Free Trees for your Restoration Site!

Forterra’s exciting new C3 program (Carbon Capturing Companies), spearheaded by Pearl Jam, is working to engage local businesses about their carbon footprint.  In addition, this is creating an amazing opportunity for community-lead tree planting for carbon sequestration.

ImageA bunch of great local companies from the Seattle Sounders and Seahawks to Cherry St. Coffee and Molly Moon’s Ice Cream have committed to reducing their carbon usage and sequestering carbon through tree planting. These efforts will be completed on urban parks in the communities where the businesses work and their customers live and play.

Submission period has been extended through September 10th!

Forterra is looking for homes for these companies’ carbon. This means free trees!  Native conifers will be available in the late fall to all who apply and agree to maintain and monitor the trees through their establishment. Application and more information available on the Forterra webpage.

For questions, email me: wbrinkley@forterra.org

Volunteer Spotlight: PJ tree planting is a hit!

This great mini-movie was taken by a volunteer last weekend at the Pearl Jam planting at Discovery Park. They braved sub-freezing weather with great attitudes and were rewarded with a really fun event. Apparently, rock stars are even “more awesome” in real life! This testimonial (starts at 4:34) is guaranteed to make you feel good about restoration.

Get in on the fun! Volunteer at an upcoming work party in Seattle, Tacoma, Kirkland, Redmond, or Kent.

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.

The Carbon Stored in a Tree

Yesterday marked a big day for the Green City Partnerships

Photo: Bill Bankson, 2009
Hemlock seedling getting ready to start absorbing carbon dioxide

program and the music scene in the Pacific Northwest.

Pearl Jam donated $210,000 to restore 33 acres of forestland in four of the five Green City Partnerships. Read more about the story here.

The press release (and the numerous blogs and other on-line media sources that are populating the web) covers the details of the why, where, when, and how. It’s wonderful to see so much activity and interest in the project!

I still wonder, however, if the supporters and skeptics know about carbon sequestration and why tree planting projects are an important player in storing carbon. How many people know how the carbon ends up in the tree?

A few years ago, a group of filmmakers interviewed students graduating from Harvard and asked them how a tree gets its mass? The answers were comical. Most students mentioned something about photosynthesis, sunlight, water, soil, and carbon dioxide — a good understanding of the different pieces, but not the entire picture.

So, how does a tree get its mass? And, how is it related to carbon sequestration?

Remember back to your high school biology class. Trees and plants absorb carbon dioxide through their leaves during a process called photosynthesis. Sunlight provides the energy that allows the carbon dioxide (CO2) to mix with water (H20) and form the sugars (or carbohydrates) that plants need to thrive and grow, and the oxygen (O2) that is emitted during the process.

Here is the simple chemical equation (there are more complicated equations, but this is the easiest one to use to show the process):
6 CO2 + 6 H2O + sunlight –> C6H12O6 + 6 O2

Part of C6H12O6 (the sugars) link together to form cellulose, which makes up the structure of the tree or plant — the mass! The other sugars provide the energy needed for the tree or plant to grow. Also in the mass of a tree is water — lots of it.

Now, where does that carbon dioxide come from? The simplest answer is the air! So, a tree takes in the carbon dioxide that is floating around in the air, through photosynthesis converts the carbon dioxide to sugars, and produces oxygen that we breathe. Quite remarkable!

When you add the very cool process of photosynthesis with the very cool band Pearl Jam, it makes for a big day!