A growing coalition of cities, nonprofits, schools, and volunteers led by King County has so far planted more than 700,000 trees, making progress toward Executive Dow Constantine’s initiative to plant one million trees throughout the region by the end of 2020.
Executive Constantine and local students are joined by Mariner Moose at a ceremonial tree planting at King County’s Big Finn Hill Park near Kirkland.
A partnership Executive Dow Constantine launched in 2015 to plant one million trees throughout King County by the end of 2020 has accelerated over the past year, reducing carbon pollution and improving the health of neighborhoods and habitats.
Counting the current planting season, the growing coalition of cities, nonprofits, schools, and volunteers has so far planted 705,840 trees. King County will continue to offer volunteer opportunities during spring and summer for people and organizations that want to help prepare for the next planting season.
At a ceremonial tree planting today at King County’s Big Finn Hill Park in Kirkland, Executive Constantine thanked the county employees and partners who contributed to the latest milestone for the 1 Million Trees initiative.
“Achieving an ambitious goal like planting a million trees across a vast region requires strong partnerships, an innovative staff, and whole a lot of volunteers – and we are fortunate to have all three,” said Executive Constantine. “The people of King County have embraced our initiative because it provides the opportunity to personally reduce carbon pollution, make our air and water cleaner, and make our neighborhoods and habitats healthier. We will continue to make it convenient to volunteer as we approach the finish line.”
King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks’ volunteer program has seen an increase in the number of people who sign up for volunteer events since Executive Constantine launched the 1 Million Trees initiative.
The county’s volunteer coordinators provide organizations and schools with equipment, resources, and educational opportunities that meet their specific needs. Companies, nonprofits, and government agencies have used the tree-planting events as team-building exercises.
Groups from across King County have organized their own tree-planting events in addition to participating in scheduled plantings to contribute to the 1 Million Trees initiative.
King County volunteer coordinators make it easy to organize a planting or conservation activity. Volunteers also learn how trees improve water and air quality, reduce stress, cool neighborhoods, and absorb carbon pollution that fuels climate change.
In his proposal to renew the King County Parks Levy – the current levy will expire Dec. 31 – Executive Constantine included funding for forest stewardship and tree-planting. Both are essential to improving environmental conditions across the county, whether in an urban greenbelt or a rural forest.
A growing volunteer initiative
In 2018, 7,822 volunteers participated in 321 events in 50 King County parks, planting 52,043 trees. Volunteers contributed 40,568 hours in 2018, clearing 336 cubic yards of invasive plants, removing weeds from 332,000 square feet of land, and picking up 2,018 gallons of litter.
As part of the King County Strategic Climate Action Plan, considered the boldest of its kind in the nation by the co-founder of Earth Day, the County committed to planting half a million trees and partners committed to planting the remaining 500,000.
King County developed innovative strategies to achieve the goal, including:
- Creating an online application that makes it easy for property owners and organizations to add their tree plantings to the total.
- Adding a donation option to the initiative website and a text-to-donate feature that allows supporters a convenient way of funding tree planting projects.
- Establishing a 1 Million Trees grant to help partners pay for trees and tree-planting labor, to increase the number of trees planted during the past two years of the initiative.
- 1 Million Trees: How to become a partner, volunteer or donate
- PHOTOS: Photo gallery of 1 Million Trees
- VIDEO: B-roll footage of 1 Million Trees
Achieving an ambitious goal like planting a million trees across a vast region requires strong partnerships, an innovative staff, and whole a lot of volunteers – and we are fortunate to have all three. The people of King County have embraced our initiative because it provides the opportunity to personally reduce carbon pollution, make our air and water cleaner, and make our neighborhoods and habitats healthier. We will continue to make it convenient to volunteer as we approach the finish line.
DIRT Corps LLC is critically needed in the Seattle area to continue to provide green job on-ramps for people who otherwise wouldn’t have these opportunities, as well as doubling our efforts to plant the next generation of climate-resilient trees, host volunteers in our urban forests, and work with partners plant 1 Million Trees.
Trees are part of what makes Bellevue, and the greater Puget Sound region, so special. The One Million Trees program leverages a low-cost investment that will pay dividends towards maintaining a healthy community for future generations. We appreciate King County’s strong leadership on this issue.
For more information, contact:
Chad Lewis, Executive Office, 206-263-1250