In celebration of my 49th birthday in August, I’ve made a commitment to help plant 49 trees in the coming year, beginning with our tiny urban frontyard. For my birthday, I asked my partner to dedicate a grove of six trees through the Friends of Trees’ Green Space Program in Portland, Oregon, and to purchase gifts from the National Wildlife Federation, which plants a tree with every transaction. For the remaining trees, I plan to focus upon my new home community of South Seattle, Washington.
Only 40-ish more trees to go. Who’s with me?
Everyone who plants (or helps to plant) a tree will receive an additional 10% off future SAVOR products and programs. Tag @thesavorproject in your pictures, and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for the discount code. Throughout the coming year, I plan to feature updates – and I’d like to include your pictures, as well.
The featured photograph (above) is from the former site of Lavender Belle Farm, our 2.5 acre property on the side of a mountain just outside Portland, Oregon. Each morning, I arose to the sights and sounds of wildlife, which depended upon this forest – from Bald Eagles, owls, and deer, to native ferns and trillium, to what the locals called “the Skyline elk,” a band of elk that made their way several times per year through the remaining strip of forest that bordered my vegetable garden.
Living in a peri-urban neighborhood – and growing up in rural areas along the Central Oregon coast, I took trees for granted. I could always turn to the woods outside my backdoor, as a playground and place of refuge. But trees are disappearing at an alarming rate, in both old growth forests and cities across the country.
Here’s what some of @thesavorproject’s followers have said about why they value trees:
“Trees remind me that mighty things can grow from tiny seeds, and in cracks and crevices that at first glance appear quite inhospitable.”
“Trees have a beauty all of their own. They also provide shade to hot weary pedestrians, the homeless and dogs – so are lifesavers.”
“I have shared my most vulnerable truths, feelings, and pain with trees, and they just listened. They never judged me, or told another living soul. They stayed grounded for me when everything else in my life felt out of control.”
This video was taken two blocks from my current (and in October, after yet another move, future) home, near the intersection of Beacon Hill, SoDo, and the International District, several of most diverse zipcodes in the Seattle area. The Duwamish peoples originally called this hill “Greenish-Yellow Spine” (Lushootseed: qWátSéécH, pronounced QWAH-tseech), reportedly in reference to the color of the deciduous trees that grew on the hill – although these days, that connection can be more difficult to see. Other South Seattle-area neighborhoods are in a similar situation. With temperatures rising, we need trees – especially in our cities, to combat what is known as the urban heat island effect.
Here’s what YOU can do (regardless of your geographic location):
Finally, and so importantly, develop a relationship with one tree in your community. Visit it often. Take a few moments to sit beneath it, observe the positive benefits you receive, reflect upon how it changes throughout the seasons, and notice which types of life (surrounding plants, insects, birds, and other creatures) can be found nearby.