(King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks photos)
White Center Heights Park was the scene of a big event at midday today – King County Executive Dow Constantine, King County Council chair Joe McDermott, students from WCH Elementary, and other community members gathered to plant a little tree symbolizing something big. Here’s the county announcement:
A small Douglas fir planted in White Center Heights Park signaled the start of a multi-year partnership led by King County Executive Dow Constantine to plant one million trees countywide by 2020 – an initiative to confront carbon pollution while improving the health of natural habitats and neighborhoods across the county.
“By mobilizing the community to plant one million trees across King County, we will reduce carbon pollution and produce healthier forests, streams and neighborhoods,” said Executive Constantine. “It’s an ambitious project – one that will help ensure our region remains a national leader in the effort to confront climate change.”
Executive Constantine was joined at the kickoff of the One Million Trees campaign by leaders from Forterra, The Nature Conservancy, Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, The Nature Consortium, and The Boeing Co. – each of whom have committed to planting trees and expanding the partnership.
The event served as an invitation for community groups, schools, nonprofits, tribes, local businesses, donors, volunteers, residents, cities and other public agencies across King County to participate in the initiative.
Planting one million trees by 2020 is a target action in King County’s 2015 Strategic Climate Action Plan, a road map for how King County will reduce carbon pollution, increase transit, protect open spaces, and prepare communities for the impacts of a changing climate.
The positive impact that trees can have on air and water quality is particularly noticeable in this region. A recent U.S. Forest Service study on the role of forests in combatting climate change revealed that, acre for acre, native Pacific Northwest temperate forests store more carbon than forestland found nearly anywhere else in the world.
Earlier this year, Earth Day Network launched a global campaign to plant 7.8 billion trees worldwide, one for every person on the planet, by April 22, 2020 – the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.