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King County Executive
Dow Constantine


King County and partners surpass goal of planting one million trees, achieving a major milestone for climate action one year early

Summary

A partnership created by King County has surpassed the goal of planting one million trees throughout the region nearly a year ahead of schedule, achieving a milestone set by Executive Dow Constantine in the 2015 Strategic Climate Action Plan.

Story

  Executive Constantine and partners celebrate the 1 Million Trees initiative at King County’s White Center Heights Park where they planted the ceremonial first tree in 2016.

Executive Constantine and partners celebrate the 1 Million Trees initiative at King County’s White Center Heights Park where they planted the ceremonial first tree in 2016.

King County Executive Dow Constantine today thanked the partners, volunteers, and employees who surpassed the goal to plant one million trees throughout the region nearly a year ahead of schedule, achieving a major milestone for the county’s Strategic Climate Action Plan.

Executive Constantine in August will send the King County Council his proposal for the 2020 Strategic Climate Action Plan, which will include a 3 Million Trees initiative that will maintain the accelerated pace for tree planting, protect forests and natural areas before they are lost forever, and prepare native forests for the impacts of climate change.

“In King County, we don’t just set ambitious goals to confront climate change – we create strong partnerships and mobilize volunteers to surpass them ahead of schedule,” said Executive Constantine. “We will build on this successful model to promote healthy, resilient forests for cleaner air and water, healthier habitat, and more tree cover in underserved communities.”

King County and more than 100 partners – cities, Tribes, nonprofits, youth organizations, schools, and businesses – have so far planted 1,122,535 trees in urban, suburban, and rural areas. 

King County Parks’ Volunteer Program organized events throughout the region with more than 31,000 volunteers contributing to the initiative and helping restore parks. The program staff currently offers smaller, adapted volunteer opportunities in which participants can practice physical distancing.

The original goal – established in the 2015 Strategic Climate Action Plan – was for King County to plant a half million trees with partners planting the remaining 500,000 trees by the end of 2020. King County and partners planted the one millionth tree in February, 11 months ahead of schedule.

The successful partnership created a strong foundation that will help advance the 30 Year Forest Plan, a shared vision developed by King County and partners to guide forest management to achieve multiple benefits in the coming decades.

Cleaner water and air, healthier habitat, more shade, less flooding

The initiative has produced immediate and lasting benefits, including cleaner air and water, reduced flood risks, cooler salmon-bearing streams, more tree canopy in neighborhoods, and healthier forests and public greenspaces. 

The roots of healthy trees stabilize slopes and prevent erosion while forests and natural land absorb rainfall, reducing the flow into streams and preventing floods. Pacific Northwest forests are among the best in the world at storing carbon because native tress have long, productive lifespans.

Successful tree planting initiatives require more than simply putting a large number of trees in soil. That is why King County and its partners also take action to ensure that the newly planted trees have the water, mulch, and space they need to mature.

Graphic that reads: 1,122,535 trees. Goal, 1,000,000 trees. We surpassed our goal one year early!


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Quotes

In King County, we don’t just set ambitious goals to confront climate change – we create strong partnerships and mobilize volunteers to surpass them ahead of schedule. We will build on this successful model to promote healthy, resilient forests that store carbon, improve water and air quality, and provide more equitable access to tree cover in underserved communities.

Dow Constantine, King County Executive

The City of Seattle is pleased that our ongoing urban forest management could contribute significantly to this worthy partnership. The trees planted through the Green Seattle Partnership, urban forestry programs, and volunteer efforts will continue to benefit the region’s economy, environment, and community for generations to come.

Jesús Aguirre, Superintendent, Seattle Parks and Recreation

The 1 Million Trees initiative is a great example of what’s possible when partners unite around a common goal, and we are proud to have been part of such a successful collaborative effort. The Greenway Trust hopes these community partnerships, like the trees, will grow bigger and stronger in the years ahead to make King County an even better place to live.

Jon Hoekstra, Executive Director, Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust

I am overjoyed for and proud of the people of King County for achieving this momentous goal of one million trees so far ahead of schedule. The kindness and determination of our community members will never fail to impress and inspire me. Attending tree planting and invasive species removal events is a great opportunity to work with and get to know other volunteers, King County event coordinators, and restoration crew members. All of these people are so important, and we could not have achieved what we have without them. It is truly wonderful to have been a part of this successful effort, and I am excited to continue this hard work in the months and years to come.

Annie Wan, Volunteer

We are proud to be a partner in King County’s effort to plant a million trees throughout the region. Our staff and volunteers have been planting trees on the banks of our salmon streams and rivers. Trees are important for improving habitat for salmon and people.

Jeanette Dorner, Executive Director, Mid Sound Fisheries Enhancement Group

For more information, contact:

Chad Lewis, Department of Natural Resources and Parks, 206-263-1250


King County Executive
Dow Constantine
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