The environmental benefits of trees are pretty well-known (better air quality, reduced stormwater runoff, support for wildlife), but did you know that research has also shown there are significant social and economic benefits to trees as well? Trees help reduce workplace stress and increase worker productivity, business districts enjoy better sales if they have significant greenery, and communities with higher levels of trees and natural landscapes see less violence, less graffiti and vandalism and lower crime rates overall.
It’s no wonder that the City of Seattle has set an ambitious goal of growing Seattle’s tree canopy to 30% by 2037. In fact, the City of Seattle’s recently released citywide environmental progress report highlights several of the City’s goals aimed at fostering and growing our green spaces.
One of the programs that is critical in achieving our urban canopy goals is the Trees for Neighborhoods program – which provides free trees, watering bags and tree care education to residents. Every August, the program opens an application to all Seattle residents to request up to 4 trees from a variety of sizes and types of trees. Trees are distributed at training workshops in the fall when it’s the best time to plant new trees.
The Trees for Neighborhood 2014 application opens Monday, August 4, so now’s your chance! Not ready to plant a tree or don’t have a yard? You can still help – taking care of our urban forest takes many people working together. Volunteer with Seattle Parks, the Green Seattle Partnership, Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition, Earth Corps or others doing great work to build and maintain our forests.