many beautiful pockets of nature that are often hiding, indeed often behind the scenes of our normal reality. I simply encourage everyone to go explore those parks and natural areas that you’ve been meaning to visit or to  go find a new place you never even knew existed. You won’t regret it.

I can’t wait to see the amazing accomplishments that are made over the next few years in our Green City Programs & am excited to come back to our events as a volunteer!

Thank you to everyone who is helping to make sure our urban natural areas are being taken care of!

What’s a Mobile Plant Lab?

“Come plant with us!” reads a sign on the back of Kent Parks’ shiny, new 16-foot trailer.  The Mobile Tree Planting Lab made its debut this month during National Public Lands Days at Lake Fenwick Park on Kent’s west hill. The City was able to purchase it with a matching grant from Target, who has been part of volunteer forest restoration projects there for the past two years.  A week of corporate Public Lands Day projects at the park culminated Saturday with an event open to all community volunteers. This was also the first event under the new Green Kent Partnership.


“Lake Fenwick Park has been a model for what we hope to do in all our parklands,” explained Parks Director Jeff Watling.  “Since spring 2007, roughly 539 volunteers have contributed over 2,274 hours to help restore and maintain the natural balance of healthy native trees and shrubs there. Many return again and again.  They have become stewards in every sense of the word.”

The new trailer is outfitted inside with hooks to organize rakes and shovels, keeping ample floor space available for rolling bins and even plants. But it’s the outside that thrills Watling.  “Photos of ten of our most popular native trees and shrubs are featured on the sides of the trailer, with their common name, Latin name and even the phonetic pronunciation.  So this will be an educational tool staff can use at events and even at schools for our Youth Tree Education Program.”

“Volunteers plant native trees at nearly every park improvement event,” Watling continued.  “Our 12-foot volunteer trailer holds enough tools for about 50 volunteers.  But we sometimes have up to 150 volunteers signing up for community events.  And occasionally, we may have a volunteer project in a west hill park and another group on the same day across town on the east hill.  The solution was more tools and more storage. We are grateful to Target for its support.”